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Watch 2022 online sermons » Andy Stanley » Andy Stanley - Free to See

Andy Stanley - Free to See


Andy Stanley - Free to See
TOPICS: Paper Walls, Freedom, Choices

So you may know the answer to this. I don't know. I should say I'm not sure when it is that we begin lying to ourselves. I think it's probably earlier than we imagine. And again, some of you may know the answer to this. I don't know when we stop lying to ourselves, it may coincide with our breathing. You know, it's like when we stop breathing, we finally stopped lying to ourselves and you know, it doesn't take long. I mean, by the time you're in middle school or high school, we get pretty good at catching other people when they're lying. But we're also good at catching ourselves when we're lying, not lying to other people. We're not so good at catching ourselves lying when we're lying to ourselves now lying to others.

And please don't misunderstand this lying to others is somewhat understandable. It's not excusable, but at least it's understandable. 'Cause you, people suddenly they just tell a lie to get out of a pinch or to save their self-esteem or their reputation. And there's sometimes it seems like there's some short-term short-term gain by lying. There's not long-term gain generally speaking. And so, lying is inexcusable, but at least it's understandable, but lying to ourselves. It lie to ourselves. Kind of makes me believe in total depravity because it's totally ridiculous. And it's confusing, lying to ourselves. I mean, how many selves do we have? I mean, who's lying to who right now, if you're listening to this thinking, well, Andy, I don't lie to myself, perhaps you just did. Okay.

So that's the point is like, I know. And the reason you did and you don't know about it is because you're really, really good at it. And we're all really good at it. And one of the reasons we're so good at deceiving ourselves, which is another way of saying lying to ourselves. One of the reasons we're so good at deceiving ourselves is we don't call the lies that we tell ourselves lives. We call them something else. We dignify them, right? We call them reasons. We have reasons which is reasonable. And we want to be reasonable because we don't want to be unreasonable because you work with somebody who is unreasonable. And perhaps you have some friends who, you don't want to be unreasonable.

So when we decide to do something, we know we shouldn't do or something that we know, there's probably another reason we're not doing other reason. We're actually doing it. Instead of, throwing our hands up in the air and say, I don't know why I did this. We come up with reasons. The reason, I was late to work is it was traffic. It was traffic. Now I did get up a little late and I did PIL around and I went down to Twitter, rabbit hole. Then I went down at Instagram rabbit hole and then I looked up and, oh my goodness. And but, but really the reason I'm late is traffic. I'm just going to stick with traffic because traffic is reasonable. Then I get to work late. And I say at a school traffic, the schools are back there. Like they'd been back for a month. I know, but in my area, I think the schools.

So we come up with reasons and then we believe these, right? The reason, right? The reason that you don't eat better. I mean, you have a reason and you have a reason in your mind, why you don't eat better, exercise more. You have a reason why you blow up. When somebody says certain things or she says certain things, or he says certain things, you lose your temper or you just kind of go all inside and kind of go nuclear, quiet. Like what's wrong? Nothing. What's wrong. Nothing. What's wrong. Nothing. Why do you do that? Well, you have a, you have a reason. You have a reason why you're leaving. You have a reason for why you're staying. I'll just let you fill in a blank. The, the reason I too much don't elbow anybody or say it out loud, but the reason you didn't and if I were to ask you, why do you so much? You, have a reason, but the reason you would give me, and more importantly to our conversation today, the reason you give yourself may not actually be the reason because the actual reason that you too much, maybe a secret, this is the crazy part, a secret that you're keeping from yourself.

I know to keep you from having to face the truth about yourself. It really is crazy. And we all do it. Instead of telling ourselves the truth, we just make up stuff. And that's what we've been talking about. We manufacture or we make up, or we create excuses and we disguise our excuses as reasons because we want to be reasonable. So maybe just, maybe here's where we're going today. Maybe we should call it not like it is. Maybe we should call it like other. See it because I hate to break it to you. The people around you and the people who know you, they know when you're lying. They know when you have lied to yourself and bought your own reason to make your own excuse and turned it in to a reason. They know when you're manufacturing excuses. And the reason I know that they know is because you know, when the people around you are doing it as well, and we think nobody's catching on to our excuses, that we've disguised as reasons they see our reasons for what they really are, excuses, paper walls.

