Feasts & Fences — with Dustin Folden

Janet Aucoin and Jocelyn Wallace sit down with our very first guest, Pastor Dustin Folden, to discuss how feasting at the table of God's goodness can help us fight against the temptations and dangers of sin. Main Passage: Colossians 2:20-3:4

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Janet: I don't just need to feel better. I need the truth. And ultimately that will make me better.
Alexandra: I just want to make it as totally simple and no brainer as possible for ladies to see that
the Bible is really applicable to their everyday life.
Jocelyn: When they understand theology, the application flows out of it quickly with joy.
Janet: It is a journey, but even the journey itself is joyful when I'm doing it, holding the hand of
my savior and trusting him all along the way. This is the joyful journey podcast, a podcast to
inspire and equip women to passionately pursue beautiful biblical truth on their journey as
women of God. When you choose truth, you're choosing joy. Typically, I’ll be joined by either
Jocelyn or Alexandra, but for our first full episode listen as all three of us discuss the topic of
Janet: Well, welcome back everyone. This is Janet back again with Jocelyn for another great
episode here at Joyful Journey Podcast.
Jocelyn:I loved talking about the theology of the physical body last episode. It was so thought
provoking. And today we're going to talk about a really fun topic.
Janet: I can't wait.
Jocelyn: Today, we're talking about feasting. And not like the, Oh, you better not feast too much
because you might gain weight, but like feasting. My husband and I are going to be married 25
years this year.
Janet: Congratulations.

Jocelyn: Thank you. And we have a massive party planned in November. We have been saving
for it. We have all of the reservations made. It's almost a year in advance and we are looking
forward to our favorite restaurant, catering, a big banquet, my family coming in from out of
town. And we're just excited to think about feasting on delicious food, but also feasting on our
love for each other and reminiscing and just being so in awe of the fact that God has allowed our
marriage to go 25 years. It's such a great thing to think about. So we've been thinking a lot about
what's coming up, and planning and getting ready to celebrate with a huge feast. And today,
Pastor Folden is joining us. He is one of the pastors from our church. He's the pastor of
discipleship and extension ministries, and does a lot of work in the counseling department. And
he and I worked on a collaborative counseling situation where I heard him teach this concept.
And I texted you as soon as I rented the car and said, Oh, my word, we have got to have Dustin
on the podcast to teach.
Janet: Change the schedule. Dustin's getting added..
Jocelyn: He has got to be part of this. So we're so excited to have Dustin here today. Thank you
so much for joining us. And we're going to look forward to hearing the great stuff that he has to
share with us on the topic of feasting.
Janet:So, Dustin, we're all hungry now.
Dustin: I didn't bring any snacks.
Janet: But I don't think that's the point.
Dustin: No, but it is a delight to be here. Both of you have had a great impact on my life and my
family. And it's a joy to be on this journey with you both.
Janet: Ooh. I see what you did there.
Dustin: Yeah.
Jocelyn: Clever.
Dustin: Somewhat. So I want to share a little bit today about a passage I often go to as I am
shepherding someone, mentoring, discipling, doing biblical counseling. Oftentimes folks will
want to get their life in order.
Janet: And that's why they come.
Dustin: That's why they come. They want help. Or there's an area in their life. That's not going
well, maybe their marriage, parenting, or just in general, their view of God, themselves, the
world. And we want them, as a shepherd, to go in the right direction. To be kind, not be selfish,

and to have strong relationships that honor the Lord. But how do you get there? What's the
Janet: Yeah.
Dustin: And so this passage I often go to, especially when folks tend to look for man-centered
solutions. So just give me something that people say is going to work, that'll work for me, and
my life's going to be great. And I often go to this passage and I'll just want to share with you how
I walk through it and we can talk about it, how it's going to just help us and others. So Colossians
2 verses 20, all the way across the chapter break to 3 verse 4 is the passage I tend to focus on. So.
Right away in verse 20. Let me just kind of read the passage and talk about it as I read it. So it
says verse 20, "if you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why as if
you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees such as do not handle, do not
taste, do not touch, which all refer to things, destined to perish with use, in accordance with the
commandments and teachings of men. These are matters, which have to be sure of the
appearance, the appearance of wisdom and self-made religion and self-abasement and severe
treatment of the body. But" -get this- "are of no value." That is key. "They're of no value against
fleshly indulgence." Keep going across the chapter break. It says, "therefore, If you've been
raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of
God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth for you have died and
your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life." That to me just stands out
so strongly. "Who is our life is revealed. Then you also will be revealed with Him in glory." So I
always read the text with folks and I, what I like to do is I like to maybe have them read one
passage and then me read one passage and just walk through it. But then I'll walk through it and
talk about it. And that first part in verse 20 says, you've died with Christ. So right away, it's about
the gospel and your view of Christ and your identity in Christ. And it's kind of a, have you died
with Christ, you know, that's the starting point. Then, how do you live? If you go a little bit
earlier in Colossians, it says if you've received Christ Jesus, the Lord. So walk him in chapter
two, verse six. So how you live, how you walk in Christ. If you've died with Him. Well, then
how do you live? How do you live in relationship to Him? Because you've died with Him and
the elementary principles of this world, people debate on what that means, but it's really
interesting how people come in for help, and they're always looking for man centered solutions.
Because we're so accustomed to just, what is the, how do I fix this?
Janet: Yes.
Dustin: Tell me what to do. What works in your life? What are these steps in my life? What are
these rules in my life to make sure I go in the right direction? And it's interesting because Paul is
talking about, the false teachers. And they say don't handle don't taste, don't touch. And the idea
here is don't even taste something , don't even touch. How is that going to really help you? I
think Paul is actually kind of mocking this idea of don't taste, don't even touch anything. And it

