When we hear the word bulldog the first thing that comes to mind is a little dog with a smashed in face – a dog that when it bites into something it won’t let go. While that first thought has some truth to it, there is more to a bulldog than meets the eye. In the past, I always thought of a bulldog as an ugly, mean little dog. To a breeder, someone who knows all about bulldogs, that is far from the truth. I found ten things that breeders look for in the character and attitude of a bulldog. As I read over these things, I thought that it would be wonderful to have a church full of spiritual bulldogs. People that have bulldog desperation for the presence of God.
I. Bulldogs have a loving disposition.
Disposition is one’s habitual way of acting toward others or of thinking about things; one’s nature or tendencies. Bulldogs act in a loving way toward others. They have a loving way in which they think about things. Their very nature exhibits love. As a refection of Christ, we too should have a loving disposition. Our very nature should exhibit love. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have a loving disposition.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 NKJV
“Love suffers long and is kind: love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek it’s own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…”
The way we think about things (and the way we think about God) should be different than the way the world thinks. We should have a loving way in which we think about things and people.
John 13:34-35 NKJV
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We should show the love of Christ in everything that we do and say. When people look at us our very disposition should show that we are disciples of Christ.
1 John 4:7 NKJV
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
Our very nature will show if we really know God or not. If you are truly born again you will habitually show the love of God.
II. Bulldogs have great stability.
Stability is being fixed in position; firmness, permanence, steadfastness of character, purpose. Stability is having the ability to maintain or to return to an original position. Bulldogs have great steadfastness in their character and purpose. They have a great ability to maintain their position.
2 Peter 10:14 NKJV
“Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless”
If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be steadfast in our service, in our faith, in our growth in Christ, and in our perseverance.
Steadfast: firm of purpose; loyal and unwavering; firmly fixed; not moving or changing.
A) Steadfastness in service
1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
We should press on to fulfill God’s calling on our lives. Every believer is called by God to minister to Him, then to the saints, then to the world. Every person bought by the blood of Jesus Christ is called by God, every person has a ministry. Ministry can be wearing on your body, soul and spirit. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to work (minister) through us. By allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us we will not grow weary in well doing.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 NKJV
“But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”
B) Steadfastness in our faith.
Colossians 2:5 NKJV
“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and steadfastness of your faith in Christ.”
Things of this world and things of the enemy should not shake our faith. We, as Christians, have a solid foundation. We have Jesus as our cornerstone.
1 Peter 5:9 NKJV
“Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
When we are steadfast in our faith we are stable. True victory comes when we are steadfast in our faith and remain committed to God no matter what we are facing (in all situations). We are not easily disturbed or likely to fall apart when trouble comes our way. Stability is a sign of maturity.
C ) Steadfastness in growing in Christ.
2 Peter 3:18 NKJV
“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.”
1 Thessalonians 3:11-14 NKJV
“Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
It is important that we grow (mature) individually and as a body. If we remain “children” we are vulnerable and gullible.
Vulnerable: can be wounded or injured easily; open to attacks; sensitive to criticism, temptations, influences.
Gullible: easily deceived or cheated.
Many new believers are drawn away from the faith when they do not mature (grow) properly. Also there are some churches that close their doors because they refused to grow (spiritually). When proper growth is not taking place in a believer’s life (or church) they are injured easily, open to attacks, sensitive to criticism, temptations and influences.
Ephesians 10:14-16 NKJV
“That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head – Christ – from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
We should mature in all aspects of our relationship with Christ. Maturity comes from practice. You must practice (put in action) what you are taught.
Hebrews 5:12-14 NKJV
“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
D) Steadfastness in perseverance
God has commanded us to stick to our calling in Christ Jesus. We are to hold fast to the things of God that we have been taught.
Revelation 3:10 NKJV
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on earth.”
Perseverance: sticking to a purpose or an aim; tenacity.
Tenacity: firmness in holding fast; stubbornness; persistence; ability to remember; firmness in holding together; toughness.
Endurance: power to last and to withstand hard wear; power to put up with.
