In the commercial below, I see somehow a call to repentance. It features a dog, once strong and sleek, now weak and round who finally realizes he must change his ways. And though his concerns are physical (he is only a dog) our concern is moral. Consider the elements with me.
1. The commercial opens with a dog in a kind of moral sleep. And for us is an image of what St. Paul wrote: So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled (1 Thess 5:6).
2. But an ancient call, an older stirring rouses him. Somehow he realizes it is time to rise and go back to work! Perhaps it is for us like that voice of God, speaking in our depths or sending us a reminder from the natural order. A we too hear the call to rise and get back to God’s work. And thus is Scripture illustrated which says, Remember the Lord before the door to life’s opportunities is closed and the sound of work fades. (Eccles 12:4). Indeed, it is time to get up and be about the Lord’s business before it is time to finally close the door.
3. And bounding forth the obese hound heads for the door, only to find it is too narrow for his wide load. And indeed, here to is illustrated for us what scripture says, Strive to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able (Luke 13:24). And again, For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matt 7:13-14)
4. Back in the house the dog looks sadly in the mirror and accepts what has become of him. Perhaps he thinks of his younger years when no passing “enemy car” would go unresisted, but would be chased away. We too can come to those moments when, looking into the depths of our own soul we hear the call to remember earlier and better days: Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first (Rev 2:5). Or again Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest (Heb 10:32). The dog sighs a whimper, and we too cry for mercy.
5. Ah but the conversion is engaged and our hound starts heading back to heaven! Pray God we do as well. The holy hound starts step training and here is illustrated what scripture says, I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes (Psalm 119:59). And again, My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped (Ps 17:5). And yet again, Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil. … Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. (Ps 119:133).
6. The old hound hits the treadmill and here is illustrated the command of the Lord: Get up! Pick up your mat and walk (Jn 5:8) or again, Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you (John 12:36). And thus our old hound is walking in the right path before it is too late. Pray God we are as well.
7. The ole dog does core training, for as Scripture says, Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name (Psalm 103:1). And again, Wounding stripes purge away evil, and strokes purge the inner parts of the belly (Prov 20:30). Yes and as this discipline starts to melt the pounds of our devoted dog, even so do we pray that our spiritual disciplines “whip us into (moral) shape” and strengthen us to the core, to our very heart.
8. The hulking hounder lifts and endures weights to grow in strength as must we grow in moral strength. As Scripture says: My soul is weighted with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word (Psalm 119:28). Or again You strengthen me and enable me to go up on the heights (Is 58:14).
9. The determined dog resists temptation as lots of extra and unhealthy food is offered him. Indeed as Scripture says, The wicked have set a snare for me, but I have not strayed from your precepts (Psalm 119:110) or Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! (Matt 18:7) Thus we too must learn to resist and remember the promise: We will come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. (Heb 3:14)
10. Yes, even laps in the pool for our conditioning canine. Indeed the reward of his labors are near, as Scripture says, [Then] you will forget your misery and remember it like water that has flowed downstream (Job 11:16)
11. And we’re there! Our now deft and dapper dog spies his form in the mirror and sees a new man! (err… Dog!). And for us, as scripture says, But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18).
12. And now our wonder Dog is able to run the straight and narrow road. He bounds through the door without effort, and there is fulfilled for him (us) the saying of scripture: Lightly I run in the way you have shown, for you give freedom to my heart (Psalm 119:40)
Some one say victory! The Lord can do this for us, and our determined dog is our witness, “If you’re carrying the weight of the world, God can lighten your lord and restore to you the joy of your youth.
Here’s the commercial: