I promise, I’m not intentionally trying to offend you, but I might. I don’t really desire to agitate or irritate people but I do sometimes.
My job is to proclaim the truth. If I’m going to sell something I’m going to sell the truth. The truth is not cheap. In fact most people don’t want it because it’s sort of offensive… I know there have been plenty of times when I don’t want the truth because it hurts. It cuts and it opens you up. That’s what the Bible tells us it will do.
Just before the writer of Hebrews tells us it’s important to go to church he tells us part of the reason why. And it’s a good reason why and it’s also part of what I desire to do today.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works… – Hebrews 10:23-24
The word “stir up” is also “provoke” παροξυσμός paroxysmós, par-ox-oos-mos’; (“paroxysm”); incitement (to good), or dispute (in anger):—contention, provoke unto.
It means to irritate and agitate. I’ll be honest I don’t like doing that with people. I don’t like to get people angry with me. But that is the purpose of other believers and the church. So we can stimulate other believers to love and to good works.
I want to address an acceptable form of idolatry today. There are lots of things that we accept as idolatry in our world. Our children, their sports programs, their extracurricular activities, our sports programs, our leisure time and on and on…
But what about our pets?
Do you think you have an idolatrous relationship with your pet or pets; because one is never enough right? I mean they need companionship don’t they? Don’t they get lonely also? Here goes a few ways we might want to consider our pets.
Who serves who?
Paul discusses this doesn’t he? I don’t think that all Christians worship their animals the way Romans 1 tells us, but there are those that do. They are four-footed animals and they do need to be served. A cat won’t clean its own litter box and a dog won’t pick up after itself, have you ever seen people walking their dogs down the street? What is it they are carrying? Who is doing the serving?
Romans 1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever, Amen.
Is it good stewardship?
This might be touching a raw nerve for some but we must sincerely ask this question. What kind of money do you spend on your animals? Does this honor God with all your possessions?
Proverbs 3:9 Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase.
Seeking Comfort in them and not in the Lord?
Jesus Christ is to be our only need and our only desire when it comes to needing comfort from the ravages of the outside world. Do you love to see your dog because he has no demands of you? He licks you and wags his tail and never says, “Hey Kevin, did you get that done today?” He seems to “love” you unconditionally right? This is comforting. Is the Lord Jesus Christ being replaced by Fido?
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:16
Are you a slave to your animal?
Does your pet keep you from being able to go do things? I can’t go to this place because I need to find a “sitter” for the cat. Our older girls are constantly watching the neighbor’s cat and dog. It’s easy money for sure, but what if you didn’t have to worry about it? Wouldn’t that provide some freedom? It seems things have been reversed and animals have taken dominion over mankind.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – Genesis 1:26
Dominion means to subjugate and to rule over. Man has done that with dogs when they used them for working purposes, such as to herd or hunt but just like so many other things in our society these roles have been reversed.
Animals are only temporal creatures. Man was created with an eternal soul and that soul will live on forever in one of two places. For believers they will forever worship their King. For those that have never turned to Christ for forgiveness and repented of their sin they will live forever in Hell under the wrath of God. It is an awful and fearful thing.
Animals will die and return to dust. You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. – Psalm 104:29
I realize this is a sensitive topic because people love their pets and I’ve been there. I’ve seen it and lived it. I’m not making a blanket statement that having a pet is a sin or it is even necessarily wrong, but I want us to ask to what end and for what purpose. What is the goal and am I honoring God in all of this. Nothing is neutral. What is not from faith is sin and that is something we should be consistently thinking about. Me especially.