Christian Owner’s Manual: Advice from and Acts of Jesus

Matthew Chapter 4

A Bible Study of the Words and Acts of Jesus from a Traditionalist Methodist“Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” Matt 3:8 (John the Baptist)

Repentance is an act of sincere regret or remorse. Now that your have taken ownership of your new life one of your first acts is to acknowledge that you didn’t care for your old life very well. There are habits, desires, fixed ways of driving that you will need to change. Make a list. How will you change daily to produce results that demonstrate repentance? Safe driving begins with safe driving habits.

John the Baptist warned, “The ax already at the root of the trees. Every tree that does not produce fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matt 3:10

Think of John the Baptist as a stern driving instructor. When John speaks of fruit he is speaking of the wake of results we leave in our daily commute from our bed and back. Picture yourself behind the wheel of your new life. What fruit would you like to leave in your wake each day? Make a list. Then track your results.

John the Baptist said, “I baptize you with water for repentance.”

You have your list of habits you will correct. You have your list of fruit you wish to produce. But do you have water in your radiator? If not, how will you keep from over-heating on days when traffic snarls, pressures mount, and other drivers run you off the road? Water baptism is key for keeping your cool during stress-filled commutes. Water baptism is not magic, but it is a visible seal on your radiator cap reminding you that at one time you acknowledged that your new life was shiny and new.

How important is water baptism? So much so that Jesus demonstrated its importance by being baptized even though he was perfect in every way. It is proper for us to do this (be baptized) to fulfill all righteousness.” Matt 3:15

If you have not been baptized with water make a point NOW to swing into a service ban and get a fresh wash and new coolant for your soul.

John the Baptist said, “Jesus will baptize you with fire and the Holy Spirit.” Matt 3:11

Now the miracle of restoration begins. With your old life, character traits devolved. For a while you could show patience, kindness, compassion. But it took work. Sometimes too much work. And deep down you sensed no one really appreciated your efforts. With this new life, your character traits improve the longer you drive. In time you will find you do not care if other drivers do not notice or acknowledge your improved driving habits. Your satisfaction will come in knowing that the burden of effort is not born by you but Christ.

But for this transformation to take place you MUST be baptized with the Spirit of Christ. Only His Spirit can change your spiritual DNA.

Are you sure you have received the Spirt of Christ? If not, drive to a quiet place, park, and pray. Ask Jesus to fill you with His Spirit. Wait. Listen in silence. You will know you have received His Spirit when you sense His power filling you. Write the date on your mileage log. Then head out on the highway knowing that His Spirit is now at work inside you, turning you into one of his special drivers. 

Jesus was led by the spirit. Matt 4:1

Now that you have the Spirit of Christ guiding you, there will be days when he directs you along strange routes that lead to desolate places. You might think you are lost. You are not. As long as Christ is with you, you are never alone. Though you sit in the driver’s seat, but he created your new life. Take your hands off the wheel and let him take you where he pleases.

“Man lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matt 4:9 (Jesus)

As you travel, you will need to stop and eat. Your body requires it. But make sure you also take time to feed your spirit. We do this with the words of God. Savor scripture. Write down verses that fed you that day. Mark specific words that challenge your beliefs, call for a course correction, or convict you of a sin or act. Allow your mind to go back to those words throughout the day. If you do not feed your spirit with God’s words, you may find yourself hungering for an old habit. This is a sure sign that your new life is in need of God’s nourishment.

“Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” Matt 4:7 (Jesus)

In what ways do we put God to the test? Simple. We test the boundaries of our new life through reckless behavior. In a spiritual sense, we drive too fast, cut corners too close, swerve over yellow lines. We challenge God to watch over us despite our careless driving. Put this verse on your sun visor. Reflect on it often. You are saved. You have this new life. But you are not Superman. Respect God. Respect this give he’s given you. Treat your new life with care. 

“Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” Matt 4:10 (Jesus)

Along your journey, you may be tempted to swing into another lot to check out newer models. Do not. The new and shiny will distract you from the secure and stable life you have in Christ. Let others test drive new models. In time you will see that all fail, fall apart, and leave their owners alone on the side of the highway. Only this new life in Christ will get you to your final destination. 

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matt 4:17 (Jesus)

Repent will become a familiar expression for your spiritual GPS. Repent is God’s way of saying, “recalculating route.” Somehow you’ve missed a turn, failed to hear his instructions. You think you know where you are going, but he knows the route ahead. When you sense a check in your spirit, stop, repent, and seek to find Christ on the map.

“Come, follow me.” Matt 4:19

When you see Christ up ahead on the highway, do as he says and follow.

“I will make you fishers of men.” Matt 4:19

As you travel along, you will have the opportunity to pick up other travelers. Slow down, pull over, and open a door. This is one way Christ will teach you to become fishers of men. Always take time to pick up strangers who are spiritually lost. You may be the last new life vehicle they ever see.

Jesus went throughout teaching, and preaching the good news of the kingdom. Matt 23

Should you have the opportunity, never fail to teach and preach and share the good news of God’s kingdom with others. Be considerate. Some riders may simply want solitude. Pray for God to offer an open door. If he does, ask questions, listen, and refrain from judging. Odds are, someone in your past once did the same for you.

Jesus healed every disease and sickness He healed their suffering, severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, the paralyzed. Matt 4:24

Some days your new life may seem like an ambulance filled with the sick and dying. Jesus could and can heal with a word, touch, thought. With your new life you have this power, too.