“Thank the Lord!” I exclaimed, as I reached over and knocked on a wood table. I was joking, not about being thankful, but about the old superstition of knocking on wood. Some think that the practice goes back to the ancient nature worship of the Celtic people who believed that spirits lived in trees and that ‘knocking on wood’ roused them to bring good luck. How about a ‘lucky rabbit’s foot?’ Could that item really keep ‘bad luck’ away? I am full of faith, but I am not superstitious!
Christian, do you think that going to a church, wearing a cross, or saying the “Lord’s Prayer” wards off bad luck? Are you confusing discipleship with superstition?
Here is a check on that. When life is rough, when some big decision needs to be made, do you suddenly get religion? If Jesus is more like a lucky rabbit’s foot than your Lord, a lot of “God talk” will show up in your conversations when life gets dicey. The superstitious decide it is important to go to church when a suspicious lump shows up under their arm. When their son goes off to war they put the Bible they have not really opened for years on display in their home. I am not poking fun at such things but practices like that do resemble carrying a rabbit’s foot for good luck more than true Christianity.
Disciples of Christ are faithfully devoted and their lives are centered on obedience to the will of God. They act in faith, on sunny days and stormy days, making the directives of the Word their first priority all the time.
Jesus describes the life of the disciple as one of close connectedness with the Spirit that gives life. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who parts from me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father.” (John 15:5-8, NLT)
Think with me about that phrase – ‘producing much fruit.’ If you visit an orchard seeing fruit on the branches of an apple tree is a sure sign of life. Dead trees do not produce fruit. Yes, a fruit tree must be tended to by the owner, pruned and sprayed, to enhance both the quantity and quality of the fruit, but life makes apples appear. A person who is “in Christ” through faith will produce evidence of that life. Through divine pruning the fruitfulness of his life will be maximized.
Unlike a passive apple tree we who are Jesus’ followers (disciples) have an active part in the process. Jesus says “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” (John 15:4, NIV) That word, ‘remain,’ means that we choose to live with, to stay near, to be close. We do not do this just when we need some ‘good luck.’ Walking with Jesus is our life, a daily choice, a priority in our private thoughts, our work life, our family time, and in our worship.
The blessing of going beyond a superstitious religion and becoming a true disciple is the meaning, the purpose, the steadiness that is discovered in Him. The Presence of the Holy Spirit spills over from that person into the lives of those with whom they interact. When tough or spiritually dry times come they have a reservoir of faith on which to draw. Most importantly, that person fulfills the true reason for human existence which is to glorify God.
Friend, there is a real depth of character, a truly effective faith, found in real connection with Christ which stands in stark contrast to the shallow superstition of the religious. Have you found that kind of faith and built your life on it? I encourage you to choose to love and serve Christ – all the time, in every situation, as much when the sun is shining brightly as when the darkest clouds are approaching.
Here is the word from the Word. “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18, NIV)
Now, what are you going to do with that old rabbit’s foot?
Over all the earth You reign on high
Every mountain stream every sunset sky
But my one request Lord my only aim
Is that You’d reign in me again
Lord reign in me
Reign in Your pow’r
Over all my dreams in my darkest hour
You are the Lord of all I am
So won’t You reign in me again
Over every thought over every word
May my life reflect the beauty of my Lord
‘Cause You mean more to me
Than any earthly thing
So won’t You reign in me again
Brenton Brown © 1998 Vineyard Songs (UK/Eire) (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing (Integrity Music, David C Cook))
CCLI License # 810055
Pastor Jerry Scott
Faith Discovery Church