There are two things that Quincy struggles with: obsessive barking and an addiction to human food.
I will admit, we have given him a fair share of table scraps, selecting bits and pieces from our plates that we know will be okay for him to consume or that he will thoroughly enjoy. Once the plates are cleared from the table, the leftovers go into fridge and the remaining scraps go in the trash.
At his last vet visit, they recommended he loose about ten pounds which has greatly limited his share of the scraps. What we don’t keep as leftovers goes in the trash because although he would enjoy them, they are not good for him. Keeping him at his target weight, the vet told us, could help to ensure a long life for Quincy Boy. An overweight dog might die five years too early, simply because of poor choices.
So, for his own good, the majority of the scraps go into the trash.
And for his own pleasure, those scraps often make their way back out of the trash, along with a bunch of other garbage that he picks through in order to get to the stuff that we are keeping from him for his own good.
I can’t tell you how many times we have come down to find the garbage drawer pulled wide open and a garbage trace along the floor that marks him guilty. He knows it to. He is usually right around the corner, licking his chops. The minute we say his name (in that tone that shows complete anger and frustration), he crouches down and heads for the front door, knowing that he is about to get kicked-out for a time-out outside.
We are no dummies. We realize that he is a trash-junkie and have learned some tricks to help make his efforts unsuccessful. My husband installed a magnet on the inside of the drawer so that when it closed, it would be held tight. No luck. Putting a step stool/ladder in front of the drawer kept him away, but if we ever forgot to put it there before leaving the house, we were sure to come home to a trash-endused dog, so we needed to find another option. Now, we have a clip that seems to do the job most of the time. However, if there is something in the trash that he is determined to experience, he finds a way to open it and indulges in the things that we have deemed off-limits for his own good.
Ladies, unfortunately, we are all too-much like Quincy. Long ago, God named the things that were in the trash (aka: The Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:3-17) for our own good:
- Committing idolatry by worshipping anything more than the LORD Himself.
- Worshipping carved images
- Taking the Lord’s name in vain
- Refusing a Sabbath day of the week
- Dishonoring your father and mother
- Committing Adultery
- Bearing false witness against others
The above list became known as “The Law.” It was God’s benchmark for righteousness and since the time it was established, this “trash” has been crossed, picked-through, and experienced by every last one of us. So why did God, who loves us so much, claim these rules as “trash?” As things that He did not want us to get into?
(1) Because He loves us! He wants more for us. He doesn’t want us to get into the trash. Every one of these things pulls us further from Him because they are sin and He is not.
(2) He told us what was in the trash so that we would realize that we are, in fact, Trash Junkies, desiring the things that He told us are death to us and that left to ourselves and our flesh, we will go dumpster diving time and time again. His plan, from the very beginning, was to send Jesus to save us, redeem us, and make us righteous, however, we would not have accepted Him without understanding our need for Him. And to truly get that, we needed to know what God’s standard was.
“For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law come knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20, ESV).
When Jesus came, died for us, and rose again, He set us free from sin (aka: trash).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, (s)he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17, ESV).
Unfortunately, our flesh desires trash: unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, gossip, slander, hating God, insolence, pride, disobedience, foolishness, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness (Rom. 1:29-32).
But we have been set free from being trash-junkies. Christ offers freedom to those who believe in Him to search elsewhere for food that brings life instead of death (Gal. 5:1).
“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things that you want to do” (Gal. 5:16-17, ESV).
Here are three things to know today:
1). God does not call you by the name Trash-Junkie if you are in Him. Instead He calls you chosen, righteous, redeemed, adopted, beloved, and holy simply because of Jesus. He renamed you by His perfect blood on the cross and presents you as every one of those names to His Father in heaven.
2). You are a work in progress and will be until the day He comes back to perfect us. God doesn’t expect you to be perfect. If He did, He wouldn’t have sent His Son to save you. He does, however, expect that you seek to glorify Him each and every day and to be an ambassador for Him. We cannot glorify Him when we are seeking to glorify our flesh. Our flesh and our spirit are in complete opposition.
3). There is no piece of trash too enticing for you to resist with the help of God! 1 Cor. 10:13 promises us this: “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape that you may be able to endure it” (ESV). Call on Him! Ask Him for help. Expect Him to come to your rescue.
Quincy might be a trash-junkie, but you dear Sister, are not the minute you accept Jesus. You immediately become His royal daughter who is offered the best of the best food items at the banquet table. But living on this side of heaven, we may still be tempted to get something out of the trash.
What is the trash item that you can’t seem to resist? Name it. God will not be surprised. He wants to help you rid yourself of it so that you can experience life and goodness. He will not slap your hand, raise his voice, or send you outside for a time-out. He will pull you closer, remind you of your true names, and give you a do-over. There is no shame, only grace.
And for Quincy, the true Trash-Junkie: As a pet owner who loves him, even with his trash issues, I pick up the mess, remind Him that it’s not okay to get in the trash, send him outside, and continue searching for another way to keep the drawer shut tightly.
It’s a work in progress!