Animal Training

In the book of Hebrews, Chapter 5 verse 11 the writer says this, ”About this we have much to say. It is hard to explain since you have become dull of hearing.”

When he says “we have much to say about this” the writer was talking about Christ being a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. But he can’t go into the details of that to the readers of the letter because they had become dull of hearing.

What did he mean by dull of hearing?

I think he meant they were unteachable — they weren’t paying attention.

How is that possible? Can we sit and listen to someone talk and not actually hear what they are saying?

I suspect it happens far more than most of us are willing to admit. I’ve been in any number of situations where people are unteachable. Sometimes it’s resistance to learning anything that might threaten cherished opinions. Sometimes it’s lack of personal discipline. It is a serious problem when an individual becomes unteachable and holds an opinion that is so wrong that it may eventually cause harm to themselves or others.

Also, we each need to be careful during times like Bible studies, group discussions and group prayers. Those are times when the Holy Spirit is involved — or should be if we allow Him to be.

We need to be aware of whether we are actually listening or have let our minds wander off to some other issue — perhaps planning some activity or deciding what we are going to say when it’s our turn to speak.

In Job 6 verse 24, Job is responding to his friend Elifaz and he says this, “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue. Help me understand my error.”

Job is saying, “I’ll shut up now and pay attention.”

We could ask the Spirit to help us pay attention and not become dull of hearing and resist teaching. Sometimes our animal minds must be reminded to listen to our teachers or to the prayers of others. We are made in such a way that we can learn a great deal about God and about others simply by paying attention.

Another thing — some lessons are so important that God will take special steps to get our attention. Sometimes those special steps are pleasant and sometimes they are unpleasant — even painful.

To be dull of hearing then, can mean intentional resistance to learning; it certainly means there has been a failure to discipline our animal mind.

We are spirits with bodies not bodies with spirits. We humans were created with a body and a mind just like every other physical creature. But we were also given a spirit capable of communicating with God and worshiping Him. No other physical creature was given such a spirit. God made us their overseers — their stewards. We are accountable for them.

Our spirits are meant to be in control of our animal minds. When they are not, our spirits are subject to sin and are accountable for the sin – our flesh nature is not held accountable. No other physical creatures are held accountable for sin – only us.

When we are born again we (our spiritual selves) assume the duty of disciplining our animal selves. (The Apostle Paul calls it struggling with our flesh nature.) In a sense, we train our animal minds to behave more like Christ. He is our model. That is what makes us Christian!

Sanctification (becoming more like Christ) is a life-long process for every Christian and depends on us exercising the duty of disciplining our animal minds. Paying attention (remaining teachable) is a clear demonstration of success in that effort.

My animal mind constantly begs for kibble, wants to be taken for walks, likes to be patted on the head, etc. But it has learned a few simple tricks. How are you doing with your animal mind? You were paying attention here weren’t you?

Copyright © 2019 Sam Dronebarger | All rights reserved

5 thoughts on “Animal Training

  1. Thank you for this message, Sam. Yes, there are times when we do not listen and wish we had heard the whole conversation before spouting off! AND I have had my mind wander off. Is it just human nature? But what do we miss when this happens! I think in this broken world we have sooooo much shouted at us that we tend to not get the message—the correct message.

    Thanks for reminding me to listen and pay attention a lot better than I have been doing!

    Hugs to you two,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yup, I think we are often so overwhelmed with stuff we tune things out. Sometimes, though, our “tuners” get overactive and we miss important things. But I suspect there’s a reason we’re made that way. I wonder what that reason is?


  2. I also like the appropriate picture of the animal in the tree…probably a relative of my cat , who looks just like it. Good reminder to be still and listen….to God, and to others, who are wiser than me.


    1. If you got your cat from your mother, it may be related. She had several that liked to roost in trees. I think the issues of teachability and the spirit/animal-mind relationship are important — there will be more on those in future articles.


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