daily devotional

If you have a dog, you understand the importance of obedience. If you have a big dog that can launch you into a face plant, you really understand the importance of obedience.

Our yellow lab is appropriately named Tank. He’s 130 pounds of curiosity and ambition. He loves his mama because I sneak him table scraps, but he listens to his Daddy because Daddy disciplines him. He knows Daddy means business so the command to sit is met with a butt that drops to the floor. My command to sit is met with a look of “no thanks, I’m not interested.” Yes, he responds to me as if I’m an unwanted salesman.

A dog has one master, and I’m not it.

We are the same. We will be influenced by our master, that which powers over us. The question is, what is your master?

Matthew 6:24 says “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Can money be your master? Absolutely. But so can your work. So can the home you live in and the things you own. So can the opinion of others and your incessant need to impress or please. When something or someone is elevated as your master, it essentially owns you. It dictates your perception and your actions.

I’ve been owned by a career before. My full worth and identity was derived from the number of clients I had and the money I was making. It became all about the car I was driving, the clothes I was wearing and the house I was living in because a girl who’s trying to be successful must look successful. And in the process of trying to look so darn successful, I became quite miserable. My work was a cruel master and I was an exhausted slave.

If you can’t walk out of the door with a full face of makeup, the question is, who are you trying to impress? Stop and check yourself, because vanity can quickly become an imbalance of show and praise that leaves you dang empty on the inside trying to be someone you’re not.

Why would God warn us of this? Because he knows how dangerous it is to be ruled by something that does not love you. A master who does not care for you in return uses you up and walks away when your best is gone. Your money does not love you. Your job title does not love you. The likes on Facebook and follows on Instagram do not love you. It could all be gone tomorrow and then what?

But God promises he is the master that will never leave you nor forsake you. He is a constant steady. He is the one and only guaranteed continual in your life.

Money may come and go. Beauty is a pursuit that only gets harder with age and honey you ain’t getting any younger. Everything starts going South, literally. That house you so desperately love today will be going out of style in the not too distant future. Yes, remember when orange and brown linoleum was a thing? It went out, right? So will those wood floors you paid bookuu bucks for and you’ll be looking to cover them with the new trend of carpet. Oh my gosh, if green shag comes back in style it’s going to be a nightmare. I stayed at an airbnb recently that had a big green shag rug and sadly I must admit I liked it. It’s coming ya’ll! Remember how Grandma’s house was always dated and out of style … that’s going to be you with your shiplap walls and white cabinets.

If you put your value and worth in what you have, it’s always going to be threatened. Someone will always have newer, bigger and better and here you’ll be on the hamster wheel of happiness chasing after an ever moving target.

When God is your number one, your whole world can fall apart and you will still stand. You can be surround by chaos and calamity and remain grounded. It is God, when given the right position in your life, who will never let you down. Does that mean everything will be peachy and you’ll joyfully skip your way through a blissful life? Oh heck no, don’t drink that Koolaid. But it does mean you can be surrounded by waves and not drown. It means you will be shaken but not broken. It means you will run and not grow weary.

Oh, let’s pause right there. Run and not grow weary. Isaiah 40:31 says “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

When you place hope in something, you’re elevating it to a level of importance, much like your master. If I hope in something, I’m counting on it, I’m depending on it and I will be affected by whether or not it happens. If God is my master and my hope is in him, I will soar. In order to soar, you must be elevated. That means by giving God a position of greatest importance in my life, he will raise me up, he will not leave me down here stuck, uncertain, lost and wandering. I will soar!

What would soaring look like for you this year? What would it mean to take flight and rise up? That’s exactly what God has in mind for you. How does it happen? Place your full hope in him. Let him be Lord over your life. Seek him first and seek him most.

Don’t treat him like the unwanted salesman. “Ahhhh, no thanks God, I’m not interested.” Whew, isn’t that what we do sometimes? “I’m not interested” … not interested in what … his best for you? Understand that’s always his end plan, that’s always his intention. The best for you. But the best doesn’t always feel the best. That’s where faith comes in my sister.

When God is in the number one position in my life I will run and not grow weary. Weary is beyond tired. Weary is hopeless. Weary is an exhaustion from disappointment. I’ve heard that weary in a voice before. I’ve seen that weary on a face before. Why did my life turn out like this and will it ever really change? That is weary. But God promises he will renew your strength and raise you up from that place of weary if you will hope in him.

Again, how do you hope in him? Give him the supreme position of Lord over your life. A full surrender to his guidance. You don’t know what to hope in, you don’t know what to do next, you don’t know how this will all work out? That’s God’s deal and sometimes he doesn’t explain why, he just wants you to trust him.

My husband never tells our dog Tank why. He doesn’t explain to him that running in the road will get him run over. He just pulls him back and tells him to stay. As the master, he knows best. As a loving master, his best can be trusted.

God is our master who always knows best. But he’s also a loving master who can be fully trusted. His plans are never to harm you, in fact in Jeremiah 29:11 he promises his plans are to prosper you and give you a hope and a future.

Oh wait, there it is. His plans are to give you hope. And if you have hope, you will have renewed strength. It is that hope that causes you to soar, that hope that causes you to not grow weary even when you’re going through hard times. Our God is the Master of Hope. He is the master who’s eye is always on you and plan is always good.

So when God says go, you can trust the go. When God says stay, you can trust the stay. When God says no, you can trust the no. Stop trying to understand it, and surrender to it. He’s a good good father, a master who can be trusted. Just as my husband would never command Tank with intentional harm, our God would never bring intentional harm to us.

Once we learn obedience to God, then we can be trusted to go off leash. Tank is now an off leash dog here on the beach. He can be trusted to obey … his Daddy, not me. I’m not his master.

Can you be trusted by your master to go off leash? Will you be faithful even when he’s not forcing you?

Tank continually looks to his master for instruction and permission. He will literally turn his face to him with a look of “may I Daddy?”

Let us do the same. Let us be obedient to our Master, fully trusting that he only has what’s best for us. Let us place our full hope in him, even when it doesn’t make sense. Then let us step into the life he has available for us as the obedient daughters with a good, good Father.