So today we're in the third part of our series, Paper Walls: Moving Beyond The Excuses That Hold You Back, moving beyond excuses that hold you back. There are things we said that we should carry forward to season, to season in life things we should carry forward to year to year. Good habits, good friends. But there are things that we should definitely leave behind. And this entire series is about one of those things that we should all leave behind. Namely, our excuses, excuses, as we said, are like paper, walls from a distance. They look impenetrable from a distance. They look like they're actual obstacles from a distance. It looks like, Hey, the reason I can't move forward, the reason I can't stop the reason I don't start the reason I don't go back.

The reason, the reason, the reason, well, the reason as this, but as we get closer and as we get on this now with the people around us, as we get honest with ourselves, we realize that many, many, many of our reasons, aren't really reasons. They're just excuses. They're just paper walls. And they're paper walls that are holding us back. And then over as we've said, our excuses, and this is when you know that you got work to do, because you hear yourself, our excuses, they become our, because says these are the becauses that we retreat to.

When somebody confronts us, they'd be causes that we run to and hide behind when somebody brings it up, why don't you? Well, because, well, why haven't you will, because why do you always, because when she shows up, why do you, because when he shows up, why do you, because when those guys, why do you keep on doing that? Because why don't you start? Why don't you go back and finish? Because, because why don't you just forgive her? Because why don't you forgive him? Because why don't you just talk to them? Because we always have because, but this is the, come on. This is the truth. This isn't a religious thing to, regardless of what you think about God or religion, come on, this is a human thing. Sometimes our beacause, isn't the, cause our beacause is just an excuse, masquerading as a cause. And we all do this.

In fact, probably all of us have some of those that we're carrying around right now, too, in this series. Here's what we're asking. We're asking a big question and we have, we're approaching it from, sort of a Christian perspective and then just a kind of a common sense perspective. So just in general, here's the question we're asking. Is it possible? That is, would you be open to exploring? Is it possible that you are missing out in life because you've walled yourself in, is it possible that you are living behind a paper wall or paper walls that you have you explain and you've bought into personally and you've lied to yourself. You believe these really are actual obstacles that you can't move beyond, but they are walling you in and they are keeping other things and other people out opportunities out relationships out, better relationships out your physical health. Is it possible? Is it possible possible that you're hiding behind self-imposed lie, infested excuses and they're constructed of all kinds of things. They're constructed.

Sometimes with things people have said about us to us, things that people have called us when we were younger, the things that people have branded us, is it possible? Here's the big one. Is it possible that you've invented? That's what an excuses and we say, why are you making excuses? Why are you creating or inventing excuses? Is it possible that you have invented a reason? That's not a reason? Is it possible that you have invented an excuse for why you behave a certain way? Why you react the way you react, why you overreact react, the way you overreact and when you're confronted, or when people give you that look, or when you find yourself getting all wound up again, or going back into that dark cave again, and you just, you immediately defend it with your list of becauses. Is it possible that some of those reasons aren't the reason there's something else going on? Because if there's something else going on, there's something else on the other side of this that you are missing out on and the real dilemma or not the dilemma, the real, the real problem.

The thing that should really bother us is that over time, a single excuse can actually become a king in our life. A single excuse can become a tyrant, a single excuse. You can become the boss of you. And because our lives are not as compartmentalize as we think, okay, excuse excusing. One area of one health or excusing unhealth in one area of life often creates unhealthy and other areas of life that everything is fluid at all flows together. You can't compartmentalize and excuse and think, well, this is going to only affect this one arena of my life. Life isn't that way you life isn't, as you're not as compartmentalize as you think, excusing your overreaction, like when you blow up or lose your temper, you're like, well, the reason I lose my temper, the reason I lose my temper, the re it's impacting your relationships, right? It's not just one area excusing or making excuses financially, or making excuses in terms of taking care of your health. It impacts your credibility.

