Several years ago, our family became the proud owners of an Australian Shepherd puppy — Charlotte Louise, aka Charlie. It didn’t take long for this cute little bundle of fur to turn into a holy terror. Out of desperation and multiple threats of being kicked out of the house (Charlie AND me), I did a lot of study on training a dog.
The key piece of information came from the book, The Art of Raising a Puppy. It’s written by an order of monks in upstate New York, who over the course of several decades have became experts at raising well-trained dogs. For a small chunk of change you can take your dog to them to be trained.
Or just read the book.
The Art of Submission
The most important lesson I learned from these monks, and passed along to each of my family members was submission. By nature, dogs are pack animals, and puppies innately search for their place in the pack. We had to teach Charlie she was the lowest member of our pack…our family.
The how was actually simple. When she attempted to take a place of authority (by nipping at our heels, jumping on us, barking at a member of the family), we would gently but forcefully grab her by the collar and push her down to her side. We would use both hands to hold her on the ground until she quit squirming and whining. We forced her to submit to each of us in a quiet and calm manner.
After weeks of work, Charlie learned her place in our pack. She submitted.
The Meek and Mild
The Bible has a lot to say about submission. One way is through the word “meek”. Depending on the translation read, you may see the words meek, lowly, humble or even down-to-earth.
An example is found in Psalms 37:
“Soon the wicked will disappear. Though you look for them, they will be gone. The lowly will possess the land and will live in peace and prosperity.” Psalms 37:10-11
The term lowly (meek in other translations) is described in Hebrew as a “broken horse”. If the Hebrews were from the order of monks who wrote “The Art of Submission” it might be described as “a dog finding her place in the pack”.
The Positive and Negative of Submission
Submission is hard work because it goes against our human nature. It’s unnatural. No one likes to submit, however everyone eventually submits. We will either choose submission (like Charlie did as a puppy), or we will end up like the wicked…disappearing. Submit or die. But this is just the negative view of submission.
The positive side of this lesson is peace and prosperity. A submissive Charlie is no less strong, fast or beautiful. In fact, she is stronger, faster, and even more beautiful when she is in a state of submission. When Charlie fully submits, she channels her energy and strength to make her the best version of herself.
When you submit to God, you are fully you. You are free to live and move and achieve the things God called you to do. You are a picture of beauty to your master and the world around you. It is peace and prosperity.
A Picture of Peace + Prosperity
A few months ago, Charlie and I went on a walk. Typically we walk the streets and sidewalks of our neighborhood, which require a leash. That day, we walked the woods behind our home, so I started her on a leash, but after a few hundred yards, I stopped to take off her leash. As we walked on, Charlie was free.
As a puppy, Charlie would have run away and maybe never come back. That day, Charlie ran beside, behind and in front of me. We came to a “T” in the path, and Charlie, ahead of me, turned right as I turned left. Confident Charlie would not run away, I kept walking up and then down a large hill. As I got to the bottom of the hill, I turned to see if Charlie had found me.
As I turned, I called for Charlie, and she crested the hill. It was like a moment from a movie. The clouds opened, the sun shone down, and a bit of fog rose off the ground. She stopped for a moment, and then sprinted in full gate downhill toward me.
It was majestic.
Charlie was as she was made to be. She ran full strength toward me, her master. She chose to submit to me long ago giving her the confidence and freedom to explore the world around me. It is a picture of peace and prosperity.
If you chose to do the hard work of submission, it brings the same benefits to you. Submission returns the prize of God himself. God becomes your friend. He will be nearby. God will walk with you; which gives you the peace and freedom to explore the world around and near Him. You will find the strength and beauty God created you to embody.
So, the next time you read about the meek and mild, think about your family’s dog or the race horses in the Kentucky Derby. Powerful. Beautiful. Peace. Prosperity. It is yours as you submit to your Master.