Question today: Who or what is shaping your life?
What do the following people have in common? Ray Rice. Tiger Woods. Lindsay Lohan. Charlie Sheen. Bearnard Madoff. Jimmy Swaggart. They had it all in their profession and they gave it all up. Why would they do that?
Here is why. The normal and healthy appetite became an unhealthy craving that lead them to disaster.
29 One day Jacob was cooking a stew. Esau came in from the field, starved. 30 Esau said to Jacob, “Give me some of that red stew — I’m starved!” That’s how he came to be called Edom (Red). 31 Jacob said, “Make me a trade: my stew for your rights as the firstborn.” 32 Esau said, “I’m starving! What good is a birthright if I’m dead?” 33 Jacob said, “First, swear to me.” And he did it. On oath Esau traded away his rights as the firstborn. 34 Jacob gave him bread and the stew of lentils. He ate and drank, got up and left. That’s how Esau shrugged off his rights as the firstborn. MSG Genesis 25:29-34
The older brother Esau had it all. As the first born, the majority of the family wealth and leadership was automatically given to him. Who in their right mind would ever trade their future fortune and legacy for a bowl of soup? Why would he do that?
Here is why. The normal and healthy appetite became an unhealthy craving that lead him to disaster.
5 things you need to know about the appetites of your heart [Food, Sex, Money, Success, Fame, Pride, etc.]
- Appetites are given by God and distorted by sin and can become cravings. Example: It’s normal to eat but unhealthy to gorge. It’s normal to be married but unhealthy when you expect your spouse to give you only what God can give you. Sex is normal but outside of the way God created it, leads to tremendous pain.
- Appetites are never satisfied. Example: You will eat a Thanksgiving dinner and be hungry the next day.
- Appetites that have become cravings will always whisper, “Feed me NOW!”
- Appetites that have become cravings will rule over logic, your will and God’s law. It becomes this emotion that drives us into pain.
- Appetites that become cravings will destroy your future.
Who would sell their birthright for a bowl of soup? Esau did and so would you and so would I, under the right circumstances.
Who would ever earn 59 million a year and allow their appetitive to become a craving? Tiger Woods did and so would you and so would I, under the right circumstances.
Who would ever have a thriving acting career or ministry and allow their appetite to become a craving? Lindsey Lohan did, Jimmy Swaggart did and so would you and so would I, under the right circumstances.
How do I know? We are no different than Esau and the list of people I mentioned. We all have appetites. And in the right set of circumstances, our appetites become cravings and our cravings can ruin us. If you can’t see that, you don’t fully understand the power of the appetites in you.
That’s why God said, 9 “The human heart is most deceitful and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? 10 But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” NLT Jeremiah 17:9-10
Left to ourselves, our appetites turn into cravings and our cravings can destroy us.
How do we allow God to shape our lives? King David said it best when he prayed: 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. 24 Point out anything you find in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. TLB Psalms 139:23-24
We need to carve out time and space in our lives to allow God to shape us.
The prophet Isaiah said, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. NIV Isaiah 64:8
Question today: Who or what is shaping your life?
You were created by God. In creating you, He place a soul inside you. The only thing in life that will bring joy, peace and healing to your soul is when you carve out time and space to be with God.
The problem we have is we all grew up and we have learned how to do life without God. To us, it’s normal to jump into a day and never be with God.
The result of month after month, year after year of doing life without God. Life will hurt you. People will hurt you. Your sin will hurt you. As you live life, you accumulate all that hurt and sin and it tears us up inside. Let me share 15 indicators that that sin and hurt is tearing you up inside.
- Personal conversation with God and being with Him is infrequent/rare.
- In your relationship with God you most often experience shame, condemnation, a sense of being disqualified or unable to please him.
- Your walk with God is reduced to a focus on external behaviors [lists of do’s and don’ts] rather than the heart [desires, fears, emotions].
- Most of your Christian activity is done under pressure and guilt.
- You lose sight of the way things really are, you complain, dramatize or become a victim.
- You don’t see yourself as having a crucial role in God’s story.
- You no longer believe or live as if the world is at war.
- Life becomes exclusively routine, mundane… you live in a malaise or in a fog.
- Work or career is mostly drudgery.
- You have little passion for beauty or adventure.
- You rarely belly laugh or weep.
- Men are bored, have accepted or hidden addictions/habits [compulsive behaviors, excessive behaviors, pornography, anger, etc.].
- Women are too busy, have accepted or hidden addictions/habits [compulsive behaviors, excessive behaviors, volunteering, romance stories, etc.].
- You become preoccupied with… you, your needs, your desires, your wounds.
- The following emotions dominate your life: Inferior, insecure, inadequate, guilt, worry, doubt and fear.
Question today: Who or what is shaping your life? Is hurt, sin and guilt shaping your life?
Because it’s normal to do life without God, we live with this junk and grind through life day by day. We need God to clean out our souls but don’t know how to have God clean out our souls. Scripture says, Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh! …Then I can start this day sun-washed, scrubbed clean of the grime of sin. MSG Psalms 19:13 We want that but don’t know how to get that.
So what do we do to find joy, peace and healing? Our natural default setting is to do life without God. So like Esau and the list of people I mentioned earlier, we feed our appetites because that makes us feel good, for a period of time. As we feed our appetites, we discover our appetites grow and we feed them more and more. Our appetites become cravings and our cravings ruin us.
What Sam and I want to do for you, over the Christmas season, is give you the daily practical way to give God time to shape your heart. To give God time to clean the slate from sin, hurt and guilt. To give God the time to redeem your soul.
Because we have learned how to do life without God, we need to learn how to do life with God. Unless we make that start, we miss out on everything that God has for us. There are at least seven things, seven privileges, set aside for those who meet with God.
- We will never learn to enjoy God’s perspective on reality. Without it, we become selfish and lost in our small story.
- We will lack a life-giving friendship with Christ. Without it, we become lost people feeding our appetites and wondering why our cravings control us.
- We will lose the fear of accountability to God. Without it, we live life on our terms, that’s called being godless.
- We will lose the awareness that God is the center of the universe. Without it, we think we are bigger than who we really are.
- We forget our specialness and value to God. Without it, we live under constant lies that make us feel like we are not worthy of God.
- We have no margin or resolve when crisis moments hit our lives. Without it, we burn out, crumble and are smashed emotionally.
- We accumulate all the junk [sin, hurt, guilt, shame] and never dump it. We struggle to walk through life in spiritual freedom.
Question today: Who or what is shaping your life? Is your time with God shaping your life?
This week, everyday, OnTheCity, we will give you a two page lesson to walk through. It is specifically designed to help begin meeting with God daily. Giving Him time and space to shape you. Like a potter shaping clay, we give God time to shape us.
If you are accumulating junk, it will ruin you.
If God is shaping your life, it will heal you and redeem you.