People hear you making excuses about your health or making excuses about your finances. And they draw conclusions about you. Your kids draw conclusions about you. Your kids know it. You're just making up reasons and trying to hide behind him. So it all flows together. So here's the problem. There is, perhaps in your life, a single excuse that you have lived a wall you've lived behind for so long, a single excuse you've made for so long. I mean, you just go there, your becauses, they just flow and you've convinced yourself. And it is impacting your entire life. And it is keeping you from moving forward, relationally forward, spiritually forward in terms of just personal growth forward financially, I don't know what it is. Is it possible? Is it possible that there's something that you've turned in to a reason?

That's actually just an excuse. And this is why we're talking about it in church. Because as we said in the first two sessions, the first two episodes of the series, if there is a relationship and this is huge. And if you're not a Christian person, this isn't for you, but just listen. This may explain your past dealings with people who are Christians or people who are church people. There is actually a relationship between our excuses and our not our willingness. There's a relationship between our excuses and our ability to follow Jesus. Because an excuse, can't be the king of your life. And Jesus be the king of your life. And excuse, can't be the Lord of your life. Excuses talk to his excuse to say, you can't go there. You can't talk to her. You can't forgive her. You can't forgive him. You can't, you should. You shouldn't, you can't, you should, you shouldn't.

Meanwhile, Jesus has invited you to follow him. And Jesus has come to be the king of your life, the king, that reverses things, the king that came to reverse the order of things. And he's invited you to follow. And you can't, I can't, we can't follow our excuses, make excuses Lord of our life and follow Jesus at the same time. And here's, what's so cool. This is what we're going to do today for a few minutes, when you follow Jesus through the gospels. And I mean, when you sit down and follow Jesus through Matthew, follow Jesus through Mark or Luke or John, when you follow Jesus through the gospels, do you know what you discover him doing?

When there's all these narratives, there's all these conversations. You find Jesus bringing light into dark places. He was constantly leading people out of darkness, their personal darkness into light. But the problem is we're going to discover today as well. Light can be terrifying. Light can be frightening. Light shown in our dark places can be threatening. It can be embarrassing. It's it's that it's that moment when you realize, okay, I really am afraid this whole time. I've I've had all these excuses for why I won't. Why should and couldn't and wouldn't start. The truth is I'm afraid. The truth is I'm just really insecure. The truth is I'm terrified of what I might feel. If I chose to move through and move past the excuses I've been giving for years, light can be terrifying, but light can be liberating. Just ask your AA friends or your a friends lies. Especially the ones that we tell ourselves. Those lies will always hold you back. They hold us back because they leave us in the dark.

And let me tell you how you can know for sure this is true because you see it in other people all the time. Isn't it true that you watch people at work. You watch people at home, maybe you're watching your kids right now in a difficult season, or maybe your husband and your wife. And here's what you think. But you're afraid to say, can't you see what you're doing to our marriage? Can't you see what your behavior is doing to your relationship with your son or your daughter? Can't you see what you're doing to your health? Can't you see what you're doing to your finances? Can't you see what you're doing to your academic career? Can't you see what you're doing to your reputation? That's the word we actually use in our mind then. And then when we talk about them, other people, they just can't see it. They just can't see it. They just can't see it. It's like they're wandering around in the darkness.

And if you have the opportunity or the courage or the relationship to sit down with them and say, Hey, I, maybe this is none of my business, but I wish you could see what you're doing to your husband. I wish you could see what you're doing to the people at work. I wish you could see how your behavior is re is, what your behavior is causing with your kids. I wish you could see it. And if you've ever had those conversations, they can't see it because they immediately run to there.

Well, the reason, the reason, the reason, the reason, and you know, those aren't reasons, those are excuses, but here's the thing. It'd be fine to talk about them. The rest of the time was true of them. It's true me. It's true of you. I can't see it. You can't see it. Other people see it about me and other people see it about you. And this is why when you follow Jesus through the gospels, He presents us with an invitation. We're going to get to a minute. That is so powerful. It's life changing. When you hear people Christians talk about, "Oh, it changed my life". This is what they're talking about. In fact, when you, if you think Jesus changed your life, this is what you talk about. Two lies will hold you back. The truth flip side is truth sets you free and how amazing this is amazing. How amazing is it? How amazing is it that 2000 years ago, this is the very point that we discover Jesus making. And he makes this very point right after he makes this, I don't know, kind of over the top statement about himself.