says these things are going to perish. And they're in accordance with the commandments and
teachings of men. And then it says this self-made religion, self-abasement, even beating your
body, hurting yourself. Like if I'm doing something bad, I'm going to hurt myself. And somehow
that's going to keep me going the right direction, even if I hurt my own body. And what he says
is they have no value against fleshly indulgence. So how do we motivate folks to actually walk in
the manner by which they've received Christ? Well, it says keep seeking the things above. Think
about Christ and verse three is really all about thinking about Christ. And what I often do in
counseling is, I love an illustration to unpack it.
Janet: Absolutely.
Dustin: to like make it vivid. And so I used to live, in seminary by a cattle paddock. And so a
bunch of cattle. And I'd be studying or mowing the grass and the cattle would get out. Cows
would get out all the time.
Janet: Bovine breakout. Sorry. I have a friend who has them all the time.
Dustin: It's a bovine breakout. And so there's these big, old cattle, these cows. And I have to grab
a stick to make myself look bigger and I have to corral them back into their fenced area. And
they would just constantly get out. But when the farmer would come with his truck, I don't know
if they could recognize truck. They knew it was, but they knew food was being delivered into
the middle of the paddock. And they would turn and they would just follow him and get in there.
They knew where the food was and that illustration, I like to share with people that if there is a
cow or a sheep or us, and we think there's something delicious over there. Across the fence, that
isn't pleasing to the Lord, but I believe it's going to be pleasing to me, I will push down any fence
you put in front of me. If the cows think there's no food in the middle of the pen, they're going to
be constantly pushing at the fence to find greener pastures. And you can electrify it. You can
reinforce it. You can build it higher. The cows are going to push it down. And so will I. And the
reality is they need to be well fed and they're going to stay in the middle. If I am feasting on the
things above. If I'm thinking about how delightful Jesus is. Then I'm not going to be looking over
the fence, thinking what elementary principles of this world, what teachings of men is going to
satisfy men, or me. And then, so often that fence is not bad. It just cannot change my heart what I
Janet: Yeah.
Dustin: It reminds me over there as death and destruction, but back here is food and
deliciousness. And that is all about who Christ is.
Janet: Yeah.

Dustin: And so I want to always paint this picture of just how delightful Jesus says Christ is our
life. When we are revealed with Him in glory. I want folks to think about glory and to think
about how wonderful He is, so that they find that there is ample sustenance as I think about
Christ to have delight. And so that's kind of where I end the teaching. I just talk about Christ
being your life and ultimately being revealed to Him in glory. And I like to have folks think
about, well, what is your life all about? What are you looking out of life? And are you looking
for greener pastures that really are going to be marked with death and destruction. When the
deliciousness is found in Christ, and think about that things above. So that's a passage I go to
oftentimes to motivate folks to pursue Christ rather than all sorts of other things.
Jocelyn: I love that passage. I love the cow example because it's so helpful. You know, we can
build really important fences around us to try to keep us from sinning, to force us to do what's
right. But if all we're seeing is the fences, we're looking over them to see the thing that we really
want. And the fence is just going to be pointless at some point, cause we're going to say, I want
what I want and nothing's going to stop me. Like, think about someone who is really struggling
with an addiction or a life dominating sin. You can build all of the wise fences in the world, but
when you want something super hardcore, you'll do anything to get it.
Janet: Well then you think, even if you choose to stay behind the fence, you do it with a lot of
self-pity, and you're now the martyr,
Jocelyn: Oh, totally.
Janet: and miserable. Because you know, that you're settling for less by not crossing that fence.
Jocelyn: Yeah. I'll stay here and be miserable, serving Jesus while I do it.
Janet: And then when I am tired of that, then I
Jocelyn: do whatever you want.
Janet: Go over the fence. Yeah.
Jocelyn: So I wonder what would it look like if life was all about Jesus? Like verse three says:
"for your life is hidden with Christ in God", in verse four, "when Christ, who is your life." What
would it look like practically if we, all of us, if our life was all about Jesus? Like there's so many
applications. What would it look like when I was in a conflict with someone, if my life was all
about Jesus? What would it look like when I'm at my job working, you know, and not really
feeling appreciated? What would it look like if my life was all about Jesus? What it looked like if
I had tough parenting situations or tough marriage situations, if my eyes were pointed to Jesus
and He is my life and this life that I have on earth is just the context for that life, my life in Jesus
to be lived out.

