“Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” 1 John 4:1 (WEB)
Yes, although it’s a little hard to make it out in this photo, that’s our brand-new-to-us Snoopy and Woodstock Christmas blowup yard decoration you see lying there on its side in our front yard. One recent morning we awoke to colder temperatures, rain, wind…and our blowup rolled over on its side rocking back and forth with each gust of wind. Sometime during the night when the weather changed the wind managed to pull out several of the stakes that were holding it down so over it went. When I first put it up a couple of weeks ago I was careful to follow the instructions, especially the part about securely staking it firmly into the ground. So I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see it flapping around on its side since I’d been so conscientious about setting the stakes just right. As an extra precaution I usually unplug all of the outside decorations before going to bed, but that particular night I forgot to do that. I also didn’t bother to check out the weather forecast. Right now you’re probably thinking that I must not have been that concerned about any of this in the first place otherwise I wouldn’t have forgotten about it on my way to bed. That’s a reasonable thought that I certainly can’t argue to the contrary. It’s a point well taken since misplaced confidence, or being overconfident, will get you every time sooner or later. Unfortunately for Snoopy and Woodstock I had placed my confidence in the stakes I had set out a week or so ago. So confident in my work was I that I hadn’t bothered to check on them since. Dry ground turned soggy from rain changes everything. My stakes didn’t allow for those kind of conditions. Out of a total of eight stakes only three of the stakes remained in place that morning as I worked to reset and reposition the blowup after first deflating it.
Smack in the middle of rescuing Snoopy I was reminded of the similarities between this blowup yard decoration and the spiritual importance of exactly where we stake our faith. If you’ve ever owned an inflatable lawn decoration you know the very first thing you have to do is secure it to the ground with stakes. Once the stakes are in place and it’s anchored to them you can then turn the blower on to inflate the decoration. If you’ve not staked it to the ground very well then as soon as any sort of higher than normal wind, especially if it’s accompanied by rain, comes along the risk goes way up for your decoration to take an unplanned trip tumbling down the street visiting various neighbor’s flower beds along the way. It follows, then, that If you want the blowup to stay in place the most important part of this whole process revolves around the stakes. And so it is with our relationship with the Lord, as well, isn’t it? Throughout our lives each of us drive spiritual stakes into the ground depending on them to hold us in place eternally. As with the blowup we place our complete confidence in these stakes believing we can rely and depend on them to get this eternally significant job done for us. We anchor our most precious eternal possession, our very souls, to these stakes. We risk it all on them. The stakes for each of us are eternally high. Oh how we pray that they indeed allow us to reach such a glorious height.
We’ve made our choices. Our stakes are in place. The time has now come. Cue the blower. As the air begins to circulate inside us we rise and begin to slowly dance swaying to the rhythm of the gentle breeze that accompanies the silent night sky. The stars are shining brightly. All is calm, all is bright. Sooner or later in this world, though, this serenity will be broken because the harsh wind and the lashing rain will come to test our choice of stakes which we have placed our hopes upon for eternity. Buffeted and contorted by the fierce winds will our stakes be true and hold us in place? Or will we be uprooted and ripped loose from our misplaced moorings only to be sent tumbling helter- skelter off into the cold darkness far, far, far away from His radiant beams? Have we mistakenly placed our all on fake stakes that cannot possibly hold us in eternity’s place with our Heavenly Father, or have we found the One true stake of our salvation? In spite of the storm raging round about us will we at long last securely sleep in the arms of His heavenly peace on this holy night that was created for each of us long before we were even born? Will we remain steadfastedly in place through the night to be greeted by a new and glorious morning dawn richly overflowing with the pure light of His redeeming grace? Will we, a weary world, become thrilled with His hope on this divine night of deliverance, fall on our knees, rejoice, and hear the angel voices ? The answer to all of these questions, as we all know by now, entirely depends upon exactly what, or rather, Whom, we have staked our faith upon, doesn’t it? Christ the Savior, Holy infant so tender and mild, has indeed been born into this world for your sake.
“There is salvation in none other, for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men by which we must be saved!” Acts 4:11
Have you staked your faith in Him and Him alone? Once you do all is eternally calm, all is eternally bright, and everlasting glories stream into your life from afar.
“that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God didn’t send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him He who believes in Him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the One and only Son of God.” John 3:15-18 (WEB)
“but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31 (WEB)
“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered, ‘The Christ of God.’” Luke 9:20 (WEB)