Here's here's where the conversation begins. Jesus is teaching John's, writing all this stuff down. Here's what Jesus says. This is so over the top, I am the light of the world who would say that? I mean, who says things like this? I am the light of the world. No wonder people just kind of smirked and shook their hand, walk off. You're the light of the world, right? But before we write them off, what if that's true? But what if Jesus think about it? What if Jesus really came to lead the people of this world and every generation, including you, including me? What if Jesus really came to lead us out of darkness, into light? What if he really came to light up your excuses and expose them for what they truly are so that you can become everything. God has called you to be everything he knows you to can be.

So you can reach your full potential. So you can get to the other side of this instead of living shut down and bogged down. And the things that you've told yourself, what if it's true? What if Jesus really is the light of the world? And then he says this, whoever follows me now in our churches, we use the terminology all the time. Few years ago, we changed our whole mission statement to make sure we're, this is front and center. That our mission is to inspire people, to follow Jesus. And the reason is this because Jesus has invited people not to just believe in him or believe things about him, but to follow or to say it another way, Jesus doesn't need any more admirers. Everybody admires Jesus, but admiring Jesus will make no difference in your life. More importantly, admiring Jesus will make no difference in the world. No difference in the community. No difference in your relationships, believing in Jesus will make no difference in the world. And no difference in your relationships, believing things about Jesus.

And this is why he's so direct. He says, I want you to follow me. And because of the invitation, we can almost guess what he says next. I mean, if he's the light of the world and he invites us to follow, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have with them always the lamp or the light of life. Jesus saying, look, I want to light up the dark places. I want to lead you through your paper walls. I want to expose the things that are keeping you back from fully engaging with your family, fully engaging with your potential, fully engaging or overcoming your fears and your insecurities. But for that to happen, it's not enough to sing songs about me. It's not enough to admire me. It's not enough to believe in me is not enough to, as in some intangible conceptual way, I trust you. He says, "You got to follow me because I'm taking you somewhere". And it was the men and women who followed Jesus that turned the world upside down. There was the men and women who follow Jesus, not just admire Jesus, who has shaped Western civilization.

Now, when he said, this is first century audience, there's all kinds of people there. And there's all these religious leaders taking notes, trying to trap Jesus. And John tells us that when he said this, the Pharisees challenged him and they said, "Ah, this is write him off here". You are. Because you know, here you are appearing as your own witness. Your testimony is not valid. You're claiming things about yourself and you can't claim things about yourself. There's no way to prove that you're not the light of the world. Folks this guy is crazy, but the crowd didn't leave because they suspected something about Jesus. Later in that same conversation, he says, this is so powerful. He says, "If you hold to my teaching, this is conditional".

What's going to follow. It's a conditional clause. If you remain in my teaching, if you focus on embrace, if you organize your life around my teaching, if you will do what I am teaching you to do then, and only then you are really my disciples or my learners or my followers. And if you will do what I ask you to do, and if you will embrace what I've asked you to embrace, if you will follow my teaching, that means you're my follower. And then, and only then, then you'll know the truth. Then you'll recognize what's true. Then you'll quit making excuses. Then you'll quit rationalizing. Then you'll quit resisting. Then you'll receive. And when you know the truth, when you have that aha moment, when you have that, oh my goodness, my whole life, I have been hiding behind these becauses and they're not even real reasons. They're just, paper walls. He says, "In that moment, if you'll follow me and you become my disciple, you're going to know the truth, and the truth will set you free".

