Every Memorial Day weekend, I drive out to Elm Creek, buy seedlings, and plant my garden. And every year the garden thrives. Vines stretch out. Plants grow thick and lush. I collect half-a-dozen cucumbers each day and pick cherry tomatoes and beans by the bucket full. This year was not like every other year.
A few days after putting the seedlings into the ground, the leaves turned yellow— like Post-It-Note yellow. But, the plants did not wilt; they did not shrivel up or die, they just stayed yellow— which was also strange. These yellow seedlings never grew; they never pushed out new branches and vines and leaves. For three weeks, I saw small rows of miniature yellow tomato, cucumber, and bean plants.
Now, usually yellow leaves signal something wrong with growing conditions. The soil could be too acidic. The plants may not be receiving enough sunlight. Overwatering and severed roots can stunt plant growth. If you boil all the symptoms down, the causes for poor growth come from poor soil. Plants need good soil to live, grow, and produce fruit.
For you to grow, thrive, and flourish in Christian living, you need good soil. You need a reliable source of comfort when feeling crushed. You need clear answers when confused. You need ever-constant strength when feeling exhausted. Where are you looking for direction?
Better yet, does your source produce good results? Drink deeply from this truth: Gospel-Fed Hearts Grow. God has transplanted you into light. His Word grows knowledge. His Word produces fruitful living.
The congregation in Colossae needed this reminder. (Now, Colossae sits in the southwest corner of present-day Turkey. So, picture Phoenix lying a little bit off the southwest American border.) An evangelist named ‘Epaphras’ preached and the Holy Spirit planted faith in each listener.
Yet, this young congregation gets sick very quickly. They feed on a strange mixture of Jewish and Pagan teachings. Jewish— like: forbidding the eating of certain meats, making Old Testament religious ceremonies mandatory, and creating rules in order to win God’s favor. Then pagan— like: worshipping angels (who are God’s servants [Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 19:10]) and creating strange ideas of who God is, what he does, and how he lives. Those false beliefs poison souls. It seizes attention away from the clear answers God wrote down in the Bible and sets personal beliefs on human opinion.
Epaphras and Paul see stunted, shriveling faith, and grow terribly concerned. So, they start right at the roots. After all, when my plants turned yellow, I did not treat the leaves; I started with what caused the leaves to turn yellow. I started with the soil. In the same way, when we drink in guidance for life, we need to make sure that this guidance comes from a healthy source. We want to remain spiritually healthy. Verses 13-14 say: [God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. We all entered this world rooted in this stinking soil, this domain of darkness. We were not just yellowed sick, we were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). That is how we started life. Enemies of God (Romans 8:7). Not going to heaven (Isaiah 53:5). Unable to do anything to change that dreadful status.
Yet, God did something: he ‘transferred us.’ With the pure life of Jesus in hand, he scooped you out of hell. He washed away the moral filth that soaks our minds. He clipped away our shameful regrets. He healed us from the disease called ‘sin’— a disease that would kill us. He transferred us into his kingdom. We have been moved from the column: ‘Enemy to be destroyed by God’ to ‘Child Loved by God.’
God’s Word, the Bible, tells you this comforting truth. That is the ‘gospel,’ the ‘good-news’ that Jesus rescued you. That ‘good news’ enters your heart individually. Because the Word of God has the power to change hearts (Romans 1:16). That Word, which was spoken at your baptism, has transplanted you into light.
Paul takes us right to the soil. He reminds you that (1) God has bought you and (2) transplanted you so that you may draw strength from God and his Word. When it comes to guidance and strength for life, look down and see where you stand planted. God has transplanted you into light. Rooted in good soil comes good growth.
My plants— well, the leaves remained yellow for several weeks. So, I treated the soil. I carefully dug up each seedling, filled the hole with black dirt, mixed in a little lime, and replanted each plant. A few days later those little plants began improving. Leaves changed from yellow to green and new growth appeared. When you have good soil, you have good growth.
You (and I), planted into faith, grow. Paul continues in verse 9: [We] ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding… So, you, as a Christian, are planted in Christ, but you do not remain stagnant. You grow spiritually. You grow by learning God’s ‘will’— and that ‘will’ (God’s desires) are only found in the Bible. This is why your congregation presents and emphasizes opportunities to be in God’s Word. To be in Bible Class. To be in Sunday School. To be in Catechism class. To have personal, daily devotions. These are all opportunities to see God’s demands, hear God’s forgiveness, memorize promises of rescue, and find God-pleasing answers.
Maybe right now, your mind is already fabricating excuses as to why you just cannot possibly be in the Word like that. I mean, we still battle a sinful nature. A sinful nature that thinks it can handle every problem in life. A sinful nature that does not want to rely on the Bible verses memorized in Sunday School and in Catechism class. A sinful nature that defends its ungodly decisions. A sinful nature that only seeks its own interests. We may create every excuse as to why it’s impossible to grow in our knowledge of God, but we only hurt ourselves. The devil loves the excuses you (and I) make because they separate us God’s Word— the only weapon we have against temptation. The further we stay from the Word, the further we can drift from God!
That is why Paul prays: [We] ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding… The more you read your Bible, the more you learn— and not just that, but the more you remember about who God is and what God does. The information gained from the Bible allows you to apply it to the many different situations of life.
This is where you find guidance. You know: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16). Apply that truth when frightened about death. Can you really know that you will be in heaven? Yes. Because God used baptism to save you (1 Peter 3:21). You know that God is with you to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20). Apply that truth when at a loss for answers. You do not know the future. You might worry the future will be bad, not pleasant. Yet, God has heaven in store for you. God uses even unpleasant things to increase your reliance on him.
You also use your knowledge to determine what is false and what is true. Someone might tell you: God will not give you more than you can bear. You would know that this is not entirely accurate. The Bible says: God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear and that when pressed down, his Word gives you strength not to fall into sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). A friend might say: I don’t need to be in a church to be a Christian. While that sounds a little true, you also know the Bible says: Let us not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). The more you spend in your Bible, the more you know. The more you know, the more you apply. That is how you grow.
A Gospel-Fed Heart Grows. God has transplanted you into light; he provides good soil. As a follower of Christ, you will grow in Christian living; His Word grows knowledge.
Right now my garden is growing. The soil is balanced. Plants draw nutrients from that soil. Yet, something else happens: those plants produce fruit— good, beneficial, pleasing fruit.
Paul points to the fruits that come from putting God’s Word into practice. Verses 3-5 say: We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. God loves the Colossians. He loves them so much that he still keeps the Word in their life. He uses the Word to correct their false beliefs. He does not hold their wrongs against them, but he cleanses them. He keeps them planted in this soil of faith. He keeps feeding them with his Word. That love has an effect: loved much, they love much.
Paul notes that in verses 5-6: Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing— as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth… The Word produces ‘fruits of faith.’ ‘Fruits of faith’ are the results that come from putting God’s Word into practice.
See what fruits it produces in you. God encourages us: Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said: ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you’ (Hebrews 13:5). We see that God has given house and home, possessions and vehicles, money saved and money spent— and does this all without our constant asking. The Word sinks in; the fruit of contentment grows.
God teaches: If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord (Romans 14:8). If we come through surgery, we thank God for another day. If we do not make it through surgery, we thank God for heaven. We will not leave this life a day sooner or a day later than God already knows. So, the Word sinks in; the fruit of trust grows.
God instructs: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord… Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:22, 25). Husbands put the needs of your wife ahead of your own, just like Christ put your life ahead of his and died for you. Wives, listen to your husbands, just like you know God loves you and wants only the best. The Word sinks in; the fruit of stronger relationships grow.
Gospel-Fed Hearts Grow. God’s Word does something; God’s Word produces fruitful living.
For you to grow, thrive, and flourish in Christian living, you need good soil. You need a reliable source of comfort when feeling crushed. You need clear answers when confused. You need ever-constant strength when feeling exhausted. Where are you looking for direction? Drink deeply from this truth: Gospel-Fed Hearts Grow. Turn here. God has transplanted you into light. His Word grows knowledge. His Word produces fruitful living.
The alarm clock never went off. So, when she did wake up, she was already ten minutes late for her shift. She jumped out of bed and dashed to the closet— but the clothes did not go on fast enough. One shirt had a stain, the other just was not ‘right.’ She grabbed a button-up, but it took forever to button. She could not find her keys. Her boss called. She was now an hour late with no hope of arriving soon. The thought just consumed her mind: ‘This is happening because I skipped church.’
