The Sniff Test (…and How My Dog Gets It Right)

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 Cuppie 1

Can you even stand that face?! I love this girl! She is my black lab, Cupcake. She didn’t have the best start to life (we believe she was a puppy mill momma, but we don’t know for sure). She came to live with us as a foster dog when she was about three years old. And, truth be told, she wrecked a bit havoc on our home for a little while as she adjusted to a far better way of living at La Casa Connors!

Cupcake became ours sort of by default.  We were only supposed to foster her for a weekend, while a more permanent situation could be found for her. But really. Look at that face. Please. She was ours from the get-go, crazy quirks and all.

She’s been fully rehabilitated, but she’s a sort of a funny one! I don’t think she’s left her past 100% behind her. She is a total love bug and a gentle old soul, but she can still be a little skittish and pretty protective of those she knows and loves. And she is a tried and true believer in what I like to call, “the sniff test”.

No, not the test your kids do to see if a shirt is wearable after 8 wearings without a washing. I’m also not talking about the one where you ask your kids to breathe on you before they head out the door to make sure they brushed their teeth before school (or am I the only one who does that?!).

Cuppie’s sniff test is a sort of the final “truth detector” that supports other evidence that she gathers to make sure something really is as it appears.

My favorite example of this happens every single night when we go to bed. She sees us get into bed (the same bed every night…). She hears us say goodnight to each other and to her (the same words every night).

But before she can settle down and fall asleep (yes, our dogs sleep in our bed – don’t get all judge-y on me), she has to get right in my face and sniff  it (and sniff Tim’s face, too) every night to make sure it’s really us and it’s really safe to go to bed.

Even though she just saw and heard us and knows it’s really us, she needs to rely on her most reliable source – her sense of smell – to tell her the absolute truth.

Cuppie 2

You might say she’s being neurotic and paranoid (and frankly, you could have a point when it comes to her…!), but I think Cupcake demonstrates a pretty good example of what Paul meant in 1 Thessalonians 5:21:

1 Thess 5-21

I think Paul took the opportunity there to remind us that the voice of man isn’t always the same as the voice of God. Sometimes, we get that idea confused. We are bombarded by religious doctrine (and dogma), political statements, and personal opinions all the time. From print and visual media, to social media and even conversations with respected friends and family. And some of that information is extremely convincing!

But Paul is reminding us in that verse right there, to run those words and ideas through the scripture “sniff test” before grabbing onto it too tightly.

It might look godly, it might even sound godly. But our job is to discern if it’s Godly – with a capital G.

Jumping on the band wagon, for whatever cause or conviction, feels good at the time. We love camaraderie! But be careful what horse you hitch up to because it could lead you in a very wrong direction.

We should aim to develop the skill of discernment. God wants us to test “all” things, not just the things that don’t sound right or don’t resonate with us! We honestly should not condemn anything without first investigating it. AND, on the other hand, we shouldn’t just accept anything until we first test it against the objective Truth of God’s Word.

Using scripture as our final (and first line!) litmus test doesn’t make us mindless drones following a god who just wants us all to think like him. Scripture causes us think and allows us to use the God given skill of discernment, along with the Holy Spirit, to decide for ourselves, True right from truly wrong.

THIS is why the Bible is so utterly and beautifully important to me – to ALL of us. It is God’s word, spoken for all of us as the expert testimony on all things.

Sniff out the Truth, sweet friends. I encourage you to use all the tools and evidence around you… and THEN use scripture as your final Sniff Test.

Are you a Pure Joy Sister Friend this summer?! If so, here are a few things for you to do this week:

  • Find or print our scripture card of the week – I Thess. 5:21, NLT (click here to download). SAY it and PRAY it, girlies!
  • Keep reading Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider and see if you can incorporate a few of her ideas into your life today!
  • Get ready to attend “Jazz in the Park” with us here in Glen Ellyn on Wednesday, July 16! RSVP if you haven’t already done so!
  • Enjoy this great music video for an amazing song this week, “Press On” by Building 429.

That’s all for now, sweet friends. Have a wonderful and joyous week.

Peace, love, and JOY!

Wendie

Up Next Week: The Cost of Contentment

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