It will set you free to ready for this, to see yourself the way God sees you to see your potential, the way God sees your potential to see your family, the way that God sees your family to see God, the way that God really is blessed are the pure in heart. Jesus was, I love this verse. Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are the pure in heart. That is the people that have gotten rid of all the darkness, gotten rid of all the deceits, bless it. Or they're pure in heart for they shall ready for this. They shall see there. It is again. They shall see God. Jesus says, "I'm the light of the world". And I'm not in some just big intangible, a theory away. I want to be the light of your world. This is why we know it. It was personal. He said, because I'm the light of the world. But the only people who benefit, the only people who are able to take advantage of my light is not the people who've heard me speak or the people who admire me. It's the people that made the decision to follow me. And if you follow me, you will discover the truth and the truth will set you free and you will begin to see your paper walls for exactly what they are.

And do you know how his audience then responds to this amazing statement? They began making excuses. It's unbelievable. Here's what the Pharisees and the teachers of the loss they 'cause they're trying to make sure that people don't follow Jesus. They answered him, "What be free. You're going to set us free. We are Abraham's descendants. We have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say we shall be set free? You can't set us free with it. There's nothing to set us free from". Now this is ridiculous. Okay. When they say this, they currently in that moment had a Roman governor, Roman governor, who's your governor pilot. Okay. But you don't think you're a slaves. No are not slaves before the Romans was a solicitor, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Egyptians, it goes on and on and on. In fact this is kind of fun.

Fact Deuteronomy is a speech basically that Moses gave to the people right before he died, before they went into the Promised Land and the Torah, the law, the Torah was way ahead of its time. I mean, we look back anachronistically and kind of make fun of some of the stuff in the old says, listen, the God's law to the Jewish people and ancient Jewish people, it was so far ahead of its time. And one of the stipulations, which makes this statement, they makes so ridiculous. Moses told the people on God's behalf. He said, "Look, when it comes to how you treat your slaves, treat your slaves kindly I'm paraphrasing, because remember you were once slaves yourself in Egypt". So the whole idea of these people say, "Oh, we've never been slaves to anyone". It's just so ridiculous. And it's easy to criticize, but we are often equally as guilty. I mean, when I come along and say, you're a slave to your excuses, you're a prisoner to your excuses. You are walled in you sit here and you think not me, not me.

If somebody implies that, this is true of you. I mean, we all just want to fold arms. As we event, we just start making excuses. And we're tempted to say what they say. So let me, if we were sitting here, here's how we would say no, Jesus, I've never been a slave of anyone or anything. That's how we feel. I've never been a slave of anyone. I've never been a slave. If anything, Jesus, what do you mean? You're going to set me free, set me free from what? And I think Jesus would respond to me and to you the same way he responded to his original audience when they said, oh, we've never been slaves of anything or anyone. Jesus smiles. Maybe he chuckled. He's like, really? They're like, "Nah, we don't need to be free". He says very truly.

Instead of reading them, their history, their national history, he reads them, their personal history. Very I truly, I tell you, everyone is sends is a slave of sin. Everyone has, sins is a slave of sin. And they're like, wait, why are we talking about sin? Anyone whose sins as a slave to sin in other words is what he's saying. Is this, do you ever do what you ought not do? Yeah. And then you regret doing what you did. Yeah. Then you get upset with you because you did something you knew you shouldn't do. Yeah. And you say to yourself, I can't believe I did that. Yeah. Well, who made you did that? And why did you did that again? And why have you been dating that? I mean, what's wrong with you? Little sounds like you're a slave to me. And they're like, "Oh, well, I mean, there's that"?

And Jesus going, that's my point. You have deceived yourself into thinking you are far more free than you actually are because you hide behind your excuses. And Jesus says, "I'm the light of the world. And I'm inviting you. I'm not going to force you. I'm inviting you to bigger and better way of living". Then after a couple of comments about his real unique relationship with the father, he concludes this way. He says this. So talking about himself, if you follow me, if you embrace my teaching and you allow me to set you free. If the son sets you free, if you allow me to light up the lies, you've believed you will be free indeed. You will actually be free. You will be free to recognize your paper walls for what they are. And you will be free to move forward in life to the life that God has called you to live. Because following Jesus will make your life better. And following Jesus will make you better at life because he's the light of the world. And he's come to light up all of our personal darkness.

