Anim-id-ols

A little puppy gazing up at you… a fluffy kitten peeping at you from a safe corner.. who can resist picking them up and cuddling them? Your pet whines impatiently while jumping up and down behind the door when they hear you approach the gate to come home after your day at work.. doesn’t it make you feel needed, loved…? You pour out your heart to it… you scold it.. yet it loves you unconditionally and guess what, it doesn’t talk back.. It simply accepts what you say!

So in return, you give its freedom inside the house – to sleep on your bed, to sit on the couch even though its hair may be falling all over the place and sticking onto the sofas and mattresses. If a friend can’t visit you because of allergic reactions to pet hair, you tell them that it’s not a problem as your pet is more important… The furniture is for the pets and it doesn’t matter if humans cant come. Likewise you turn down invitations for trips away from home as else your pet would be alone… On the other hand, you spend lavishly on your pet – to get its nutritious food, to get them toys, to give them a ‘treat’ or a ‘reward’ and many go to the extent of spending much on medication to ensure a dying pet is kept alive – as after all this is like a child, a family member. Many people have dogs to give them ‘protection’ in addition to the other emotional feelings…

Pets are lovable – without a doubt.. but have we ever paused to wonder how God would perceive this behaviour? What are the ‘commandments’ God has given us in regards to people and in regards to ‘pets’ (animals)? Has it been said anywhere to love your animals as yourselves? How much of money are you spending on your pet? How much are you spending on helping other people around you in need? How do these two amounts compare? Likewise, your time and affection – what proportion goes for your pet and what goes for your ‘neighbours’ – those God has placed in your life? How do you think this would make God feel?

God has created man and woman in God’s image and in His likeness. On the other hand, God created animals and asked Adam, the first man, to name them… Naming is a act of ‘ownership’ or ‘leadership’. Parents name their children, organizations give titles to their employees… Yes, God gave the responsibility of naming the animals to Adam as well as commissioned Adam and Eve to “RULE OVER” all the creatures of the world.

Sadly many pets are loved to the extent that takes priority over people and even God… When our pets come in the way of loving our neighbour as ourselves or even worse take up so much of time and finances that hinder us from our walk with God, these animals become idols… Fact of the matter is if we loved God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, love for people – whom He created in HIS LIKENESS would automatically follow.

If we truly believed in Christ, we would belong to His Body.. where Christ is the head and we will be led by the Holy Spirit.. where when one part of the Body suffers, all will suffer. We will become like the early church – watching out for each others needs and sharing whatever we have and not claiming anything to be our own… We will not be able to put a pet above people, the very people that God created and declared were in His image and in His likeness. We will recognise the fact that pets are animals – whom God called us to rule over; not to let them rule over us.

We turn to the dogs to give us protection – and we forget that God is our protector.. that angels encamp around those who believe in God. We forget that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, that God is Sovereign. (No, I’m not asking people to be unwise and venture out at all odd hours of the day… God doesn’t like being ‘tested’ – that’s what Satan did…).

If you are a person who gives your pet priority over anyone else, please do take time to kneel before God and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the underlying causes. Is it because there is some hurt in your life caused by someone whom you loved or cared for so much – that you haven’t dealt with to the extent that you are unable to trust people or even God any more? Are you turning to your pet for unconditional love to avoid any more heartache? How are your relationships with people? Are you able to relate with people and share your heart or do you turn a blind eye to their needs as you spend so much on your pet?

There is such a fine line – it’s so easy to make your pet an idol, an anim-id-ol, to make it your object of affection steadily stealing healthy vital relationships with others as much as with God. We cannot place animals at par let alone replace close human relationships.

God created the living creatures and He created Adam… Then God said, “It is not good for man to be alone. Let me make him a comparable helpmeet’. Despite unbroken intimacy between God and Adam at this point, and despite all these living creatures in a place that was simply paradise, God made it clear that comparable relationships were important. Not only did He create Eve, He told them to be fruitful and multiply. He created sexuality for these purposes.

Many people turn to the refuge of a pet to meet their needs – but an animal cannot even come close and if you truly trusted in the Bible as God’s Word, you would indeed accept that. Animals are loving and have much to offer, but they cannot be compared to a relationship with other human beings = who all bear the likeness of God..

Do seek the Lord and ask Him to lead you how to spend your time, your finances, your affections… in a way that is pleasing to God and to fulfil the purpose for what He has place you here on earth. Jesus was constantly focused on His purpose for being on earth – to do the will of the Father that sent Him. Where is your focus today?

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