Summary: If you want to stay out of the ditches in life, live your life in grateful dependence upon Christ, and appreciate your completeness in Him. Appreciate the purity, pardon, and power that comes from your faith in Him. For when Jesus is all you got, Jesus is all you need.

I came across a YouTube video this week, in which a young boy encounters a sheep stuck headfirst in a long narrow trench. Take a look (show video: “Sheep gets stuck in trench”).

The boy uses his hands and a belt around the leg of the sheep to rescue the trapped sheep.

Immediately on being set free, the sheep takes a few stumbling steps, and then a couple of joyful leaps… only to land headfirst back in the same trench further down the road (Deloached, “Sheep gets stuck in trench,” April 20, 2021,;

That describes a lot of people. Jesus rescues them only to see them jump into the same ditch further down the road. In one of the comments, Tim Walker wrote, “Me and Jesus on a regular basis!” Perhaps, you could say the same thing. Jesus rescues you from one problem only to see you jump headfirst into the same problem, or another one, down the road.

Thankfully, Jesus rescues people from their sin time and time again, but you don’t have to live that way. In fact, you can avoid jumping into ditches altogether. If you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Colossians 2, Colossians 2, where you can discover how to stay out of the ditch.

Colossians 2:6-7 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (ESV).

You received Christ by faith. Keep on living the same way—by faith. Literally, “continue walking around” the same way you started your journey with Christ—by faith. If you want to stay out of the ditches in life live in grateful dependence upon Christ from the beginning to the end of your life with Him.

You have been rooted in Christ (vs.7)—an agricultural term. You are right now being built up in Christ—an architectural term And as a result, you are being established, or strengthened, in the faith. You see, when Christ is the root and foundation of your life, then you become strong through your dependence on Him. Not only that, you overflow with thankfulness.

So from beginning to end, live in grateful dependence upon Christ, not in your own efforts. Walk around every day, strengthened by your faith in Christ.

In his book, Faith That Endures, Ronald Boyd-MacMillan tells the story of a number of conversations he has had with Wang Mingdao, one of China's most famous pastors of the last century. The first time he met this famous—and persecuted—Chinese pastor, the pastor asked him, “Young man, how do you walk with God?”

MacMillan listed off a set of disciplines such as Bible study and prayer, to which the Chinese pastor mischievously retorted, “Wrong answer. To walk with God, you must go at walking pace.”

MacMillan says, “The words of Wang Mingdao touched me to the core. How can I talk about the Christian life as walking with God when I so often live it at a sprint? … Jesus is inviting me to walk WITH him. Too often, I find myself running FOR him. There's a difference! (Ronald Boyd-MacMillan, Faith That Endures, Revell, 2006, p. 307;

When you do a hundred things FOR Jesus, trying to please Him, that’s when you run headlong into a ditch. Instead, slow down a little and just walk WITH Jesus. He’ll keep you out of the ditches.

Live your life in daily dependence upon Christ, and stay away from the notion of frantically depending on yourself to better yourself.

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ (ESV).

The “elemental spirits of the world” are a reference to the angels and planets that false teachers in ancient Greece said influenced people’s lives. It was a form of Greek philosophy mixed with ancient astrology that false teachers used to control people. But Paul says don’t live your life by the stars, and don’t live your life by their human traditions. Instead, live your life in dependence upon Christ.

David Neff, former editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, talked about receiving a promotional Email from L. L. Bean. The subject line said, “Double Coupon Dollars: Our Gift to You.”

Neff said, “The old sales trick worked. The promise of something free compelled me to open the e-mail. But the first words I read from the e-mail itself gave me a different message: ‘EARN Double Coupon Dollars.’ Wait,” Neff said. “Didn't the subject line say it was a gift? Now they want me to ‘EARN’ their gift?” (

I’m afraid that’s the way some preachers operate. They SAY salvation is God’s free gift, but when you get involved, you find that there are a lot of things you have to do to EARN their acceptance. Maybe you have to give up something for lent, or attend special services, or do any number of things that come from human tradition and not necessarily the Bible.

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