And here's the thing. Whether you believe Jesus is the Son of God or not following Jesus will make your life better and he will light up your life. It's true. In fact, every single first century person, every single person in the first century that chose to follow Jesus, they did not believe he was the Son of God. And they followed him anywhere. Anyway, in fact, everybody who followed Jesus, this is so interesting. Everybody who followed Jesus when he was arrested, they unfollowed unfollow. Not doing that. Nope, no I've got to go. Then they do the gospels. Tell us they write it into the story. They write themselves in his coward that when Jesus was arrested, the Garden of Eden, the followers were like, oh my goodness, no, we're following. No they weren't following. They were fleeing unfollow out of here. Nobody chose to follow Jesus as the Son of God, until after the resurrection, the invitation to you today, regardless of where you are on the spectrum of faith, would you lean in and would you choose to follow Jesus?

And he's going to lead you to the freedom, to where you can acknowledge your fear and your insecurity. You'll be free to see what the people around you wish you could see that you genuinely can't see. And most importantly, you will be free and I will be free to engage. So here's the problem. We talked about this the first week, our excuses are excuses, excuse us, from engaging with others. In other ways, it's always saying that is this paper walls make you small, paper walls give you excuses. In fact, they paper, walls, excuse you from loving other people as well. Let me prove this to you again. Let's just turn it around and look at it from a different perspective. This is so important. Isn't it true that the people who hurt you, isn't it true that the person who mistreated you, isn't it true that the person who lied to you, who left you, who abandoned you? Isn't it true to the person that stole your idea? Isn't it true of the person that stole that opportunity? Isn't it for two that every single person who has ever hurt you or mistreated you, isn't it true that every single one of them had a reason for what they did?

Yeah. Every single one of them manufactured an excuse for what they did. Every single one of them. None of them said, "I have no idea why I treated you that, oh, I have no idea that," no, they all had a reason and they couldn't see it. Their paper walls resulted in you being mistreated. And one of the most frustrating things in your life, perhaps that you've had to carry is that they never saw it. So they never apologized and they never owned it. And the reason they never owned it and the reason they never came clean with you is they really genuinely can't see it because they've created a paper wall and they've lived behind it. And they've defended the way they've mistreated you or mistreated your husband or wife or one of your children. So here's the question you want to be like that. Do you want to be like that? Do you want there to be people in the world who have been so hurt by you?

And when it comes to mind, you're like, well, of course I did that. Of course I said that, of course I respond to that way. Of course I lost my temper. Of course I took that. Of course, of course, of course. And they're locked down because you can't see, and this is why this is such a big deal for everyone. But it is a really, really big deal for any of us who said that we're Jesus followers and claim Jesus as their savior, because we may unintentionally hurt people because of our paper walls. Because paper walls make you small. They make you self-centered. They make you self. They make you preoccupied with what's yours. What you what's owed to you, how you feel, how they are, how something makes you feel. They enslave us to our self-centeredness. You paid when they did that to you. You don't want anybody else to pay because you're unwilling to see here.

Here's something that should scare you into activity. If you, can't see that you're wrong, you'll be wrong your entire life. If you can't see why can't she see why can't he see if only he could see if only she could see coming back to you. If you can't see if you are unable, if you never get to the place where you can see what you currently can't see where you there's. If you never get to the place where it's something lights up, the lie that you've believed about yourself or the inaccuracy, you could be wrong your entire life, which means you could excuse your whole life away. You could excuse that bad habit away, your health away, your family away, your peace away. You can excuse your faith away, but there's a better way.

Jesus said, "I'm the better way, I am the way, I am the truth. And that's why I am the life". In fact, in the first century, you know this, they called it the way because Jesus invites us out of darkness, into light. "I am the light of the world". He said, "Whoever follows me, gets up every day and says, yes, where are we going? What are we doing? What do we need to change? Who do I need to call? Who do I need to forgive? Who do I need to, who do I need to contact? I'm the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life". Do you know what? This looks like? It looks like this. I see what's wrong with him, but I'm going to begin by looking in the mirror to see what's wrong with me. I see the speck in her eye. Hmm. I wonder if there's a log in mind. I am not going to, because my way through this, I'm gonna ask Jesus to expose what needs to change in me. I'm to begin with me. I'm not gonna hide behind, but look what she did and look what he did.

