The foundation to being a disciple of Jesus; is to be broken. That means we see our need of God.
The Bible says;
16 Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. 17 I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. MSG Psalms 51:16-17
It’s not about going through religious motions. It’s not about a flawless performance. Being a disciple of Christ is all about the heart. A pride shattered heart. Pride simply means, ‘I’m going to do it my way.’ A pride shattered heart means, ‘I’m going to do it God’s way.’
The reason a broken heart is so important is because when you see your need of God, when you are broken, you will follow God. If God tells you to forgive, you forgive. If God tells you to serve, you serve. If God tells you to give, you give. If God tells you to love your spouse, you love. The reverse is true too. If there is pride, the ‘I’m going to do it my way,’ in the heart, then you won’t follow God. If God says, forgive, serve, give, love, you won’t.
If you don’t see your need of God, you will probably struggle to follow God. Church, Religion, God stuff will be like going through the motions for you. Or, Church, Religion, God stuff will be about you trying to be perfect. Being broken is the foundation to the Christian faith.
Then we said, to begin following God, it requires faith because life is messy. The bible says,
2 Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. 3 For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. NLT James 1:2-4
Scripture tells us your faith will be tested. Trouble is coming. That’s why following Jesus requires faith.
That’s the foundation to being a disciple of Christ. A broken heart and faith. The first commitment we must make to be different is to love God. If we aren’t intentional about putting God in first place of our lives, we will become our own god and that leads to chaos.
If we are loving God, if we are intentional about putting God first in our lives, it will come out in our relationships. The second commitment we must make to be different is to love others. Why? Because if we aren’t loving people, we fall in love with ourselves. Let’s to go scripture. It paints a picture for us of what a life looks like when we are in love with ourselves.
14 Everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. 15 If you bite and ravage each other, watch out – in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?
16 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. 17 For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. 18 Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?
19 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; 20 trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; 21 the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on. MSG Galatians 5:14-21
Did you see that list? We must commit to be intentional about loving others because if we don’t, we will fall in love with ourselves and that always leads to chaos.
Did you see vs. 14?
Everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom.
I want to challenge you with something. Maybe the indicator of how mature you are; is found in your relationships. Maybe the indicator of how much God has impacted your life with His grace; is found in your relationships.
The struggle a lot of people have is; we compartmentalize. That means we think, we can put God stuff in one box and people stuff in another box. I can read the Bible, go to church, get information about God and put it in the God box. In my relationships, I continue to be selfish and controlling because that is in my people box and it has nothing to do with my God box. And the two boxes are never shared. If you live like that, it creates serious damage.
We damage ourselves because we never grow up. The way we grow up is to take God’s love and grace and apply it into our relationships at home, church and work. If God’s love and grace stays in the God box and isn’t applied into our relationships; it is reduced to knowledge. It helps no one. If we aren’t careful we can attend church but God stuff never leaves our God box. It never shows up I our people box. That damages us because maturity means, the love and grace that God shares with us, we share with others. If it doesn’t show up in our relationships at home, church or home we become people who are only nice to people who are nice to us. Jesus said,
If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. NLT Matthew 5:46-47
Not only do we damage ourselves, we damage most relationships we are in. We can view ourselves as very mature Christians because we have gone to church for 30 years and at the same time we deeply wound the people around us and we don’t see it. We continue to live in relationships as selfish and controlling and demand that everything go our way. If we don’t get what we want, people will pay. To get our way, we are controlling, we complain, we gossip, we withdraw, we manipulate. That’s why scripture painted a picture of what it looks like when we are in love with ourselves.
…repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community…
If you confront this person, there is normally a violent emotional response. They become easily hurt and will normally end the relationship badly. It’s like a bomb goes off. There is confrontation. There is a clear winner and loser. People have to choose sides. There are wounds that are never dealt with.
Not only will they end the relationship with you, they will get as many people as involved as they can. Because they didn’t get their way and because they are immature, they will get others involved. When the bomb goes off, there is shrapnel and it wounds everyone around them. And that’s exactly what they want.
I want you to think about this.
Maybe the indicator of how mature you are; isn’t about how many years you have gone to church or how much you know about God, maybe it’s found in your relationships.
Maybe God’s love for you is reduced to knowledge if you can’t take it out of the God box.
Maybe the indicator of how much God has impacted your life with His grace; is found in your relationships.
We cannot compartmentalize. We can’t have a God box and a people box. It doesn’t work that way. If God is first place in your life, if you are intentional about loving God, it will show up in your relationships.
Instead of: …repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; You can live in sexual purity and pursue intimacy.
Instead of: a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; You can live in peace.
Instead of: frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; You can be centered.
Instead of: trinket gods; magic-show religion; You can be free from horror scopes and junk like it.
Instead of: paranoid loneliness; You can live in a meaningful relationship with God.
Instead of: cutthroat competition; You can be competitive, but your identity isn’t in winning.
Instead of: all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; You can live in the freedom of contentment.
Instead of: a brutal temper; You can forgive and have a handle on why you are so angry.
Instead of: an impotence to love or be loved; You can tear down the walls you build to avoid pain.
Instead of: divided homes and divided lives; You can begin to work on healing relationships.
Instead of: small-minded and lopsided pursuits; You can focus on what matters: God, spouse, kids.
Instead of: the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; You aren’t insecure any more.
Instead of: uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; You can be free from the things that control you.
Instead of: ugly parodies of community. You can heal your community not wound it.
I want you to think about this. Maybe the indicator of how mature you are; isn’t about how many years you have gone to church or how much you know about God, maybe it’s found in your relationships. Maybe the indicator of how much God has impacted your life with His grace; is found in your relationships.
What does it look like to love others? Again, let’s go right to scripture.
1 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care – 2 then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. 3 Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. 4 Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
5 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. 6 He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. 7 Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! 8 Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death – and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion. MSG Philippians 2:1-8
That is unreal. Jesus was God and set aside the privilege of deity. Paul said, that’s the picture of how you should treat others.
Look at the relationships you have been in over the last ten years.
Did you walk away from friends, church, work?
Are there dead bodies all over because of you? The bomb went off and people still have shrapnel in them.
Do you view yourself as super mature but you find that you change friends, churches and business clients about every five to ten years?
Do you have a hard time entering the world of others?
Are you content only if you get what you want?
Are you easily hurt and everyone has to deal with the drama of it?
Do you withdraw, complain or manipulate to get your way?
Do you keep score?
Do you have to win all the time?
Do you gossip a lot?
What would those around you say about you; you are controlling or inspiring?
Maybe to grow up, you need to bring God into your relationships. Chances are, it’s going to be the hardest thing you have ever done. That’s okay. You are taking God into our relationships which means you might have to change. You might have to deal with some real issues in your heart. That’s normal.
Maybe this week, every person you meet, you think; “How do I forget myself long enough to bring out the best in you?”
Maybe you should be asking yourself if pride is blinding you.