DON’T Let Sleeping Dogs Lie – Part 5: “Knock On Wood!”

Welcome marathoners in and for Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1; 2 Timothy 4:7) Exhausted, depleted from running the Godly, good, and being-a-blessing-to-others race? Welcome. Sit. Relax. Let’s feast.

Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered “reformation, revival, and constructive revolution” (Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City) so that God will be glorified and people blessed.

Reformation… we seek to abide by and serve up the true truth, pure doctrine of the Bible

Revival… we seek to model biblical Christians living in word and deed

Constructive Revolution… we seek to spread the true gospel right where God has planted us with urgency, compassion, and radical self-abandonment

Series Preface: If You’ve Not Yet, Please Take a Moment to Remember the Context of “DON’T Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”

[In part, “The Proverbial saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” means we should avoid interfering in a situation that is currently causing no problems—but might do so as a result of “interfering”, speaking up, shedding light, judging between right and wrong, or making an uncomfortable, revealing observation in any way, shape, or form.

Please spend some time chewing on this claim: a) In a culture where [radical, unresolved] emotional ambivalence—defined as “the coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings toward a person, an object, or an idea; warring, contradictory, incompatible emotions remaining unresolved in a person’s spirit; particularly complex emotions characterized by tension and conflict that is felt when someone experiences both positive and negative emotion simultaneously”—is the NORM… b) the vast majority of people make an unspoken covenant between each other to “Let sleeping dogs lie.”… Or, in other words, AVOID bringing up ANYTHING that reveals the rampant and disturbing emotional imbalance, warring in BOTH party’s spirit. Breaking this pact can be accompanied by high relational risks.

Discomfort, dissonance is the enemy of the emotionally unintelligent, worldly, conflicted human being. This is why we’ve invented 10,000 different ways to distract ourselves. So, we agree with one another: let’s not stir one another up! Rather, just let sleeping dogs lie. And yes, regarding this dilemma, the church has taken on the same attributes as the world: Don’t go bringing up “the messy stuff.”” (John Dozier, The Training Table, November 8, 2017)]

We’ve poked at some interesting and challenging sleeping dogs like, “We’re All Children of God”, “God Loves Us Unconditionally”, “All Roads Lead to God”. DON’T Let Sleeping Dogs Lie – Part 4: “Don’t Judge!”

I pray you have you been awakened in some way?

The Sleeping Dog for Today’s Feast at the Training Table: “Knock On Wood!”

As a Christ-centered “Marathoner for Jesus” (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1; 2 Timothy 4:7), does this “superstitious wood-rapping” about certain things we HOPE will come to pass, and other things we WISH won’t come to pass, resonate with you at all? Or am I being too sensitive, legalistic, anal?

Just in the past month I have interacted with many people who are professing Christians—no doubt some are elect, regenerate, repentant, bona-fide, born-again disciples of Christ—and somewhere along the conversation he or she will say something like, “We’ll see how it goes… knock on wood [as they rap their knuckles on an nearby object], things will be okay.”

Is this just a benign, harmless habit that’s not worth a nickel? Or does it underlie a deeper sense of forgetfulness—or some doctrine, promise we didn’t know to begin with—about the utter, complete, down-to-the-atom sovereignty of the God Who’s Son died for our sins, and our security, sanctification, and sacrificial service?

It’s entirely understandable if an unbeliever, humanist would rely on superstition, luck, chance, hocus pocus, karma or whatever random set of dice-rolling he or she was into. But someone who has been re-made to resemble the very Son of God should have different standards of discerning life’s circumstances…

Let me remind you: God’s Sovereignty describes God’s absolute control over everything, always and forever. He is not dependent on anything outside of Himself, never has been, never will be. (Isaiah 46:10) This is why His creature, man, cannot initiate his own salvation by his, man’s choice. (John 15:16) Providence is from latin, “pro videre”, “seeing in advance”, and also means God establishes, ordains whatever comes to pass. (Colosians 1:16)

“Knocking wood”, taken as what AnyMan relies on as the main means of what determines his/her steps, is nothing but idolatry (Romans 1:18-32).

Three Things… Buckle Up.

First: If you’re a Bible-defined disciple of Christ, can you say deep in your heart, “Because of God’s I AM… I am…

COMPLETELY ACCEPTED…
John 1:12 – I am God’s child.
John 15:15 – As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 – I have been justified.
1 Corinthians 6:17 – I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 – I am a member of Christ’s body.
Ephesians 1:3-8 – I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Colossians 1:13-14 – I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.
Colossians 2:9-10 – I am complete in Christ.
Hebrews 4:14-16 – I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.