He tried planting. But it rained for three. days. Eventually, the fields were alright— soggy, but manageable. So, he loaded the planter and hopped on the tractor, but it did not start. A pin broke— and of course it was stuck. So, he pounded. He heated it. He drilled. Two hours later, he got it replaced. The tractor roared to life and he sped off to make up for lost time— but he sped too much. He sunk right into a lowspot, like buried the tractor. So, he ran the quarter-mile back to the barn, brought out the chains, hopped on another tractor, sputtered out, hooked up the chains, tugged and pulled oh-so-gently, until everything was free. That took all afternoon. Soon, darkness came. Rain was forecast for the next four days. He could not plant and he was already behind. He kept wondering: ‘Did I break down because God is angry with me?’
The results? Broken ankle. It should have never happened; she walked to the garden just like she did every day. Today, she stepped on the dogbone hidden in the grass. Of course, her foot twisted cockeyed. She heard the snap. She felt the searing pain. Now her ankle is broken and she is laid up for eight weeks. She cannot shake the guilt. ‘Did this happen because of the argument I had with my sister?’
Do you ever feel that God afflicts you because you failed him? …You did not obey him enough? …You do not love him perfect-lier? We may link bad events to our bad behavior. Yet, we could not be more wrong. As God’s child, he does not come at you in revenge. Instead, God comes with blessing. This morning God speaks in order to silence once-and-for-all every single fear we might have about his view of us. Receive the Triple Blessing of Your Triune God. The Father keeps you. The Son shines on you. The Spirit gives you peace.
In the book of Numbers, The Lord [speaks] to Moses. God speaks! Do you grasp the significance of that simple phrase? What follows is not my interpretation (which may or may not be wrong). What follows certainly are not your unfounded opinions about God’s actions. No, God speaks for the same reason we do: to clearly communicate intentions.
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites.’ ” To ‘bless’ means to ‘give the power to prosper,’ to ‘give good.’ God wants his people (that includes you and me!) to know him as the Giver of good! Again, God has to say these words because he knows our human hearts will doubt that he says such kind things. So, here, in Numbers, you can point and say, “God tells me what he is doing.”
He tells some very well-known words. The Lord bless you and keep you… Your God ‘blesses’ you, he gives you ‘good’— and the ‘good’ he gives is ‘keeping’ you. Imagine the little child who just caught a lightning bug. His curled fingers hold this bug in his hand. His eyes tracks its movements. He does not squish the bug; he keeps it safe and alive. Your heavenly Father keeps you. He holds you. He wraps his powerful fingers safely around you.
That is ‘good.’ Farmers might struggle during this wet planting season, but your Providing Father says: I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit (Leviticus 26:4). Even in this slow start, you’re not worried about your next meal; we do not have food rations. Your heavenly Father has made sure to feed you. He still provides farmers with income; even in tough seasons you have not seen farmers shrivel up, starve, and die. Your Father in heaven keeps you. He provides for your stomach and health, your bank accounts and life— and so much he does even without your asking!
That is not always easy to see, is it? Many times the troubles we face block that image from our minds and hearts. We either forget to turn to God because there is nothing to remind us of his presence. We even wonder if the troubles we encounter come because of something we have done wrong.
That’s why, in the midst of trouble, in the frustrations of schedules, in the aching pain, we do well to turn to God’s Word. In this ancient blessing God plainly tells you: ‘I, the Father, keep you.’ He makes that clear in order to drive away fears. In order to wipe out self-trust. In order to see him as he is: The Father who keeps you.
Receive That Blessing of Your Triune God: A Father who keeps you. As if that was not enough, your God attaches still another gift. (1) The Lord bless you and keep you. (2) The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
That might be a strange phrase: The Lord make his face shine on you. Yet, picture it literally. If someone is looking at you, that is good. Attention is set on your wellbeing. That person will respond appropriately to your needs. You are not ignored. Your God turns his face to you; he looks at you. Not just that, his face shines. That describes a cheerful face, a smile. A face that ‘lights up’ because it sees what it likes. The Lord likes looking at you because of the work of God the Son.
