Life’s Healing Choices: Commitment

Life's Healing Choices: Commitment

This is the message from week 3 of our Life’s Healing Choices series.  This week we worshiped together at Rock Hall Elementary School as one of our 5th Sunday special gatherings.

Sermon Audio:

 

Small Group study video:

 

Commitment

 

Commitment Choice: Consciously choose to commit all of my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

 

Based on a book by John Baker.  We all have hurts, habits, hangups that we don’t like, that affect the people around us, that are well short of what God wants for our life… and what we want for our life.  But we get satisfied, we settle, that this is the best it is going to be… But in this series we are proclaiming that God wants more for us.

We aren’t saying that God is a self help program.  I thought he was at one point.

But we are saying that a relationship with God is at the root of Healthy living.

In 1996, when my son was born, I found myself in some pretty destructive patterns.  I was drinking to excess on a regular basis, I was ignoring my wife, I was overwhelmed with responsibility of being a new father and I had no idea how to fix it.  Now I had grown up in church, in fact I was in church 3-4 times a week, but I kicked that habit, no problem.  I knew religion wasn’t the solution, because mine had begun when I was a regular church goer.    But I knew I could find the answers to my problems in the bible.  So one night in November of 1996, I stayed up all night searching for answers in the Bible, what we call God’s word.  What I found was more than I was looking for.  I was looking for a way out; but I found someone to lead me out.

We believe that Jesus makes life better, but maybe even more importantly, Jesus helps us live life better.

We began three weeks ago with this very realization.  We called it the Reality choice.

Reality Choice: Realize I’m not God, admit I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.

Just getting real… no longer living in our fantasy land that everythign is all that great; but we were going to admit that we had some real problems.  There are some things that left to my own, I simply can’t – not do.  I’m not God; if I were my problems wouldn’t be problems, I would be able to control them.

But this is just the start,

And we aren’t the only ones saying it.  In fact the 12 steps of AA and similar recovery groups were formed around these same choices.  In fact, AA began in the early 20th century with the work of a Lutheran pastor after his experience with the Holy Spirit at a Keswick Convention in England.

There is a great story there if you look up the Oxford Group.

So choice one is getting to reality, I’m not God; but there is hope.  Which is the second choice

Hope Choice: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to Him, and that He has the power to help me change.

Here I chose to believe that God is real and really powerful.  Not only can he create, but he can re-create.  God can help me change my hurts, habits and hangups.  I’m not trapped, there’s hope, and the hope is God.

Commitment Choice: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.

This is an important step b/c this choice is the hinge point for the rest of the series.  WE aren’t talking about a self help…make yourself better thing.  We understand that these hurts, habits, and hangups are spiritual issues and to solve spiritual problems require a spiritual answer that starts with our choosing to choose to commit our lives to Christ.

This is rooted in Jesus’s teaching from his most famous sermon, the sermon on the mount.  Jesus began this sermon with 8 qualities his followers are to possess, they’re called be-attitudes.  Attitudes we are to have.

Matthew 5:5 NIV

5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

What we think of meekness… as weak or timid

This week I was working with some freshmen football players, coaching them through some drills – football is a physical game – timid football player, afraid of getting hurt, or hurting someone.  Playing scared is the way to ensure that they get hurt… the safest way to play football is in full speed.  Everyone is paying attention, everyone is playing strong.

One way of understanding it’s use in the bible is gentle and mild

But another way is using it to describe a powerful animal who’s raw strength is under the control of its master.

So rather than a scared puppy, it’s more like a well trained police dog with it’s handler or a race horse.

Meekness is deep conviction under control.

Meekness is strength under control

It’s passionate.

For us it is to have the power that God provides…remember Choice #2…believing God has the power I need to change.  It’s having God’s power, but limited to the direction of God

In the bible there are multiple stories of meekness.