Dustin: Yeah, I think that's a great point because what does it look like is a great question.
Because this passage is fantastic, but what does it look like in your regular life to actually set
your mind on things above? And when I help folks, I want them to think more about Jesus, but
so many everyday examples are our trampolines or on-ramps to think about Jesus. If we will
view them through the grid of, what does the Lord have for me right now. And , you know, we
think about our lives, what we want our day to be like, what we want our week to look like, our
next trip or vacation or our relationships. And when I just look at this passage and it says, "when
Christ, who is our life," and so how do I look at the everyday aspects of life? Whether it's
picking up dirty clothes, whether it's responding to a coworker who is unkind to me, or a child
who didn't listen, or a spouse who maybe I think is just being unreasonable or something like
that. I have to view it all through what am I wanting out of life, and how does Christ fit into that?
And how can I find joy and delight in this mundane thing? Because Jesus is my life. Rather than
how can I get this mundane thing corralled in a way where I'm going to get something of life
that's good for me apart from Christ. So I want to help folks just think about their everyday
things in life, through the grid of delighting in Christ.
Janet: But you're assuming -I say, but as if I don't agree that Christ is the delight- but you are
assuming that Christ is superior to these other things, you know? So, cause I think that's part of
it. I'm picturing someone listening to this and saying, that's nice, but I'm not even convinced He
is better. And so why is Christ a better feast for my heart than whatever's on the other side of the
Dustin: That's a great question. I think when you look at this passage, it says, do not taste, do not
touch, do not handle. And I think that we are very astute at trying a bunch of things we think are
going to work. And the reality is none of them really do.
Janet: Yeah.
Dustin: And so I think people who come in, I sit down with, they'll talk about all the things
they've tried to do. And the reality is nothing works. And it's not just pragmatism where Christ
works, it's that they realize that all these things they think are going to motivate them do not
work. But yet when they start to look at their life through the grid of well, who Christ is, and
they start doing that "taste and see, the Lord is indeed good." And so it's oftentimes just helping
people try to think about life differently in a non-man-centered way, but in a Christ centered way.
Janet: Which is how we were designed.
Jocelyn: That's what I was just thinking. Like, it really takes you back to your understanding of
who you are as a person and why you were created. Because if Jesus created us for Himself, then
we exist on this earth for Him. And it's so easy for us to get our life wrapped up in our thing, and
to think. When I have the education that I want, I'm going to be happy. Or when I get the job that
I want, I'll be satisfied. Or when I finally get married, I'll be satisfied, or when I have a certain

number of children or when my marriage is conflict free or whatever, the next thing is, it's like
we're constantly after the next thing. And when we get that thing, we're going to be satisfied.
When really what scripture teaches us is that we were made by Jesus for Jesus. And all of those
details are just the context that God wants us to live out our love relationship with Him that was
made possible through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. And if we are focused, instead
on the context, instead of the person that we were created for, we're just going to be in love with
the stuff around us. And it's going to keep on disappointing us time and time again. We're going
to get the very thing that we thought we wanted and it still won't be enough.
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: It's we still won't have the joy that we thought that that thing was going to give us. So
how are fences useful? So you're not saying like, okay, let's just have a free for all. Like let's just
love Jesus and willy nilly see what happens. So talk about how we can use fences in a wise way.
Dustin: Absolutely. I think fences warn us that what's across the way is not good for me. But it
leads me to ask the question of what do I really believe is delicious and good. And so the fence is
kinda like a warning light on your car, or it's a sign that says, okay, don't keep going past this. It's
not going to be good for you. But really it's not going to stop you from loving what you think is
across the side.
Jocelyn: Totally.
Dustin: It'll challenge you to reevaluate your core belief of is that grass greener over there? Am I
going to delight if things go this way in this relationship or my day or with my career? And if I'm
going to do something like lie, or gossip, or steal or something that's like, okay, I know this is, I
shouldn't do this, but if I just don't do it as my heart can really change. Or is it this fence,
whatever it might be, is it gonna warn me to reevaluate where I get my delight? And so fences
are good because they really bring to the forefront my mind, okay, what's your life all about?
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: And so if we're feasting on Christ, if we see that He is beautiful, and that He is the
object of our life, then those fences are just a useful tool. They're not the thing that's forcing us to
do the righteous thing. Our mind is set on Christ. Our eyes are looking at Him. Our thoughts are
focused on Him and we're delighting in Him and we're asking Jesus to help this stuff of the
world to not be what I'm in love with. And so if our mind is set that way, then it becomes easier
to use fences as wise tools. And to keep our mind on things above. It really reminds me of
Ephesians 4: 22 through 24. The way that we can make changes in our life that are permanent.
It's not just putting on the right thing, put on the right thing, put on the right thing. First of all,
you have to get rid of doing the wrong thing that doesn't match up with scripture. And then your
mind has to be changed using scripture as truth.