On the cross, God the Father gave Jesus no good. In fact, he took good away. He took away respect. He took away health. He took away life. The Father did not randomly do this. No! Jesus endures the fearful, frightening wrath of God Almighty because you (and I) doubt really cares for us, that he really gives good for life. Your God makes explicitly clear: The reason you see a cross is because this is what was needed to save you.
Dear friends, the sight of the cross means The Son shines on you. Yes, you might have skipped worship. You know you could have come, you know you did wrong. That does not mean God fills your day with trouble. No. The Son shines on you. He has bleached out that lazy-stain forever. Yes, the fields might be soggy. That does not mean God is getting revenge for something you did. Holy Scripture plainly says: The Son shines on you.
Yes, you (and I) do not deserve good things. Yet, God is gracious to us. He gives us good even though we do not deserve it. Yes, accidents stop life. God did not hide a dogbone in the grass because of a selfish argument. Even though you stood completely out of line, God has erased the record of that conversation. He will never bring it up again. He will not dust off your past when you stand at heaven’s gates. The Son shines on you.
You can be absolutely sure because your God attaches yet another blessing: the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. (Or, as you have heard it: ‘May the Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.’) God looks at you because he has accepted you. Imagine sitting on a bench at a playground. Children swarm this jungle-gym. You hear screams and shouts, crying and laughing. You see children your face literally turns to them, but you do not know them. Yet, one voice stands out from all the rest. One sight makes your heart leap with joy. Your eyes see your child. Your mind zeroes in on your child. Your heart loves your child. God blesses you, he gives ‘good,’ by promising: ‘You belong to me.’ He made that promise at your baptism.
When you were baptized, you were baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). That little word ‘in’ teaches a spatial concept, like painting a big circle on the ground and you standing inside it. When you were baptized, God took you out of the billions of people and put you in this special circle. All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:27). You became God’s child at baptism.
That is the Holy Spirit’s work: he makes you God’s child. Because you are God’s child, you have peace. Understand, God’s peace is different from the world’s peace (John 14:27). The world’s definition of peace means: no problems, no violence, no tensions; the absence of trouble. God’s peace means: unhindered relationship.
God’s definition is best because you will have trouble in this world (John 16:33). Even though storms rage around you, you have peace. So much of the news is meant to stir emotional reactions of fear and dread. The world’s only hope for comfort is prevent World War 3. Yet, even if World War 3 ended life tomorrow, you lose nothing. You will be in heaven. That is not scary. That is comforting.
Bad things do not happen because God afflicts you. Your spouse did not die because you were unkind. Even though you were not ready, God called your spouse into heaven. That is ‘good.’ In loss, God points you to Jesus who died for you, to the Spirit who carries forgiveness into your heart, to the heaven the Father prepared for you. So, even in sadness, you have peace because God makes eternity perfect.
You have peace even in injury. If you are a child of God, then it means God is your Father. As your Father, he uses doctors to heal you. Still, injury demonstrates how little control we have over life— and that purges self-reliance. Our trust in the One who holds control over all things only grows stronger. As you rely on him, you worry less about your own limitations. You have peace.
When you (and I) take our eyes off of this clear blessing, we will wallow in fear. You may think God afflicts you because you failed him. That you did not obey him enough. That you must love him better. Yet, we could not be more wrong.
God does not come at you in revenge. Your Triune God makes clear: ‘I have put my name on you.’ He has brought you into his ownership. God the Son paid the penalty for guilt. God the Holy Spirit took that payment and applied to you, personally, at your baptism. God the Father reached into those waters and pulled you up as his adopted child. Receive the Triple Blessing of Your Triune God. The Father keeps you. The Son shines on you. The Spirit gives you peace.
Guinefort befriended a very wealthy, very powerful knight. One day, the knight and his wife went away and left their infant son under Guinefort’s care. They returned later to a massacre. Blood splatter speckled the walls. The crib lay a smashed heap. Their son, missing. Huddled in the corner sat Guinefort, covered in blood. In one swift motion of justice, the knight drew his sword, swung, swiped, and struck down Guinefort. The instant Guinefort’s lifeless clay smacked the floor the knight heard the squeaky cooing of an infant. Underneath the splintery mess of a crib sat his son— alive! Healthy! Not a single scratch on him! Right next to the child lay the bloody remains of a viper.
