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“Just What I Wanted! What Is It?” (Revisited)

About 4 years ago (December, 2012) I wrote an article, “Just what I wanted! What is it?” I decided to edit and update the original, and I hope you will give it your post-Christmas consideration.

We go to my in-laws for Christmas each year. The crew usually includes 4 parents, 5 kids, a couple of dogs, and a Nana & PawPaw. We gather in the living room as the kids receive gifts, and…let’s say…“present opening frenzy?” Wrapping paper flies when 5 kids open their presents at the same time!

Of course, the kids have a great time. Sometimes they open a present and scream, “Just what I wanted!” Sometimes they need a moment to process, asking, “What is it?” And sometimes they get a gift they needed, but hadn’t requested, asking, “How did you know?”

Almost 2,000 years ago, our Father gave us the greatest gift ever – the expected Messiah. Angels announced Him (Luke 2:14); shepherds praised Him (Luke 2:20); Mary rejoiced in Him (Luke 1:46-55); and prophets proclaimed Him (John 1:29).

People such as lepers, centurions, blind men, etc., knew immediately that Jesus was the healing – ‘just what they wanted’ (Matthew 8:5, Luke 7:1-10, Mark 8:23). Others marveled – ‘what is this’ indescribable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15). Still others were impressed that God’s gift was perfect, long before they asked for it – “how did He know?” (James 1:17, Matthew 7:11).

Today, some are ready to receive, saying, “just what I wanted.” Others search to understand, asking, “what is it?” The answer is, the greatest love ever (John 3:16). Still, others wonder how God prepared a gift that meets each individual’s deepest needs – ‘how did He know?’ (Philippians 4:19, all needs are supplied in Christ).

Grace is given freely, but it wasn’t free. It cost God. Do you already know that grace is ‘just what you always wanted?’ Perhaps you don’t understand exactly what it is, but are interested. Or maybe you are in disbelief that God foreknew your needs that intimately. Whatever the case, get in touch…let’s discuss His amazing gift!

Covered by Christ…and a Wedding Dress???


The Apostle John told us the reason that he wrote to believers was “so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Therefore, as a preacher, I love to hear Christians sharing the joy of being secure in Christ. But every now and then, I cringe at what I hear, because…well, some folks are a little confused by what John meant.

Take, for example, the ‘baby train’ wedding. That’s the best way I know how to describe it, anyway. When Shona Carter-Brooks wanted to involve her 1 month old daughter in her wedding, she tied her into the train of her wedding dress and proceeded down the aisle with baby riding in tow. Perhaps not particularly tasteful, but who am I to judge?

But it was Shona’s defense that peaked my interest. Shona defended her unusual accessory to “haters” in the media and Facebook by claiming that her baby was “awake and well-secured” and “covered in Christ.” Awake and secure? Ok. “Covered in Christ?” How so?

In her response, Shona explained, “The answer is we do what we want when we want long as Jesus on our side…” Is that really the case? Can Christians “do what they want” as long as Jesus is on their side?

Allow me to offer a few theological suggestions:

1)      A baby being “covered by Christ” has nothing to do with the safety of being pulled down the aisle on a dress. Children are innocent of sin and would be in heaven if they were to die. But neither Jesus, nor any NT writer, suggests that babies will be kept from all injury because they are “covered by Christ.” We ought to be pure like children (Mark 10:16), and we must become like children to enter heaven (Matthew 18:3), but no physical protection in this lifetime is promised to children or any of us.

2)      Being set free from the law of death merely makes us slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18). The freedom Jesus provides us is not to “do what we want, when we want,” but being transformed by the renewing of our minds into what He wants (Romans 12). He’s not on my side; I’m on His! If I stay that way, I can expect a home in heaven with Him!

3)      We should never throw our freedom in Christ in the face of others. Rather, we should glorify God in our service to others, not lording our freedom over the world or as an excuse for inappropriate behavior (Galatians 5:13).

Riding the wrong coat tails…or gown, may lead to your eternal separation from God. Sadly, many people will form opinions about Christianity from events such as this. But there is only one source of security and eternal life. Will you search the scriptures and see what the true words of life are? Don’t let yourself get tied to the wrong gown! The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come” (Revelation 22:17)!