Janet: Setting my mind on things above.
Jocelyn: Exactly. When your mind agrees with Jesus, with the righteousness that He teaches us
in the scripture, then doing the right thing becomes possible. And permanent possibly. Like we're
not just talking about just slapping on new behavior all the time, and just hoping that one day it'll
finally stick. Like we are allowing our mind to be transformed by the truth that is found in
scripture. And that is one of the ways that we decide to focus on loving Christ and feasting on
Him. So there's the mental capacity, the mental aspect of this is that our minds have to be
changed about how valuable Christ is, and how less valuable other things are.
Dustin: Other things are. Yep.
Jocelyn: And if you're working really, really hard, and you're trying to just like give up the things
of this world, then possibly part of what you need to look at is how much do you actually love
Jesus? And are you struggling to love the things of the world more?
Janet: And so I think, well, let's maybe take a step back and say, let's define a fence. When I
think of a fence, I think this is something that I've chosen, or my family, or somebody has chosen
to put in my life to keep me from going a certain direction or doing a certain thing. Wouldn't it be
cool if we could make fences that actually helped me set my mind on things above. Like,
because I am weak. So how about if I set fences that are going to help me learn to set my mind
on things above. So that then the fence actually becomes part of helping me feast.
Jocelyn: Totally. That changes the whole perspective about fences.
Janet: Yeah.
Jocelyn: You're not just corralling yourself and saying stop sinning. Stop sinning. Stop sinning!
Janet: I can't do this. I can't do that. I can't do that. I can't go over there.
Jocelyn: Right. Look at all these thousands of rules that we have to follow if we really want to be
Dustin: Right.
Jocelyn: The fences are just helpful. They're helpful for keeping us in the right direction, keeping
the wicked things out, helping us to keep our eyes on Jesus and our eyes on things above.
Dustin: Yeah. One, one fence might be something like if I'm talking to my kids and I want them
to be a member of the clean plate club. Right?
Jocelyn: I love that club.

Dustin: And so it's -
Janet: You get stickers though? You gotta have the right stickers.
Dustin: Or you gotta make your bed in the morning club. Or something we're working with my
kiddos is picking up after themselves. And so I want to create rules and principles for them to do
that. But I know that if they aren't thinking about their life through the grid of Christ, and they're
not thinking about, okay, why should I pick this up? Why? I know there's a rule, there's a fence.
Dad wants me to pick up my clothes, my Legos, my toys, whatever it is. I know I'm supposed to
do that, but why should I? And what's going to make them actually do it rather than just a reward
or consequence, but what's going to make them actually internally motivated/ desire to do that.
Well, If they're thinking about Christ and how Christ served them and loved them and died on the
cross for them. And they believe that they have died with Christ, then they look at that item of
clothing and they can think to themselves, I want to pick that up because it's going to serve mom
or dad or my sister and my brother.
Janet: I get to be like Jesus.

Dustin: I get to be like Jesus-
Janet: the one who did that for me.

Dustin: Who served me. And I want to do that because Christ is my life. And I get joy in doing
things that remind myself and others about Jesus, namely serving. Not just, dad's going to get
mad cause my stuff's on the floor or I've gotten up--
Jocelyn: Which will only motivate your kids until they're 18. And then when you're no longer,
you know, hounding them, they're going to do whatever they want. If they've not learned the
right motivation.
Dustin: Exactly.
Janet: But until the motives change, the fence stays.
Dustin: Yeah. Yeah.
Jocelyn: Cause it's useful.
Janet: But we're using it as we also talk to them about increasing their affections.
Dustin: Yeah. You can't just leave this right here, but let's talk about why you should pick it up.
And when you left it, there was something more interesting to you.
Janet: Yes.