Early in the Bible, when Moses was leading the people through the desert, was one such incidence.  Moses was arguing with his brother Aaron and his sister Miriam. They were arguing with him b/c he had married… a non-Israelite woman.  Moses had been married a long time, yet here they are still complaining about their inlaws.   But Moses didn’t feel the need to defend himself or his wife, in fact Scripture says it this way:

Numbers 12:3 ESV

3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

Right after, Moses meekness was attested to, scripture tells us that God took Miriam and Aaron out to the woodshed and told them that Moses was his, that He had Moses’s back and that nothing would change that.

Instead of defend himself, Moses chose waiting for God to defend and rescue… determining not to fight, but instead live knowing he had done the right thing.

This ability to live under the authority of God has always been the measure of men and women.   But Moses isn’t the best scriptural example of meekness in the Bible.

The best and highest example of meekness is found in Jesus.

1 Peter 2:21–23 NIV

21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Jesus the ultimate in strength, who could have proclaimed himself to be the author of life.  He could have struck folks down who opposed him, but instead he chose to live a life in quiet submission to God.

From the very beginning when Jesus was introduced in the Gospel of John:

John 1:29 NIV

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Meekness was the example of Jesus as he was referred to as the lamb.

The bible says that Jesus had no desire to live out of his divine authority, but rather willingly humbled himself under God’s authority, accepting his role as the Messiah.

As a result of Jesus’s meekness, he was filled with the power of God.  You see meekness was a choice, that through faith resulted in him being filled with the power of God and his life was marked with what we understand as the fruits of the spirit:

Galatians 5:22–23 NIV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

That’s how Jesus modeled meekness, by his submission to God’s spirit at work in him.

Compare that to how Paul compared the life of one who lived under their own power.  One who’s strength and will were not submitted to God

Galatians 5:19–21 NIV

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Stark contrast wouldn’t you say?

Meekness means I acknowledge GOD’S HOLINESS & AUTHORITY

It leads to a bold confidence in both who I am and whose I am…

Confidence in WHO and WHOSE I am

WHO:

I’m selfish, I’m a sinner who fears being found out, I say hurtful things,

AND I am a child of God because I believe in Jesus and what he taught

1 John 5:1 NLT

1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too.

I am perfectly loved in all my imperfection… not because I’m great, but because he is.

WHOSE:

Deuteronomy 10:17 The Message

17 God, your God, is the God of all gods, he’s the Master of all masters, a God immense and powerful and awesome. He doesn’t play favorites, takes no bribes,

Meekness is knowing who you are and whose you are… not thinking more of yourself than you truly are.

This third commitment is about choosing meekness

Consciously… IT’S MY DECISION

…Choose to commit… OVER AND OVER

It’s a daily decision to follow him

Romans 6:16 NLT

16 Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living.

…All my life and will… EVERYTHING

What is it that masters you?

Not just the bad stuff

But the good stuff, because often times some of our hurts, habits, and hangups are focused on good things… it’s just we do too much of them

Anything in my life that God doesn’t get priority over is my effective god… its an idol.

When I say I’ll give you everything, but God I can’t trust you with my kids future… is that b/c you know better?

When I say God, I’ll give you authority over everything, but my work… is that because you can earn your own blessing and don’t need his?

When I say, I’ll give you everything except my free time, my finances

You see this part gets at our attempt to be God, God says it’s all about me or it’s not.  He asks, but we get to choose

Jesus said it this way:

Luke 14:33 NLT

33 So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.

…to Christ’s care and control… HE LOVES ME

Matthew 11:29 NIV

29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Letting God have the reigns of your life.  We sometimes use language of inviting God into your life… but I think a healthier way of seeing it is actually God is inviting us in.

We are out in his front yard enjoying all the things he has created, or we are on the porch relaxing and telling ourselves that we are close to God, but the reality is, we are on the porch.  And I don’t know about you, but if you only saw me on the porch you would have a very limited relationship with me.  God is inviting us in and today’s choice is about us choosing to enter in and find rest for our souls.

John 10:10 The Message

10 A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

The Commitment Choice: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control

Playing in the dirt…when he wants to give us a kingdom

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