Reports of Guinefort’s courageous bravery and hasty death spread throughout the town. Almost instantly people revered Guinefort as a saint. Villagers built his gravesite into a shrine. Women brought salt to the shrine as an offering. Mothers left their sick children on the grave overnight, hoping this deceased hero would heal the child by morning. The elderly hobbled out to the memorial and prayed to this hero, asking for healing.
These people treated Guinefort as a god— which is quite foolish. After all, what can the dead do for the living? Nothing, right? Still, what makes this behavior even more absurd is the fact that Guinefort was not a man. He was a dog. Women brought offerings to a dead dog. Mothers relied on a dead dog to heal. The elderly prayed to a dead dog for strength. An entire village worshipped a dog. (http://mentalfloss.com/article/91855/st-guinefort-dog-venerated-saint, see also http://assets.cambridge.org/97805211/08805/excerpt/9780521108805_excerpt.pdf)
This story presents a very grim, but real truth: the heart is capable of worshipping anything. That is the reason these words stand open before us today. The Father shines a spotlight on Jesus so that you can clearly see who to follow and who to trust. Wonder No More, Jesus is Your Christ! The Holy Spirit anoints him. The Father approves him.
This is who the people are looking for: the “Christ.” Now, remember, “Christ” means “Anointed One.” To be “anointed” means that you are “set apart” for a specific mission, or purpose. Isaiah prophesied that God would “set aside” his chosen Servant. This Servant would execute the single specific purpose of bringing God’s justice— his declaration of forgiveness— to the nations (42:1).
People know the “Christ” is coming. That’s why you read in [Luke chapter 3] verse 15: The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. Now, John the Baptist certainly stood out. After all, he lives in a desert. His plain, camel-hair clothing and his honey and locust diet catch attentions. His powerful preaching penetrates hearts in ways no one had done since the time of the Old Testament prophets. Not to mention, John baptizes people; he brings God’s forgiveness into many lives. So, when the crowds see John, they wonder if he was “set apart” as God’s great Rescuer. If so, then they would want to pay close attention to his words. They would want to put his instructions into action. They would want to put their trust in his ability.
Isn’t that what every heart searches for? “Who is the Christ?” Every single heart “sets apart” some object as G/god. An object that shapes your decisions. An object relied on for help and safety. An object to adore. Every heart cradles something above all else.
That heart could cradle ego. That little god proudly boasts how no one holds authority over you! No one tells you how to behave, how to act, how to think. Only you can tell you! So, you insult teachers because you feel superior. You can ignore the pastor— the messenger of the Word— and his encouragements because you are older, you have more experience. Keep God’s Word from sinking into your heart because you have determined that… God’s commandments are unreasonable in today’s society. …that God does not know the trauma you are going through. …that God does not understand the difficult emotions in life. That little god, ‘Ego,’ can become your ‘christ.’ Your pride tells you to do whatever you want. Pride arrogantly assumes no one holds authority over you. No one has the right to tell you “No.”
If Ego does not rule the heart, ‘Reason’ can sneak in. You know, relying on what feels fair and makes sense to you. You follow ‘Reason’ when you start sentence with: I think… or I feel that… You intentionally step outside God’s marriage instructions because… what? You think you have a unique situation? Your feel that your dalliances don’t hurt anyone? Your patience finally ran out with your spouse? You deliberately attack someone… why? She made you mad and that was unfair, and so you think it fair for her to taste unfairness too? He stole attention from you and you do not want to leave the spotlight yet, and so you feel justified flaunting your might? That little god ‘Reason’ is nothing more than elevating your own opinions over God’s Word. You follow those opinions instead of God.
Every heart craves some ‘christ,’ some object to follow, be it ‘Ego,’ ‘Reason,’ ‘Pride,’ or a dog. As mighty as Ego, Reason, and Pride appear, they all lack one thing: the ability to save you. Only one Person holds the power to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn. [B]ut he will burn up the chaff— the arrogant, the stubborn, the proud, the jealous—everyone who follows anything that is not God-- with unquenchable fire.
