The average life leaves you worn out. Think about it. In all our achievements, our golf outings, our shopping trips, we go in and out of each year tired and more in debt. The average life just chews you up and spits you out. So why we do we live out the average life and think we will ever find happiness?
The average life is in pursuit of happiness and every attempt we make: epic fail. It leaves us exhausted and disappointed. What do we do? We go into a new day, do the exact same thing we did yesterday in hopes to find happiness and experience the exact same result: epic fail. That’s why we created this series. We are talking about how to move from an average life to an awesome life.
Jesus said, “God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.” NLT Matthew 5:3
When Jesus said this, it would have shocked everyone. In Jesus day, other teachers were telling people, to find happiness, real happiness, it’s found in honor, more money, pleasure and appearances. The people were pursuing these things to find happiness. These things became modern day idols to them.
Then Jesus steps in and shocks everyone. Notice Jesus didn’t talk about finding happiness. Jesus simply stated, God blesses those who realize their need for him. God blesses those who are spiritually hungry for God. How does God bless them? With happiness? No. Something bigger than happiness, the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them. What’s that? I think Jesus gave us a picture of what it looks like when he talked to the woman at the well. “13 Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again and again. 14 Anyone who drinks the water I give will never thirst – not ever. The water I give will be an artesian spring within, gushing fountains of endless life.” MSG John 4:13-14
Here is what I want you to wrestle with today: do you see your need for God? Are you spiritually hungry for God? Chances are, if you don’t, you are struggling. You’re frozen. Chances are you are pursuing happiness but can’t find it. Chances are, your soul isn’t being refreshed with gushing fountains of endless life.
Some people hearing this or reading this go to church and know what we are supposed to say. Like a pre-programmed robot we state, “Yes, I see my need of God.” But our behaviors show, we don’t see our need for God. We don’t pursue God. We are reminded to read scripture and pray and we slump our shoulders, feel guilty and think, ‘How will I ever squeeze that stuff into my already busy schedule?’ What do we do, like everyone else, we try to find happiness in honor, money, pleasure and appearances. The result is we go to church and are frustrated because we don’t have gushing fountains of endless life in our soul.
Stop for a second and ask yourself, “Do I see my need for God? Am I spiritually hungry for God?”
Today I want to talk about the power of God’s grace. We need to understand its power and what it can do in our lives. Paul wrote, 6 Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the Cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life – no longer at sin’s every beck and call! What we believe is this: 8 If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. MSG Romans 6:6-14
God’s grace breaks the power of sin in our lives. Can you connect with scripture when it says, ‘sin-miserable life’? A way of living that leaves you feeling like a slave to a master. You live out life and you know there is a right way to live and a sinful way to live and you find yourself choosing sin. You want to live correctly but everything inside you pulls you towards doing the selfish, sinful thing. That’s sin.
Maybe you have been hurt by people, life or even a church. That hurt created a wound inside you and you have never been the same. You hold onto that hurt, you think about it, you can’t let it go because that person, that church, God, someone needs to pay for it. You want a pound of flesh before you forgive! That’s sin. That way of living will make you a victim and it will ruin your heart.
Maybe you have a handle on sin, maybe you don’t walk with hurt in your heart. But, for you, you are busy. You simply don’t have time for God. You are busy, busy, busy. You just can’t put God in first place today, maybe tomorrow. Can I tell you something that might shock you? That’s sin. Being busy isn’t a sin, but when you ignore God as first place in your life and make excuses as to why everything else is more important, that’s sin.
Maybe you have been raised in church. You understand that you aren’t perfect but because of God’s grace you will go to heaven. That’s great. But, you continue to walk in rebellion to God. You know that God asks you to love your spouse but you won’t. Why? Because they don’t meet your expectations. You argue, fight, demand more of them… but you go to church! You know God asks you to obey your parents, you refuse to. You argue, fight and get angry and have no soft heart in you to honor your parents. You know God asks you to stop gossiping, but you refuse to. Why? It’s the way you live. You just keep on jabbering about things. That’s sin.
All of it is sin and it is as a power over us. A spiritual power over us, like a storm cloud that never leaves us, ruling us like a master rules a slave. It leaves us feeling hopeless. We can actually believe the lie that says, “I could never stop living the way I am living.”
Here is the good news. The power of God’s grace breaks that sin power in our lives. Think about it: Do you see your need for God? Are you spiritually hungry for God?
Let’s assume you give your life to God, invite Him in to forgive your sin and begin a new life as a follower of Christ. As you begin to live life with God’s grace, you will begin to experience a problem. You will want to do what is right but something will pull you towards sin and everything inside you will draw you back in the same sin habits. Is something wrong? No. You have God’s grace, you have a new identity but you still have old sin habits deeply entrenched inside you that you will need to break. Paul continues to write: 9 We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. 10 When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. 11 From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did. MSG Romans 6:6-14
Grace brings God down to us. God’s grace not only breaks the power of sin in your life, it also gives the power of God to you to live every day. Every day, you have God’s power inside you to break old sin habits. We have no excuses. If we trust God, if we get serious, we have God’s power inside us to walk in freedom. Because of God you have the ability to treat your spouse with love. You have the ability to honor your parents. You have the ability to stop jabbering and gossiping.
Do you see your need for God? Are you spiritually hungry for God?
Grace breaks the power of sin in our lives. Grace brings God down to us. Paul continues: 12 That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. 13 Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time – remember, you’ve been raised from the dead! – into God’s way of doing things. 14 Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. MSG Romans 6:6-14
This means we have a choice. You can do the least possible in your relationship with God and you will slip back into your old sin habits. You once lived under the power of sin. You were a slave to the master. God’s grace comes and frees you and empowers you to live in freedom. But when we do the least possible, no changes, no effort, it’s like we run back to sin, we run back to our old abusive master. We lose our spiritual freedom. We go to church and die inside and wonder, where is the gushing of endless refreshing water? That’s why Paul said, Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time – remember, you’ve been raised from the dead! – into God’s way of doing things.
To be holy means, you are aware of your need of God, His grace breaks the power of sin over you. His grace empowers you to make God choices in how you live. You will make mistakes but God’s grace continues to redeem you. This leads to freedom, energy to live life, and deep healing. And, not only do you see your need of God, you being to crave more of God.
To be godless means, you refuse to bring God into any part of your life. You decide to live a selfish, rebellious life. By the way, you can go to church and live a godless life.
To be religious means, you appear to be holy because you work hard at living out rules but actually, in your heart, you can be godless because you don’t see your need of God, you don’t pursue God. Instead you settle to live out the rules instead. It leaves you tired, prideful, critical of everything and everyone.
Let me ask you: Do you see your need for God? Are you spiritually hungry for God?
To begin your journey from average living to awesome living begins with the power of God’s grace in your life. God’s grace breaks the power of sin over us. God’s grace empowers you to live every day.
“God blesses those who realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.” NLT Matthew 5:3