Dustin: You wanted to go play your game.
Janet: It was more important.
Dustin: That was your life, instead of viewing your life for Christ. And putting that away is
actually joy because you're thinking about Jesus and other people. And you're looking at
mundane things like a shoes on the floor through the grid of the glory that is to be revealed to
you. And it's a delight to put it away because well, Christ served you and you get delight serving
others now.
Jocelyn: I think it's really important for us to ask ourselves, as we're talking around this table,
how do we know that Jesus is our life? So, when I'm thinking about Jesus, my life, and I'm
setting my mind on things above, I'm not getting distracted with the context, I'm living myself
out. What are some things that I think about? And I think it's helpful for us to just verbalize, like,
I literally think often about the fact that Jesus, my King, is coming back, and He will sit on a
throne. And Philippians 2: 5 through 11 says that every single human that has ever, ever lived
will bow their knee and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God, the father,
from earth, from hell or from heaven. So it's not, IF you're going to acknowledge that Jesus is the
Lord it's from where you're going to be acknowledging that Jesus is Lord. So I think practically it
might be helpful. If we just verbalized, what are things that we remind ourself during the day?
Like I worked in my garden all day long. Like what did I think about when I was working in the
garden? Was I just annoyed that I had work to do? Was I thinking about the vegetables? Or was I
thinking about bigger things? So practically for me, I think about the fact that Jesus is my King
and He is going to one day, come and sit on a literal throne and I will literally bow down and
literally worship Him. It's not just like some figment of our imagination. So what are some things
that you guys think about to keep Jesus and Him being our life in the forefront of our mind
through our day?
Janet: You know, one of the things that I've really been thinking about lately is how much I fail at
this. I don't constantly do that. And then as a result of that, I've been reading, a variety of books.
I'm reading the "Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23" and a whole trilogy. I'm in a book club for that.
I've been reading "Gentle and Lowly." And one of the things that has been really amazing me
that I do think about a lot more often is I really can't feast too much on God's tenderness and love
toward me. And as I have been growing to understand that His love for me is not limited. He
doesn't get tired of me coming with the same issues. Cause I've said, I don't think about Him all
the time. So then it's Oh, my word, I did it again. I was impatient again. And I find that as I am
meditating more on the things above and I believe getting a deeper understanding of really what
His love is like, I repent faster. I find I run back to Him faster. Instead of, I already blew it
anyway, and He's probably tired hearing. I'm running back faster. So for me really thinking about
the heart of Christ toward me, not because of me, but only because I'm hidden in Christ, that

truth has really been resonating with me throughout the day, which over time then orients me to
want to live that way as well.
Dustin: Something that helps me as the things that I don't like become a trampoline of thought.
And I think we can all say how many things happened to you today that you don't like?
Jocelyn: A couple.
Dustin: A couple -- if not 40.
Janet: Good for you! Only a couple.
Dustin: So we all think a lot about those things, right?
Jocelyn: Yes. Totally.
Dustin: There's this I don't like, and that I don't like, and that I don't like.
Jocelyn: And it spins you in a terrible, terrible mood.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: Yeah.
Dustin: And I view each one of those things as an opportunity to admit, okay, I don't like this.
Well, why don't I like it? Well, because my life isn't going the way I want it to go. And I think the
sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance. So is the comfort available in Christ and the
fellowship of His sufferings. And so if there's something I don't like, it's not going well, it is a
prime opportunity to think about Christ. And how, okay. This is what I wanted, but the fact that I
don't get it, this is a great opportunity to grow in humility. How it's not about me in crisis. So
humble, He came to serve and seek that which is lost to die for rebels and to suffer in my place.
I'm suffering a little tiny bit with my life not going how I want it to go. Can I feast on just the
humility of Christ? Of how humble He was? I can be more humble right now and I can just
rejoice in the humility this is producing in me, if I recognize this is what my life's all about. I've
got glories on the horizon and
Jocelyn: I’m
Dustin: dead to the elementary principles of just my life going good because traffic is nice or
because I don't have a busy day or, you know, this device won't work how I want it to work. I'm
dead to that. There's just so much more going on. Namely, I get to become more like Christ. And
this thing I don't like is the exact mechanism by which He is directing me to think about Him.

Jocelyn: And it's so crazy because if your day went great and nothing bad happened, you would
be at the end of their day and realizing, I didn't even think about Jesus all day long.
Janet: Isn't that sad?
Jocelyn: I had no reason to.
Janet: That's so true. I didn't need Him, I think.
Jocelyn: Yeah, everything was great. I had so much happiness. I got through it great. And it's
hard to remember in that moment. This is like, in that one episode, when we talked about this is
her moment to shine when things are the hardest.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: So, this is the moment that Jesus allowed for you so that you would be drawn to Him.
And instead of getting annoyed at that irritation, whatever it was that made us, you know, not
happy with our day, that was the very venue that made us lose our focus on the earth and focus -
Dustin: Yes.
Jocelyn: - instead on Jesus.
Janet: Right.
Dustin: Exactly. Yup. Yup.
Jocelyn: So how would you know. What you've set your mind on. What's a way that you can tell
what you've been thinking about all day.
Janet: How do I know if Christ is my life?
Jocelyn: Exactly.
Janet: Basically. Yeah.
Dustin:I find that we talk about what we want our life to be all about. And so you talk about the
things that are going well that you're looking forward to, or things that good don't go well. So
what do you talk about? What overflows out of your life that you're interested in, you want to
share with others? Whether it's your favorite restaurant. Yeah. New technology device that
you've got, or just a vacation that's coming up. So what do you talk about? Tends to be what you
are feasting on.