This is why John gives the answer he does. He directs attentions away from these worthless objects and centers them on the Christ God sends. “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” John calls himself a slave! Slaves deal with the dirty, sweaty, smelly feet of masters. The master’s dirty, grimy foot has a status greater than a servant! If so many already consider John the Baptist great (Luke 7:28), then just consider how great Jesus must be! [O]ne more powerful than I will come… And he has.
In plain view, in the sight of many Jesus was baptized too. [H]eaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. Can you imagine the sight? Who of you watched the Holy Spirit descend on you as a dove at your baptism? …No one? Yet, he appears here in order to “anoint” Jesus. The Holy Spirit sets this one Man apart from every other person in the world; he identifies Jesus as the Son of God.
Wonder No More, Jesus is the Christ! The Holy Spirit anoints him. Every other object we might possibly trust does not even compare to him. Only Jesus is “set aside” to bring you comfort, peace, and take away sin. Wonder No More, Jesus is Your Christ! You can be certain he is reliable because the Father approves of him.
Luke writes: [A] voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” God shines a spotlight on Jesus. This Man standing in the water, this is the Son of God. This is God’s Servant who wipes out our misplaced trust. This is God’s Chosen One in whom God delights! Only Jesus is mighty enough to carry away our sin. Only Jesus’ innocent is capable enough to bring God’s justice into our hearts. Only Jesus makes you sure that you are forgiven.
You can be completely certain that Jesus is enough. God himself says, “…with you I am well pleased.” If Jesus had sinned, then the Father would not be pleased. Jesus would become an object of wrath. Instead, the Father identifies Jesus as blameless and without sin. Since he is without sin, he is loved by the Father. Since he is loved by the Father, we can be sure the Father also loves us because Jesus has brought us to the Father. Because the Father points at Jesus, you can point at Jesus. You can point at the cross and say, “You forgave me, Jesus. God, you accept that life in place of mine.” There is your confidence.
Then God does something even more. He puts his approval on you. When Jesus is baptized, he stands where we do. He stands in the waters of the Jordan River; you (and I) stand at the baptismal font, a place where water is present. The Triune God— the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit— appears. At your baptism the Triune God appears and puts his name on you— just like a work shirt puts your name next to the company logo. You work for the company; the company identifies you as an associate. God identifies you as “disciple.” Jesus hears the Father call him “Perfect.” In baptism you hear the same thing: “Perfect!” The sinless Son of God dresses you with his life in baptism. You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus… You hold the inheritance of heaven. How do you know? …for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ (Galatians 3:26-27).
Your heart has been handed the only true God there is. Be sure, the sinful nature will fight for the reins of your heart. You will still feel the pull to hold grudges—for no other reason that you have determined it is fair. You will feel the push to deliberately do what is wrong— to step outside the relationships God expects of you. You will feel the desire to gripe about your teachers, to stroke your ego, puff up your pride, to arrogantly believe that you can do no wrong. These are not your gods. You are not your god. Only Jesus is God. Only Jesus proves himself mighty and capable enough to follow. Jesus is your God, your Christ.
Which means, you have someone actually powerful working in your life. When the day of trouble rises, do not ask how you might save yourself. Turn to Jesus. Turn to the Word and see the self-sacrifice you give in order to strengthen relationships. Turn to the Word and see the Almighty bend his ear to your anxiety. Turn to the Word and see how God powerfully rules all things now, for your good. Anxiety melts away. Fear dwindles. Comfort swells. Wonder No More! Jesus is Your Christ! The Father approves him.
That is why God has preserved these words for centuries. The heart is capable of treating anything as God—even if it is a dog.
A dog! Do you know the saddest part of Guinefort? The worship of Guinefort had been occurring for about 100-years. A friar named Stephen of Bourbon identified this local hero as a dog. He exposes the worship as pagan. He tells the villagers of their error. And the people continue worshipping the dog anyways. In fact, this worship continued until the 1960s (about 600-years). So many people knowingly and intentionally rejected Christ for a dog.
God has handed you knowledge and wisdom to know better. The Holy Spirit marks Jesus as the Anointed One. Only Jesus stands as you Mighty Savior, your Object of Trust. Jesus is worthy to follow. After all, the Father approves of him. Wonder No More! Jesus is Your Christ!