Pulling the Leash

Lacey. Ten pounds of golden fur—soon to be sixty.

We had an older retriever too, Luke, my constant companion and running partner. Soon Lacey was big enough to join us.

And here the problems began.

I had a wonderful tool that links two dog collars permitting me to have only one leash. At this point, the dogs’ combined weight of 140 plus pounds outweighed me, so choke chains were necessary in the event of a squirrel or rabbit.

As a running buddy, Luke was rock steady. He stayed to my left and maintained a good pace. As long as I saw the rabbit first, we were good.

Lacey had yet to learn these skills. She pulled the leash, hopped back and forth over Luke, crossed in front of me, and had as much luck going in a straight line as a partier on New Year’s Eve.

Luke, however, weighed more. Stronger and the alpha male, he wasn’t moving. Lacey wore herself out going here, there, and everywhere, gasping and pulling until finally she tired out and trotted along beside him.

In step.

Straight line.

Steady pace.

Jesus had this in mind with the yoke verses of Matthew 11: 29-30 (NIV), “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus pairs us with Himself for a reason. He too is strong and steady. He knows where He’s going and what He’s doing. Paul encourages us in Galatians 5:25, “let us keep in step with the Spirit.” This comes from a man about whom Jesus said, “ ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” (Acts 26:14)

Kicking against the goads refers to an ox that kicks against the prodding of his master. Think of it as pulling the leash. Going your own way. Fighting the choke chain.

Paul learned to get in step with the Holy Spirit too, and the results of his obedience changed the world.

So, are you a leash puller? Or do you run beside Him, neither ahead nor behind? Are you distracted by small furry things or are you sensitive to the Master’s touch on the leash? The leash gains slack and the yoke becomes easy when you stop fighting and match the stride of the Holy Spirit.

Then, you can run.


Is there struggle in your relationship with God?

Where is He running?

Where are you going?

What distractions are you chasing?

Does the choke chain (God’s commands) feel tight?

What step of obedience do you need to take?

Family Application:

Take the family dog for a walk. If you don’t have one, offer to walk your neighbor’s.

Discuss how family rules are like a leash. Are you fighting the leash or running in step?

Talk about being on the leash vs. being off. Protection with boundaries vs. complete freedom with no safety.


Jesus pairs us with Himself for a reason. Click To Tweet
Pulling on the leash means going your own way. Click To Tweet
The leash gains slack when you stop fighting and match His stride. Click To Tweet
So, are you a leash puller? Click To Tweet
When you match His stride, then, you can run. Click To Tweet

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