And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23 KJV
Last night I had one of those “aha!” moments while we were watching our favorite television show, “Better human, better dog” with Cesar Milan. I love watching Cesar walk into a home where people have uncontrollable dogs, who are barking, biting and lunging, and in just a few moments, slip a leash around their neck and get them to sit down quietly next to him. Cesar calls this transformation “Calm surrender” and it reminds me of today’s verse. Just like those uncontrollable dogs, I sometimes struggle with what the master expects of me and end up barking at others, hurting those closest to me and in general making a mess our of things. I know what choices I need to make, but the problem isn’t the knowing, it is the trusting God enough to surrender to it.
Now the good news for those like me is that while Cesar Milan may be the dog whisperer, Jesus is the people whisperer! He isn’t at all intimidated by our lunging at our leashes, snarling and making a ruckus. He knows what we need most of all is calm surrender. But in order for that calm surrender to happen on the inside of our hearts, there must first be an invisible transaction of faith. We must trust him enough, every morning, to allow Him to slip the leash around our neck. We do that when we believe that God’s leash, called the cross, is not put meant to strangle us, but to lead us. We can calmly surrender our lives to Him, because we know He has come to give us a better one. When we lie down quietly at His feet, God can drop the leash, because He knows that what keeps us connected to Him is not that leash, but our hearts. Then when we calmly surrender, God can open the door and lead us out to all the good things He has planned for our daily walk with Him!