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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him”—Hebrews 5:9 (ESV)
I have three dogs with three completely different personalities and three levels of obedience. Each one of the dogs has an opportunity to roam our yard freely, but there’s also a fence that borders the yard that serves as a protective boundary. But not all of my dogs respect or understand the protection the fence gives them.
One of our dogs, Chi Chi, occasionally pushes the gate open and makes a run for it. He seems to have no qualms about blatant disobedience! Another of our dogs, Sassy, is normally compliant. She stays in the yard as long as the gate is shut, but as soon as Chi Chi pushes the gate open, she, too, will attempt an escape. Our third dog, Raphim, is the most well behaved. He’ll stay in the yard whether the gate is open or not, proving himself to be subservient and obedient to his master. I’ve seen this pattern consistently play out with all three dogs over the years.
Christ says if we love Him, we are to obey His commands (John 14:15). You see, like a Good Shepherd, Christ set commands for our benefit and protection. In the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam and Eve to enjoy everything except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17). Yet in direct defiance, they did not obey, and sin entered the world.
I shared the story of my dogs at the beginning of this devotion to give us a direct correlation of how we tend to treat Jesus from time to time. There are moments when we are like Chi Chi. We “force the gate open” and push the boundaries that God established for us through His Word. Other times we initially obey, like my dog Sassy, but then find ourselves persuaded by someone else’s disobedience. Then there are the times when we obey, even if there is an opportunity to demonstrate rebellion, as is the case with my third dog, Raphim. The beautiful thing is that the disobedient dogs always come home, much like the Prodigal Son story in the Bible. And like the father in that story, I’m always there to receive them. In the same way, Christ always receives us with open arms even after our disobedience towards Him.
Dig: Read Luke 15, Genesis 2:16-17, and Psalm 23.
Discover: Ask God to reveal areas where you have directly or even indirectly disobeyed Him and His Word.
Display: Demonstrate to God an attitude of repentance and obedience by changing any rebellious behavior He has revealed.