When facing trials, tribulations (hardships, suffering, distress) or desperate situations, we must not give up or give in. We must stand firm in our faith and persevere. We must remember what God has told us and stand firm on His Word.
Romans 5:3-4 NKJV
“And not only that, but w also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
We are counted as blessed (enjoy the favor of the Lord) when we endure what God has allowed to come against us.
James 5:11 NKJV
“Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord – that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.”
III. Bulldogs are full of vigor.
Vigor is active strength or force, healthy energy or power. Bulldogs are full of vigor. They are strong and active. They are energetic and forceful. When a bulldog encounters a fight (war) it wages a vigorous war against the enemy.
Isaiah 59:19 NKJV
“So shall they fear
The name of the Lord from the west,
And His glory from the rising of the sun;
When the enemy comes in like a flood,
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”
If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be full of vigor. When the enemy comes against us the Lord will judge the enemy (person or thing). He will wage war against the enemy. Our part is to be full of the power of the Holy Spirit, and He will help us stand firm in the face of the enemy. He has armed us with strength for the battle.
Psalm 18:39 NKJV
“For You have armed me with strength for the battle;
You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.”
The battles that we go through do not belong to us. They belong to the Lord. We should not try to fight the battle for God.
1 Samuel 17:47 NKJV
“Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.
Unlike a bulldog, our vigor (strength, force, power) does not come from the physical. It is supernatural. It only comes from the Spirit of God.
Zechariah 4:6b NKJV
“ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the Lord of hosts.”
Philippians 4:13 NKJV
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
IV. Bulldogs have great strength.
Strength is quality of being strong; power; force. Strength is the power to resist force, degree of intensity, something that makes you strong; support. A bulldog is strong, powerful and forceful. It has the power to resist force. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have great strength. We must rely on God’s power for our strength. God’s power is limitless. The resurrection of Jesus from the grave was an example of God’s power.
Ephesians 1:19-20 NKJV
“And what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ Jesus when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”
When, not if, the enemy comes against us we must stay strong. We must stand fast under pressure.
James 1:2-4 NKJV
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Believer’s have the power of Christ in them. That power is greater than any other, therefore we are able to resist whatever the enemy attacks us with.
1 John 4:4 NKJV
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
V. Bulldogs are equable.
Equable is changing little; uniform; even. When something is even it is not easily disturbed or angered, it remains calm. Even can also mean something that is fair or impartial.
Calm: not stirred up; quiet; still; not excited; peaceful.
A bulldog’s disposition and temperament changes little. It is not easily disturbed or angered, it remains calm.
Malachi 3:6 NKJV
“For I am the Lord, I do not change..”
If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be equable. God does not change. His mercy toward us is continuous (it never ends). He is fair and He is impartial. He does not show favor to one person over another.
Acts 10:34 NKJV
“ Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.’ ”
God is fair and just. God loves us very much and He is not easily disturbed or provoked.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
We should be not given to change. Our disposition and temperament should vary little (be even). We should not be easily disturbed or angered, but remain calm.
Proverbs 24:21 NKJV
“My son, fear the Lord and the king;
Do not associate with those given to change.”
As followers of Christ, we too, should be fair and impartial. God requires for us to show absolute fairness in all aspects of our lives. There is to be no partiality (favoritism) in our lives.
James 2:8-9 NKJV
“If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scriptures, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”
VI. Bulldogs are kind.
Kind means doing good rather than harm; friendly. Kind also means a gentle, gracious, sympathetic, considerate attitude toward others. The attitude is genuine, natural and sincere. A bulldog is genuinely kind. It’s kindness is natural and sincere.
Friendly : on good terms; not hostile; wanting to be a friend; supporting.
Gentle : not severe, rough or violent; not harsh or extreme; easily managed; having or showing good manners; polite.
Gracious : pleasant and kindly; courteous; merciful.
Sympathetic : having or showing kind feelings toward others; sympathizing; agreeing; enjoying the same things and getting along well together; harmonious; agreeable.
Considerate : thoughtful of others and their feelings.