Jocelyn: So out of the overflow of your heart, the mouth speaks, you can know what's in your
heart often by what flows out of your mouth, especially when you're under pressure. Or when
you're, you know, just processing through your day and hearing what comes out of your mouth.
Janet: Right. When I talk to other people, either I will say, or they will say whether or not they
had a good day. And how do you define a good day? That certainly helps you know what you're
setting your mind on. I had a good day because I got all the green stoplights, go lights, I suppose,
at that point. And I got everything done. And for me, people appreciated work that I did. They
noticed it and thanked me for it, and dinner went great. And everybody. That was a good day.
Well, then maybe my eyes are not so much set on the things above.
Dustin: Right. And everything could have gone wrong today. I could have been treated poorly,
and yet I became more like Christ. And so it was a great day.
Janet: Yes.
Dustin: It was a good day because I was seeking the things above and He was my life. Rather
than this earthly life going in a man-centered way.
Janet: And that's not natural. So we can all acknowledge that's supernatural.
Jocelyn: Exactly. You know. It's natural to think about us and the things that we want. It's not
natural to think about dying to ourself and living for Jesus Christ and for those He's put around
us. So let's talk about motivation for a second. This passage is all about what motivates you. Are
you motivated by a thousand rules? Are you motivated about Jesus Christ? Is that what motivates
the decisions that you make, and how you put rules in effect in your life. So let's talk about
motivation in conflict resolution. So like let's just paint a scenario. You're at work, you do your
best and someone in your office has a conflict with you. How can you, instead of just having a
bunch of rules to follow about how you deal with people, how can Jesus being your life motivate
how you then work to solve a conflict with someone that you have to see every day?
Janet: It was funny, just this morning, Brent and I were talking and there's just some difficult
things going on right now. And I was not initially thinking of responding in all the right ways.
And I was completely overwhelmed. And I told him this morning, I said, I'm just completely
overwhelmed. And he said to me, just remember, your job is to be faithful and to think, okay, if
I'm thinking about things above, I'm going to know whatever just happened in this conflict with
this coworker, the Lord has allowed it. It's not my job to make her like me, but it is my job to
faithfully represent who Jesus is to her right now. That's my job. I've just been given a platform.
Here's my moment. And that really helped reorient me again today. It was just like, okay, that's
your job to be faithful and not to be faithful to myself. But to be faithful, to represent the One
who died for me. This is my moment. And that's going to change how I view that conflict.

Instead of it being an irritation to my plan, it is the purpose. It is what I'm supposed to be doing
today. It's not the thing that got in the way.
Dustin: And when I think about being revealed with Him in glory, I think about final glory and
being with Him and being glorified and just Him being exalted and being in His presence. As I
think about that, well, here's a conflict, and maybe I was slandered or thrown under the bus, or
what have you, or maybe just someone didn't really think about me in a way that made me have
more work now. Here's this backdrop that God has laid out. Kind of like a dark backdrop to
allow the foreground of my response and my Christ-like response to then just to glorify Him.
And so this conflict is a dark contrast of my response that I can get excited about. Like, Oh,
people are gonna see Him better now.
Janet: Yes.
Dustin: Thank you for this trial, this conflict, this suffering because the backdrop is set. And I
can shine brightly for Him and they might see my good works, or my humility, my response, and
think about the Lord. What a delight that I have this opportunity now. Rather than I look bad.
You've jammed me up.
Janet: But what I'm hearing is that backdrop has gotta be there. I have to be filling my mind and
saturating my mind with the truth of the glory of God and the backdrop. Or I'm not going to be
thinking that way in those moments, you know?
Jocelyn: So let's play this out. If your mind was set on things below, the elementary principles of
this world, and you were in a conflict with someone at work, what might some of your goals be?
Dustin: Make sure they never do it again and make sure they know how disrespected I am.
Make sure everybody knows it wasn't my fault. And make sure that okay, I want to be viewed
well in the eyes of my coworkers. So.
Jocelyn: You probably do a little gossiping.
Dustin: Yeah.
Jocelyn: Like just make sure everybody else in the office knows that that person treated me
Dustin: Exactly.
Jocelyn: And I was disrespected. And how dare they, what else might it look like? Practically?
How might you get stuck?

Janet: Well, I think if one of my earthly goals is I don't want to deal with things like this, I may
just roll over and give in and stay bitter. Now I'm bitter inside, but on the outside I go, okay,
that's fine. Because I'm not going to deal with this. There is no speak the truth in love. It is
complete avoidance until I'm bitter and blow.
Jocelyn: Or total standing up for yourself.
Janet: Oh, yeah.
Jocelyn: Like, no one is going to treat me like this again. No one will ever do this to me again,
because they know that I'm a force to be reckoned with.
Dustin: Right. Right. I think many of us will do the brain DVR. So you'll relive it again and
again and again, and then watching it again, you catch more details that make you more upset.
Jocelyn: Yes.
Dustin: Oh, they really disrespected me. And so what I'll do is I'll waste my time, seeking the
things on the earth of like, I'm just going to wallow at how poorly I was treated.
Jocelyn: Okay. So pause. If Jesus is our life and we have a conflict with someone at work, what
are some rapid-fire practical applications that we can put in practice in that moment? So think
about what do we know about scripture? How does Jesus teach us to treat other people?
Especially when we have a conflict?
Dustin: Well give thanks in all things. And so first thank the Lord. And then recognize that's
God's will for me in Christ Jesus. So how can I go to that person and solve a conflict in a Christ
centered, humble way where I ask questions rather than just come out, guns blazing or come out
angry. So go to them, talk to them and ask questions and try to resolve it relationally. Rather than
go be bitter and do the brain DVR thing on your own.
Janet: And I think, okay. So the first thing that should go on in my mind, if my mind is set on the
things above, I am not a victim of this person. My King wanted this to happen, and He's already
told me in broad brushes, why. It was designed by God to make me look more like Jesus. I know
that. There's a lot I don't know. But that's at least one of the things. So this is how right now do I
have the opportunity to look more like Jesus. I might not know for a minute. And I got to wrestle
down my own flesh that wants to do all kinds of other things. But if I'm setting my mind on
things above, I know that my King is the one who orchestrated that. Not that person. They're not
a hindrance to God's plan in my life. They are the plan right now. So I know that, and I know He
loves me, which is what I've been meditating on. So it's a good God who has allowed this. And
His good plan is to free me from my enslavement to me, so that I would look more like Him,
which will bring me the most joy. That has to be my mindset.

