Our family got a new puppy a few weeks ago… bringing our grand total of dogs up to three!
Anyone who has ever raised a puppy (or a child for that matter) knows that they require constant attention, constant supervision, and constant teaching. Teaching them not to pee in the house, eat rocks, and knock over and tear up the contents of the garbage can (puppies… not children, I hope!) takes a lot of effort. Puppies don’t know anything… they have to learn, be trained, acquire discipline and habits. Once that happens, the constant care and attention can be relaxed because the dog will naturally and consistently act the way it has been trained to act.
Now… we are not quite like dogs, but the same principles apply. When we just start out on a new journey (faith, health, fitness, community service, personal development, etc.) we don’t know anything and we need to be taught, and acquire the habits and disciplines to succeed. I’m sure all of us remember the struggle of starting a new job or a new gym membership, a new diet, or a new focus on faith and spiritual matters. It’s not easy. But for those who have made it through into a place of success… we KNOW it becomes natural and our performance becomes more consistent.
Paul, in his letter to a church in Philippi, encourages them along these lines:
Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)