Ephesians 4:32 NKJV
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
As the body of Christ, we should strive to be genuinely kind. The kindness that is shown must be natural (instinctive) and sincere (honest), free from pretense or deceit. We are to be friendly, gentle, gracious, sympathetic, and considerate toward others. Even to the unthankful. God, Himself, is the model of kindness for us.
Luke 6:35 NKJV
“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”
VII. Bulldogs are resolute.
Resolute is having a fixed resolve; determined; firm. It also means constant in pursuing a purpose; bold. A bulldog is determined and bold.
Resolve: make up one’s mind; determined; come to a decision; decided.
Determined: with one’s mind firmly made up; firm.
Constant: never stopping; continuous; incessant; always the same; faithful; loyal; steadfast.
Bold: without fear; daring; brave; showing courage.
If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be resolute (determined and bold).The body of Christ has been commissioned to go into all the world and make disciples. We must be determined and bold to fulfill what God has instructed us to do.
Ephesians 6:19 NKJV
“and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel.”
Our heart must be the same as Paul’s. He desired to proclaim the Gospel courageously. He was a faithful witness for the Lord.
VIII. Bulldogs are courageous.
Courageous is full of courage; brave; fearless. A bulldog is full of courage, brave and fearless.
1 Corinthians 16:13 NKJV
“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must be courageous.
Psalm 27:1 NKJV
‘The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?”
With the Lord on our side we can be courageous. Danger (and opposition) can be met without fear. Courageous people will follow their convictions. When we get to a place where we are desperate for the presence of the Lord we will do whatever has to be done without fear.
2 Chronicles 15:8 NKJV
“And Asa heard these words and the prophecy of Obed the prophet, he took courage, and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had taken in the mountains of Ephraim; and he restored the altar of the Lord that was before the vestibule of the Lord.”
Desperate circumstances can be endured with a firmness of spirit by courageous people that are looking to the Lord for their help.
2 Chronicles 32:7-8 NKJV
“Be strong and courageous; do not fear nor be dismayed before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him; for there are more with us than with him. With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”
The body of Christ must be able to face danger (opposition) boldly and with determination that with the Lord on their side they will overcome.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
IX. Bulldogs are not vicious or aggressive.
A bulldog is not evil or wicked. It does not have bad habits or a bad disposition. A bulldog is not spiteful or malicious. A bulldog does not start a fight (war) or a quarrel- it does not have an attacking nature. Vicious is evil or wicked, having bad habits or a bad disposition, spiteful or malicious. To take the first step in a war or quarrel, attacking, quarrelsome is to be aggressive. If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must not be vicious. We must turn from our wicked ways.
2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
“if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
The above passage is not talking to the world – it is talking to the church (the body of Christ). His people, called by His name.
Nehemiah 9:35 NKJV
“For they have not served You in their kingdom,
Or in the many good things that You gave them,
Or in the large and rich land which You set before them;
Nor did they turn from their wicked works.”
We must turn from (lay aside) every evil work and abandon evil practices.
Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV
“Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Colossians 3:5-8 NKJV
“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked you lived in them. But now you yourselves are put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.”
1 Corinthians 14:20 NKJV
“Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.
1 Peter 2:1 NKJV
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking”
X. Bulldogs have a pacific and dignified demeanor.
Pacific means tending to make peace; peaceable. Pacific also means loving peace; not warlike, peaceful; calm; quiet. Dignified means having dignity of manner, style, or appearance; noble; stately. Demeanor means the way a person looks and acts; behavior; manner. A bulldog shows honor by the way it acts (behaves) in a peaceful, loving and calm manner.
Matthew 5:9 NKJV
“Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.”
If we are desperate for the presence of the Lord in our life and in our church we must have a pacific and dignified demeanor. God has called us to peace.
Hebrews 12:14 NKJV
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
Psalm 34:14 NKJV
“Depart from evil; and do good; Seek peace and pursue it.”
Each of the above characteristics and attitudes should be countenanced by a Christian’s expressions and a Christian’s behavior. Especially by one that is desperate for more of the Lord.