Jocelyn: Another broad brush stroke that we can know from scripture is that God wants me to
practice loving that person the way that Jesus does.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: And so it's so helpful going into a problem that you have to solve or a conflict to
remember. Remember, you love them. Remember you love them.
Janet: Yes.
Jocelyn: You love them. And if you're constantly thinking, because I love you, I will, fill in the
blank. Because I love you, I will. It helps you to keep your motivation rooted in your relationship
with Jesus. If your thought is not because I love you, you'll do all sorts of ugly things to that
Janet: Right.
Jocelyn: Fight back. Be bitter, be ugly. Tell other people about how much they hurt you. But if
your motivation is I love you and Jesus loves you. And because of that, I'll treat you in this way
that Jesus has said. I won't gossip. I will speak the truth. I won't argue. I will solve problems. So
there's just so much practicality to this. It's easy for us to kind of say high level theologian. Like
this affects the way that you actually go to work tomorrow. And the way that you do deal with
conflict because it is a part of everyone's life. Another application that I was thinking is, okay, so
let's think about a context where you really want to change. So think about any practice in your
life that you would really like to make something different. All of us probably have experience in
making a million rules. And if we just follow them perfectly to a T, we will get whatever our
goal is. So what would it look like if Jesus was our life and we were feasting on Him, our mind
was set on Him and not just building a million rules? What might it look like if we tried to
change some in some practical way?
Dustin: So like, for me, I want to get back into working out and get back into fitness, but like to
what end and what's going to help me to follow a schedule or a regimin? The thought process I
think for me is I want to steward my body so that I'm healthy so that I can serve others better and
not be so tired and be able to engage with people in a way that is more effective. And so I want
to work out because it's going to help me ultimately honor the Lord and bring Him more glory.
Rather than, I got to do this. I got to do this. And what are the things that are going to get me
motivated to do it so that I have glory? And they're going to force me to do it. And I'm going to
lock up all the candy bars?
Janet: Don't do that. That's extreme.
Dustin: That is extreme. You're right.

Jocelyn: But that's the reality we live in extreme land. And when we're trying to make changes.
Dustin: But I will break those candy bars out. Because they are delicious.
Janet: No fence keeping me from that candy bar.
Dustin: Right. But if I'm like, no, no, this is worth it. This is better. This is more delicious, you
know? Then I will pursue something under the context of this is just part of Christ being my life.
My life is hidden with Christ in God. And so my life is all about Him. I've got a view whatever
this is, whether it's working out or talking with a coworker or parenting or doing a task I don't
want to do, through the grid of Christ being my life.
Jocelyn: How about you, Janet? What do you think about making changes? Motivation?
Janet: You know, it's funny. I come back to the thinking about: if I'm making changes, quite
frankly, I probably need some fences. Because I have built habits and habituated my mind and
my body to things that I'm trying to change, because they're not taking me to the feast. They're
taking me to destruction. I think if my desire is how do I set my mind on things above so that
these changes are for the right reason, and I can actually change, my fences even become about
looking up. It's not hiding the candy bars. It's maybe when I get up in the morning, I am going to
write down three things I'm thankful for. That God gave me a body that even works, and I get to
serve my family today. Like, I'm going to be thinking, but I might have to make those some
fences for awhile. Because I usually wake up thinking about me. So I need some fences. But my
fences are all about how do I develop a greater affection for God, so that that's going to motivate
all the rest of the changes that I'm wanting to make. Instead of the fences being about the actual
item. It's why am I going to that item? Exactly what Dustin said, because I think it's better. So
my fences need to be about learning what really is better.
Dustin: Yeah.
Janet: That's what my fences are for. To push me toward what is better, instead of just trying to
keep me from the other thing.
Jocelyn: Yes.
Dustin: Yeah, that's a good point.
Janet: And if I can use my fences to push me toward what's better, then that's going to help me
not need as many fences toward the other thing, cause I'm not wanting it as much anymore.
Dustin: Yeah. Yeah. The fence can't just warn you about how bad something is over there. It has
to say the good stuff is back there.

