My husband and I are the proud pet parents of a new puppy, a four-month-old Australian shepherd and corgi mix named Pippa (she’s just as sweet, obedient, and fluffy as she sounds). From each wag of her snowball-like tail to each exuberant face licking, she’s brought a lot of joy into our lives. She’s also taught us a lot of lessons, including about acting responsibly, thinking ahead, and—unexpectedly–about being Christlike.
Here, five ways Pippa reminds me to be more like Christ each day:
- Forgive quickly
- Dogs are known as man’s best friend in part because they are so naturally forgiving, and this is definitely true of Pippa. After we discipline her or accidentally step on her paws, she is just as loving and joyful as ever, showing no sign of mistrust or anger. She gets right up, wags her tail, and can’t wait to play again. If a little pup can be so warm after criticism or pain, I know I could try a little harder too.
- Love everyone
- Ever since we got Pippa, we’ve become the most popular neighbors around. Pippa is so friendly that neighborhood kids knock on our door daily to see if she can play. She greets everyone she sees with a wagging tail and friendly licks (when allowed), and just like Jesus Christ, Pippa is no “respector of persons.” Her friendliness is a good guide for me to remember that Jesus Christ wants us to reach out to everyone around us with love and acceptance.
- Express joy
- Pippa’s tail was docked (cut) at birth, so it resembles a nubby, furry snowball. There’s nothing cuter than that little tail wagging furiously, and it’s a sure sign that she’s happy and excited. Whether it’s running outside, playing fetch, or getting a belly rub, Pippa is eager to show when she is joyful and share that joy with others. We too should be quick to share gratitude and joy with others, including celebrating them.
- Be without guile
- Pippa has no guile, meaning she isn’t cunning or seeking evil in any way. There isn’t a mean bone in her body (or toy pile)—she’s just a fluffy ball of goodness! Being without guile is a Christlike trait, and it’s one we should strive to embody.
- Obey happily
- Pippa is a working dog breed, which means that her ancestors were bred to accomplish a certain job, such as herding sheep or cattle. This means that Pippa is happiest when she has a job to do, whether it’s fetching a ball or carrying a dog pack (although sometimes she’s a little lazy instead—that’s the corgi in her 🙂 ). We too should obey eagerly. Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of obedience, going willingly even when the pain was unimaginable. I’m guessing we could each try a little harder.
Two of the things I love most in my life right now are my puppy and the Gospel. I never envisioned they would intersect in such a purposeful way to remind me about becoming Christlike, but it’s another sign that God works in mysterious ways, including through an adorable puppy.
How are you obedient in your life right now? Who is an example of Christlike behavior to you?