Did you hear what she said? Did you hear what he said? I am excused from any kind of character. I am excused from being like Jesus. And this situation, Jesus says, follow me. We're going through, you know what? It looks like. It looks like forgive. You have a thousand reasons not to forgive. You have a thousand reasons to hang onto your anger. Jesus has come up. We are going through, you are not going to sit back here and suffer because of the bitterness that eats you up from the inside. Follow me. We're going through as I forgave you, you forgive them. Let's go. I'm not going to call him. Oh yes you are. No, no, no. It was his fault. I know, but you're going to initiate reconciliation now. No, I'm not. Oh yes, you are following me because see, I am the savior who came into the world, a sinful world to initiate reconciliation with a rebel race. This is what I do. And if you're going to follow me, then we are going to initiate reconciliation. Even though it was their fault and you're going to be free and you're going to admit, you're really afraid.

And you're going to admit, you're really insecure and that's okay. It'll be terrifying. And you'll be free. Isn't that? How you want to live? Isn't that how we all want to live? Does that make the world a better place following Jesus? Not believing in, not respecting, not admiring again. Jesus has all the admirers he needs. You want to change the world. You want to leave a, make a dent, then you follow and you allow them to light up your life. And it's horrifying, terrifying, liberating. And on the other side of all this mess, you're a better person. And you're in a better position to make the world a better place. So one more time. Is it possible? You're missing out because you've called yourself in, is it possible? Come on dads. Is it possible? You started shutting your kids out, your wife out moms. Is it possible? You started shutting him out and you know what? If I were to ask you, why do you do that? Why do you say that you got a thousand reasons, but maybe they're just excuses and maybe it's time to move beyond that.

So here's, Jesus' invitation. It's so powerful. And again, regardless of what you, where you think Jesus falls on the God, not God savior spectrum. I mean, again, he invited all kinds of people. Gays extended this invitation to all kinds of people. It's the starting place. If you hold to my teaching, then you really are my disciple. And you're going to know the truth, whether you like it or not, I'm taking you there and it will be terrifying and it'll be uncomfortable and you'll have to have some conversations you never imagined having. And on the other side of them, you will be free follow Jesus and you'll be free to see you'll be free to be the husband, the father, the employer, employee, the son, the daughter, the grandparent, the citizen, the God's called you and set you up to be.

Now, if all that sounds like preacher talk, I get it. You're not alone. When Jesus is amazing. When Jesus wrapped up this whole conversation, they picked up stones to stone him because we get used to this don't we, because I don't want to forgive. And I don't want to focus on what's in my, I want to focus on what's in hers and hers and I don't want to love them. And I don't want to have to serve them. I, you know what? Let's just stone, the light of the world. So I can remain safely, comfortably in the dark. I love this. They picked up stones to stone, him and he slipped away only to return another day to give his life away because he's the light and the life of the world. Is it possible that you're missing out because you've called yourself in, is it possible, just possible that you are disguising excuses as reasons. And are you willing to admit what you've come to suspect that they are just paper walls?

Every time you tell your story, the people who tell your story to go, oh yeah, you're justified, but there's something in you. It's like, I think there's something more, I don't know when we begin lying to ourselves, but we all do it. Jesus invites you by it's all of us to leave our fact free excuses behind and to face up to and embrace the terrifying, but liberating truth about ourselves. Our interior lives, our attitudes, our fears, our insecurities, our past. And He says, "If you will allow me to set you free," I love this. "You will be free in deed". You know what that means. That means no matter what anybody else does to you. And regardless of how anybody else treats you, they will never force you to live behind paper walls, because you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. And we will pick it up right there next week, as we conclude the series, Paper Walls: Moving Beyond The Excuses That Hold You Back.
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