Oh, Charlie…

wp-1483394087870.jpgThis is Charlie.  Charlie is my wife’s 11-year old Cocker Spaniel.  His claims to fame are:

  • He is loved by my wife
  • Has a dinner routine you can set a clock by
  • He can bark loud enough to make you consider adult briefs are a good idea for every day wear – even if you don’t have an incontinence problem
  • He can shred an entire roll of toilet paper in under 2 minutes with no warning or reason
  • He eats just about anything – I mean anything. (Your imaginations can run amok.  Feel free to write in your suggestions.  He has probably done it already.)

One of Charlie’s favorite things in the world to do is eat.  His number one favorite food is popcorn, but anything that you happen to be eating, dropping, or throwing in the trash is a close second.  While his kibble is his primary food (a nice lamb and rice mix that helps with his allergies), and he is fed twice a day, he will follow you around looking for any morsel as though he has not eaten in 3 years.

One time we left Charlie in the care of a person I will not name to protect their innocence, and that person was absolutely amazed at Charlie’s zeal for food, and they decided to see if Charlie could get full. They just kept filling his food dish every time he emptied it, and Charlie would just empty it again.

We are not sure how many times this cycle took place, but when we got there several hours after the last bowl was consumed, Charlie’s belly was swollen tighter than a drum head.  The scary part was that it was not that Charlie ever stopped eating.  They just finally quit because they were afraid that Charlie would eat himself to death!

Feeding time for Charlie is a pretty intense time.  There is a lot of whining, dancing around, and reluctantly sitting and waiting for the “OK” before he is allowed to dig in. The waiting is usually accompanied with a little more whining and a full-body quiver that is almost painful to watch.

After we say those two magical syllables that release Charlie from his forced restraint, he empties his dish. I say, he empties the dish, but you can’t really appreciate the speed, efficiency, and well… the volume with which he does so.  Imagine putting marbles in a bucket and then sucking them up through a shop vac.  Only with the occasional gargly, wet, choking, gagging, and wretching sound.  Yep. Something like that, but still, you just need to hear it.

Charlie’s passion for his food is more than just a passion.  It is an unhealthy drive in him to consume as much and as quickly as he can – even at the peril of his own life.  We have been shocked and amazed at some of the things he has eaten that are not food in any sense of the word,  yet Charlie deemed them as such.

Finally we wound up buying a ball to put in Charlie’s dish to give him an obstacle to eat around.  The theory was that by having something that big in his way, he would not be able to take such big bites, would eat more slowly, and would therefore chew something rather than inhaling it, thereby aiding in his digestion.

Not the success story we were hoping for.wp-1483394087867.jpg

I still keep thinking he is going to just swallow the ball whole.  Seriously.  Never slowed him down for a single second.  I guess at this point, we can safely assume there is nothing on earth this dog and his gut can’t take.

So, the other day I was reading in Jude, and I came across this verse and I instantly thought of Charlie:

“But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasonable animals, understand instinctively.” – Jude 10

If there is one thing that Charlie understands instinctively, it is that he was designed to eat.  He is ready to go at any moment, and he has no qualms about what comes his way.  It’s not the healthiest way to live, though. He needs some help to keep him safe.

I’m sure if Charlie could talk, he would tell us how wrong we are. How he has things under control. How he can stop whenever he wants! He probably would tell us to back off and let him live his life.  That we don’t care about him. That he can make his own decisions and stop telling him what he can and can’t eat.

Sounds like me before diabetes kicked in… Well, that’s another story, and things are much better for me now.  I was smart enough to make a change.

Desires are not bad things, but if we don’t understand the drive behind them, they can be damaging to us.  Charlie might not know much, but he knows he likes to eat.  Whether he is hungry or not never really enters into the picture.

Do we stop and ask ourselves why we want the things we want?  What is the drive behind the desire?

Jude is speaking here of people who have decided that they will blaspheme God by saying that God’s grace gives license to give themselves over to the pleasures of the flesh.  They are taking the gift of salvation and twisting it to become a free pass to do whatever they want with no intention of following God.  In essence, they are claiming an identity as child of God while completely ignoring His commands and sovereignty over creation.

They go through life with the illusion of some Christian rules (a big silver ball), but they act no different, and are harming themselves without abandon because all they care about is having what they want and not being restricted in any way.

A really effective way to die if nobody stops you.

Again, there is nothing wrong with having desires, but we need to take the time to analyze what we are really trying to satisfy in them.  There are a lot of things we can get wrapped up in, and not all of the things you might be thinking about are bad things, but they can become that way.  Mark Driscoll put it in very clear words (they must have been, because I understood):

“When a good thing becomes a god thing, that’s a bad thing.”

Charlie and I have food in common as our good thing that became a god thing.  It could have destroyed me if I had not been willing to make a change.  Charlie’s would destroy him if we didn’t use a measuring cup and keep his food in a place where he can’t get it.

What desires do you have?  Are you looking at what the motivation behind the desire?  Are you taking that desire and holding it up to the Word of God and what it says to see how it holds up?  If it can’t, then it needs to either go or at a very minimum, you might need to get the equivalent of a big silver ball!

Be Relentless in your life by constantly looking at your life and evaluating what needs to go or be guarded.  We need to do it in our lives, and we need to ask some friends to come alongside us and help with it too.  Sometimes their eyes see things we can’t.  It might hurt, and you might feel like it is unfair, but you’ll be alright.  After all, you’re also working on being Resilient!

Would love to hear from you, Dear Reader!  Feel free to comment and share your thoughts.  Me?  Well, I gotta go feed the dogs…



Author: Tom Tanner

I'm a follower of Christ, husband, and father. Over the last few years I have been learning how to dig deeper into God's Word and letting it influence more of my life. As I learn, try, fail, and repeat in this process I am seeing God's hand more and more in my life and that of my family as well. This journey is long, hard, and at times a little lonely, but living a Relentless life for Christ has rewards that reach beyond me and my family. My prayer is that it brings God glory and leaves a legacy that will show His influence in my life.

I would love to hear your comments here or e-mail them privately to myrelentlessgrowth@gmail.com

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