Like Water Off A Duck’s Back
Have you ever tried to drown out an annoying sound or ignore a distracting presence? It is also kind of a juggling act. There is a part of you that still needs to exert energy or focus to filter out the unwanted interferences. As a result, that coping mechanism will yield marginal success in the grand scheme of things. In the words of Kevin O’Leary, “There has to be a better way”! Perhaps a useful image would be ‘like water off a duck’s back’. The duck doesn’t need to try to make that effect happen; it happens naturally because of the way God designed the duck’s feathers and anatomy to work. A few weeks back we looked at the temptations of Jesus. Quite simply, our Heavenly Father’s antidote to standing against the devil’s temptations can arm us to produce a similar effect as ‘water off a ducks back’.
The devil twice appealed to Jesus’ identity. “If you are the Son of God…” (Mt. 4:3,6). In the second temptation, Satan offered him the opportunity to make a dramatic leap off the temple, which would have been an unbelievable PR stunt that money can’t buy! The crowds that would have witnessed that would indeed give the arrived Messiah great praise and accolades. But Jesus knew this was not the Father’s ways. He resisted the temptation to prove himself, and instead of seeking the approval of man, he rested content in his Father’s approval which had been spoken just weeks prior at Jesus’ baptism.
For many, the need for other people’s approval sits in the driver’s seat of their minds. This really amounts to permitting others to dictate your life. And certainly that is no way to live your life as a child of God. Our directive needs to come from only one source: our Heavenly Father. Jesus tells his disciples that he chose and appointed them to go and bear fruit (John 15:16). But how can we fulfill that purpose? Only by remaining in Jesus (v.4,5). He explicitly tells us that apart from Him we can do nothing (v.5).
Jesus modelled for us the key to fruitful living. Knowing the Father’s approval will set us free from the need for other people’s approval. Living in the Father’s approval will arm us with a duck’s back . Mike Breen writes that that “is the key to being free to find the right method, the right word or the right action in our missional context.” When we understand our lives as being on mission with God, the Father’s approval needs to be our security and foundation in order to produce fruit.
So where does this all start? What’s it going to take to succeed? Paul writes in Romans 10, “Faith comes by hearing the word.” The key for us is to daily tune into our Heavenly Father’s voice and anchor ourselves to Him. When we establish that rhythm in our lives, we will be poised for fruitfulness and to arm ourselves with a duck’s back.