Janet: Yes. It's the fence pointing me back to the good.
Dustin: Yeah. Yeah.
Jocelyn: For the last seven or eight years I've been working, like you said, on being healthy and
that included losing weight. And the first time that you taught this, my immediate response was,
Oh, my word, this has a million applications to dieting. Because, when you're thinking, how can
I eat in a healthy way? It's easy to make it about the rules. Like, okay, follow these 25 rules and
then you will be healthy.
Dustin: It's goal oriented.
Jocelyn: And yeah, the focus is on the fences. Like the cow illustration, if my focus could be
instead on what is better, then this really self-motivated way that I'm living, especially just in my
case, like I'm thinking about the pleasure that this food is going to give me. I don't care so much
that it's not going to make me healthy. I just think about how delicious it's going to be. And God
doesn't say don't enjoy delicious food. But He says, don't make delicious things the point of your
Dustin: Your life is more than that.
Jocelyn: Your life is more than that.
Janet: Don't settle for that.
Jocelyn: Right. And so I just think there's so many practical applications. Which is one reason
why I wanted to make sure we talked about this on our podcast. Jesus, and what He teaches in
scripture is so practical. Jesus is our life. He's not an afterthought. He's not something that we
think about on Sundays and then go live our real life. Jesus is our life. And everything that we
think about is pointing out what we really believe is our life. Everything that we talk about is
demonstrating what we've made the point of our existence. And Jesus doesn't want second best.
He doesn't want afterthoughts. He wants to be the main focus of our existence. He made us for
Him. And having this kind of understanding will really help you examine what you're living for
and what your motivations are, and your decisions.
Janet: So, Dustin, as we are thinking, at least for those of us who need help in this area, maybe
not you, but for the rest of us, who need some help in this area, are there any resources or
anything you would recommend to help us grow in setting our affections on the things above?
Dustin: I know this is a book that's well referenced, but I love the "Gospel Primer."
Janet: Oh, absolutely.

Dustin: It's so small and dense and a friend of mine has talked about how the gospel is like a
diamond that you rotate and look at the beauty from different angles. And if you say He is just so
glorious and wonderful. I'm so in awe of Him and that's why I want to serve Him and do what He
loves. So the gospel primmer helps me do that. Just think about the gospel in a way. Something

recently that I watched, I watched The Chosen-
Janet: Oh! I love that.

Dustin: video, and what stood out to me, watching that, my kids loved it. We enjoyed it. It's like
this actor is doing such a good job about portraying, just the compassion and love and wisdom of
Christ. I want to be with Christ.
Janet: Yes.
Dustin: And this actor is doing such a great job personifying. But this isn't even Jesus, right?
Janet: Right. He's even better.
Dustin: This is not even close. But yet this actor is like, I want to be with this actor who's
portraying Jesus. How much better is the real Jesus. And so things like that, books like that, the
"Gospel Primer" is one that I really, really enjoy.
Jocelyn: I think that it's also really essential to read the real portrayals of Jesus,
Dustin: Yeah.
Jocelyn: In the gospels. I remember years ago, I just said, I don't feel like I have a very good
understanding of who Jesus is or how He functions. So I just poured over and over and over the
gospels. And just let Jesus tell me who He was from scripture instead of someone else's
perception of Jesus or, you know, my memory of Sunday school lessons.
Dustin: Yeah.
Jocelyn: I let the Bible tell me personally what Jesus was like so that He could fill my thoughts.
Janet: Yep. As a way to do that, I frequently ask people, and I've done it. to go through a gospel
and maybe through all four, but one at a time. And every chunk asking, what is He like right
now? What is He like right now? Instead of I've heard this story. No, what are you seeing about
Him right now? What's He doing? What's He like right now? And that can also help feed.
Jocelyn: I also really love music. Our family has a huge music family and we love music that is
really well-written, that just talks about Jesus. Not just about churchy stuff, but like literally talks
about Jesus and His character qualities. And we're gonna survey each other and put some of our
favorites as links in our show notes. I really love the song, The Goodness of Jesus, by City

Alight. It's so beautiful. And it just talks about how Jesus is so much better than anything else
you could pursue. So we'll have some ideas of different kinds of music that you could listen to.
But we just appreciate you so much being here today and taking time out of your schedule. It's
been a privilege to hear you teach this again. And I hope that this is something that our audience
finds really applicable.
Janet: Oh, I'm sure. So that's all for this week. Thanks for being here with us. Join us next time.
And we're going to talk about the privilege we have of investing in each other. In some ways, the
outflow of this, how can we help each other set our minds on the things above.
Jocelyn: Yep.
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Janet Aucoin


Janet is the Director of Women's Ministry at Faith Church (Lafayette, IN); Host of the Joyful Journey Podcast (helping women learn that when you choose truth you choose joy); ACBC certified; teacher in Faith Community Institute; Coordinator of FBS seminary wives fellowship, retreat and conference speaker; B.S. Human Resources, University of South Florida.