Driving in the car today I witnessed a man walking his German Shepherd dog. They were near an intersection where the dog was intently looking at the man ready to receive the next command. Upon observation, the dog appeared to heed every word spoken from his owner. My thoughts wandered to various animal demonstrations I have seen over the years. It is quite amazing to see the feats accomplished by our feathery, furry, and scaly friends. We may equate them as tricks or maneuvers, yet in reality these are highly trained and obedient animals following the orders of their masters. The word MASTER typically conjures a negative connotation. Our metaphorical feathers get ruffled as we bristle at the designation. It reminds us of historical slavery or our own personal bondage to vices and past hurts that have kept us imprisoned.
In Christ, we are both free and a slave. Our freedom is from eternal death, hopelessness, and a life separated from God. Yet we become a slave to Him as our Lord. Contrary to popular opinion, becoming a slave of the MASTER is not something to dread, but joyously anticipate. How can that be possible? At times we see in families, workplaces, and governments, a bitter harshness and abusive cruelty from those in power and position over others. We need to comprehend the meaning of the term MASTER. Noah Webster defines a MASTER as a lord, ruler, and one who has supreme dominion. Since history has shown us those who have risen to power have come and gone, whether great and righteous or evil and tyrannical leaders; they are not everlasting, nor was their dominion. Therefore only One has exhibited true Lordship, is ruler over all, and has always and will always have supreme dominion.
This same Lord and MASTER also is our Father and refers to us as His children. The Bible is clear about the Father’s love for us. He is perfect and is the only One who is good. A loving, good, and perfect Lord may discipline and guide his children into His best for us. He is never evil, tyrannical, cruel, or abusive. When we transfer our hurtful human experiences onto Him as though it is His character, we misjudge, and our vision of His love, perfection, and goodness are skewed.
Settling the honor of being a slave to Christ as MASTER, with the privileges and promises accompanying that honor, will give us peace. Daring to set ourselves up as equals will knock us out of His presence as quickly as Lucifer was expelled from heaven. What does that settling of honor look like? I reflect back upon the German Shepherd dog. He had no qualms regarding having a master. In fact, he appeared quite happy to be with his master. I observed the master rewarding the dog with treats for his obedience. I did not see any whips or chains nor did I view any maltreatment from the handler. It was a beautiful relationship to watch. If a man can perform his duties as master to a dog-leading, training, and rewarding, how much more would a perfect, loving, and good Father God be extraordinary as a MASTER to us. Most assuredly our rewards for obedience will be far more extravagant than kibble treats. The issue here is not how the perfect, loving, and good Master will react. The issue is how are we to respond to His call of choosing us and then to His words showing us His plan? We have an issue of obedience. When we obey, this does not guarantee a trouble free life, but we do have assurance that our trust and peace will not waiver amidst those troubles. Conversely, if we ignore the MASTER, our rebellion places us in harms way. What if the German Shepherd chose not to listen to his owner and instead of sitting and staying, he ran out into the busy intersection? How many times have I rebelled wanting my own way running ahead of God instead of listening to sit and wait? Obedience is not burdensome, it is true freedom and total safety.
Our MASTER is Lord, Ruler, and has Supreme Dominion. Jeremiah the prophet was is awe with a holy reverence of God’s greatness, not in fearful cowering of brutality. Jeremiah 32:17 in the Message Bible states, “Dear God, my MASTER, You created earth and sky by Your great power-by merely stretching out Your arm! There is nothing You can’t do.” He is above anything and anyone. He protects, provides, and gives more than we could ask for or imagine. He is available anytime we call to help us. Nothing can separate us from His love. He is awesome and worthy of praise. It is more than a honor to obey Him as MASTER, Lord, Ruler, and One with Supreme Dominion.