TOTALLY SECURE…
Romans 8:1-2 – I am free from condemnation.
Romans 8:28 – I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.
Romans 8:31-39 – I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 – I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.
Colossians 3:1-4 – I am hidden with Christ in God.
Philippians 1:6 – I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.
Philippians 3:20 – I am a citizen of heaven.
2 Timothy 1:7 – I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.
1 John 5:18 – I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

ASTOUNDINGLY SIGNIFICANT…
John 15:5 – I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.
John 15:16 – I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit.
1 Corinthians 3:16 – I am God’s temple.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 – I am a minister of reconciliation for God.
Ephesians 2:6 – I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.
Ephesians 2:10 – I am God’s workmanship.
Ephesians 3:12 – I may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Philippians 4:13  – I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

There is not ONE piece of chance, superstition, luck, wish fulfillment… nothing but GOD’S UNASSAILABLE PROVIDENCE, PLAN, GRACE, TRUTH, AND ASSURANCE here. Are the above Bible truths about those who are in Christ rooted deep enough in your heart that knocking on wood, searching for a four-leaf clover, drumming up positive thoughts, grooving on Feng Shui, or avoiding black cats and ladders… just would not occur to you? [Again, I’m not condemning anyone’s occasional slip of the hand in surface-knocking as a sentence in hell…]

Second: If you’re a Bible-defined disciple of Christ, every pronouncement, prediction, prophecy , or the puniest word beyond our next breath should be accompanied NOT by a superstitious knuckle-knock on the nearest object, but by a heartfelt faith [and not an unduly or self-centered pietistic pronouncement,] “Deo Volente!” GOD WILLING! (Proverbs 3:5-6; James 4:13-17) God’s providence, not the toss of a coin, reigns: A growing trust in that is what marks the disciple of Christ.

“Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, [Deo Volente: God Willing] “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.  If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (James 4:13-17)
Do you believe that God’s will is the be all and end all over ALL things? Will you Stand (Ephesians 6:13) for, “No amount of wood-whacking, black cat avoiding, broken mirror catastrophes, candle lighting, or any other form of ritualistic-superstitious idolatry, will suffice for our faith in the sovereignty of THE GREAT I AM!”
Third: What is your history of redeeming the suffering God has providentially orchestrated for the transformation of your heart (Ezekiel 11:19; Ephesians 4:14-15), your maturity, growth, and the deepening of your faith and Christlikeness (Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 4:15-18; Hebrews 5:8; 1 Peter 5:10)?
Since this is a [way] big and complicated topic, allow me to offer one of my favorite, most polarizing and true insights about all of humankind’s suffering from a sermon by Tim Keller. Please spend some time reading, re-reading, and getting it deep into your heart. Which of the “two sufferers” best describe you? Do you have some stories that will support your self-disclosure?
There is a direct parallel, organic connection between how deeply we trust SOLELY in the Triune God of the Bible, or in luck, randomness, chance, or life’s outcomes of ANY kind based upon what we do… as opposed to what Christ has done. And, to the degree we have allowed our suffering to conform us to the likeness of Christ, suffering will make us completely trust in the sovereignty, providence of His Father… carried out and along by the Holy Spirit.

“There are only two kinds of people in the world. Both are sufferers. There are the people who build their trust on things beside God so that when suffering comes it takes away the sources of their joy so they become sadder and sadder, and madder and madder, and worse. And then there are the people who suffer, but who seek to build their trust on God, on the basis of his infinite suffering for us on the cross, so that God becomes the source of their joy. When suffering comes in their lives, it drives them into deeper joy. It drives them more into God. And so suffering makes them better and better, and more like Jesus.

There are only two kinds of people in the world! They’re both going to suffer. There’s the kind of person that suffering makes worse, because the source of their joy being taken away. And there’s the kind of person who suffering makes better because the suffering is pushing them towards the one source of joy that is not subject to circumstances. Jesus Christ suffered not so that we might not suffer, but rather when we suffer, we could become more like him!” (“The Sufferer,” sermon by Timothy Keller, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, NY, March 7, 2004.)

Breathtaking…

How about you? By way of the stewardship of your trials, has God stripped away many of the doubts in His reign over ALL things, and replaced the sands of doubt and distrust (Matthew 7:26-28) with more and more rock-solid trust in the Trinity each day?

Can’t wait to sup’ with you next week as we look at the next Sleeping Dog, “The Devil Made Me Do It!”

JohnDoz

Posted in Training Table

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