Willard Aldrich tells a story about his sneaky Labrador retriever. The dog would stay off the furniture when Aldrich and his wife were around, but as soon as they left the room, he would climb into one of their chairs until he heard them return. It was the telltale dog hairs and the warm chair that gave him away.

What’s a pet owner to do? Animals can’t be reasoned with—they have no moral sense. So Aldrich decided to wire the chair with a mild electrical current. Sure enough, during the night he was awakened by a yelp as the dog ran into another room.

Now, that Labrador didn’t love its owners more because they disciplined him. But the disobedience stopped.

Our relationship with God isn’t exactly like that sneaky dog’s response to the Aldriches. We do make conscious moral decisions. But God disciplines His children when they disobey Him (Prov. 3:12). He wants us to obey Him out of our love for Him. But when we rebel, He lovingly provides correction in terms we can understand.

The choice is ours. We can obey God because we know disobedience will bring discipline—or we can obey Him because we love Him and desire to please Him.

What motivates your obedience?