Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Praise To The Lord The Almighty"1 (Lyrics)
Jeremiah 17:7-8 – But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (NIV)
The two dogs were regular visitors, right from the start. The moving truck had scarcely pulled out of the driveway when they appeared. Mocha was large and sported a shaggy black and tan coat, while Skye, being totally black and furry, was often mistaken for one of the local black bears. They were soon a common sight, stretched out on our front boardwalk.
Over the years, the dogs have travelled along bush trails, protected our livestock, and run beside the cart and pony when we take a jaunt to town. Both eat their meals at our place and look to us for their general care. Mocha, however, has become much more a part of our family than Skye. Mocha comes to be brushed and have the burrs and rose prickles removed from her now-glossy coat. She likes to have her ears rubbed and her tummy scratched and has learned to obey commands. In fact, four years ago, as winter approached, she even decided to move into the house with us in order to stay warm and enjoy a cozy dog bed. Mocha has indeed become a vibrant and all-inclusive family member enjoying its full benefits.
Skye, however, is very different. She still shies away from being physically touched, always keeping people at arm's length. She rarely listens, choosing instead to go her own way, which can often place her in the path of danger. Her dense coat is matted and dirty as she refuses to be groomed. In the dead of winter, she will stand outside the house, lifting one paw after another off the ground to find some relief from the bitter cold, but when invited into the warmth of the house, she seldom accepts the invitation. On the rare occasion when the freezing temperatures have forced her to reconsider, she has ventured in to warm herself for a short period but then rises and stands at the door to go back out again as soon as possible. Skye has never received anything but love and goodness from our hand. She is definitely part of our family, and yet, still she has not become a full member of the family, choosing instead to remain standing on the fringe of a relationship, looking in.
Many followers of Jesus are like Skye. They hear of God's love and move into the fringe of it by accepting the salvation He offers in Christ Jesus. They become members of God's family, and yet still, for whatever reason, they choose not to give up many of their own ways, never allowing Christ full lordship of their lives. This choice prevents them from receiving and enjoying the fullness of His blessings and the transformed life of victory amidst the trials of this world.
Others, like Mocha, become fully-committed family members. They not only receive the salvation Christ offers but also choose to trust and humble themselves before His lordship. By so doing, their lives are transformed as they fully receive and enjoy the blessings of intimate relationship with Him. Victory in life as well as death belongs to them.
Which one of these relationships best describes the one which you now have with Christ: full blessing or partial? Victory or defeat?
The choice is yours.
Prayer: Father God, may all who have come to You for salvation reach out and choose to fully trust You and have confidence in You, that each may be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.