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Andy Stanley - If God is for Us

Andy Stanley - If God is for Us
TOPICS: Reactions Speak Louder Than Words

So if you've been with us, this will make sense, if not, I'll catch you up in just a second, but we continue to get these amazing over-underreaction stories from people in our congregations who are trying to apply this at home. So I just wanted to read you one more because it's amazing. "I took my oldest son to the dentist this afternoon", so recent, "For a routine cleaning, a six month checkup for my son who is not known for excellent oral hygiene. When he had finished, the dental hygienist gently informed me my son has seven cavities". This is exactly how she wrote it. Capital letters, seven. "I took a deep breath as they showed me the cost that was coming". This was an expensive illustration of irresponsibility is what she's saying. "As we walked to the car, all I could think was over-underreact, over-underreact, over-underreact, over-underreact". Good for you, mom, I just think that that's amazing, right? Then we got in the car and because she was ready, you know, "I got in the car and I calmly said, well, what do you think about that"?

Now I gotta pause right here, this is a great parenting moment. Because at some point in our parenting, you just have to kind of shovel it back their way, like, what do you think about this? I mean, before I, you know, explode, and you know, you're gonna wanna walk home, but let's just put this, this was so brilliant, what do you think about that? "My son calmly replied, I got a wake up call". Isn't that great? I just think that's great parenting and I'm so happy that this message series could be a small part of it. The over under reaction. So let's give her a hand, I don't know who you are, I don't even know what campus you go to. That's amazing. So I saw a tweet this week, a lot of people have given up on Twitter, but I like Twitter. I meet so many people, I have interesting conversations with people from all over the world, it's fascinating.

And so I saw this tweet this week, 'cause I follow all kinds of people, and it wasn't directed at us and it wasn't directed at me, but it reflects what a lot of people and culture think, and the way a lot of people in our culture feel toward the church. So I thought we would just start with this, and maybe you can relate to this. In fact, this may be the only thing you've ever been able to relate to in church before, so we do have some common ground. Here's what the tweet said. "Before you demand Christianity be taught in schools, maybe you should demand it be taught in churches". Right? And I assume they're talking about, you know, prayer in schools, I don't know exactly what they're talking about on the top half of this, but this is a sentiment, "Before you demand Christianity be taught in schools", before you kind of cram this down our throats, "Perhaps or maybe you should demand that it be taught in churches".

So if you're not a Christian or you're not a religious person, one of the reasons it's difficult, and I'm kinda reading your mind a little bit, so maybe you don't agree with this. One of the reasons that it's difficult for you to take us seriously is you wonder at times if we take our own faith all that seriously. So no wonder you can't take us seriously, you look at the way we live and the way that we respond to certain things, and specifically the way that we react, right? The way we react. The way that Christians oftentimes react to events, the way we react to circumstances, the way we react or have reacted to certain kinds of people, or maybe the way a Christian reacted to you, or maybe the way a Christian or the church reacted to someone that you love. And consequently, because of the way we react, you wonder, do you even believe this stuff? Or maybe the way that we react when we don't get our way? Which leaves you with the impression that perhaps for us religion, and Christianity in particular, that Christianity is just a tool that we use to get our way until it gets in our way, and then we push it out of the way, and we just react like everybody else, we just have chapter and verse and throw Jesus' name in there somewhere, right?

Now, what happens is it looks as if we are living our lives and reacting in such a way that we don't really believe in God. And why you quickly call us hypocrites, and we've certainly earned it at some level, is because we don't always react like we really believe in a sovereign, powerful God, and this is the same God that you feel like we insist that you believe in. I mean, after all, we're the ones that are always saying, God is love, God is love, God is love. And of course, at times you wonder for the love, right? You know, where is the love? So if that's been your experience with Christians, or with Christianity, or with the church, I'm terribly sorry about that, and that is on us. And I don't speak for anybody but myself and our local churches, but that we're terribly sorry about that. Because Jesus instructed us to be better than that, and Jesus instructed us to react better than that.

And my hope is that if that's you, if you're listening, or watching, or maybe you're in one of our churches today, I hope that you would find the ability, and this would be hard if I were, I understand, to overlook some of us who have so poorly represented our savior and to discover the Jesus of the gospels, to follow Jesus to the gospels, the Jesus that came to reveal what God is like, and who God likes, and how to relate to your Father in heaven. And in the meantime, the rest of us Christians, we are working on the art of the over-underreaction. We're developing our over-underreaction skills, the art of reacting to life, and the circumstances of life, and the criticism that comes our way, as if there really is a sovereign God in whom we place our trust.

So today we are wrapping up our series, this is part three of Reactions Speak Louder Than Words. We've all heard that actions speak louder than words, but reactions speak louder than words, and reactions even speak louder than our actions. In fact, reactions speak so loudly that people always notice. And people generally notice, as we said last time, two kinds of reactions. There's the over-reaction, we've all been on the receiving end of that, some of us have been on the guilty end of that, and all of us have paused at work, or at home, or somewhere to watch an overreaction unfold or in some cases just unravel. But the second type of reaction that gets people's attention is what we're calling the over-underreaction.

So if you haven't been with us, here's what we mean by the over-underreaction, it's just a term that we've coined, we just made this up. The over-underreaction is this, it's an unexpected. counterintuitive, remarkable reaction. An unexpected, counterintuitive, remarkable reaction to disappointment, hurt, loss, rejection, unmet expectations, criticism, anything that's negative that comes our way. It's a reaction that causes people to stop and wonder like, why isn't she angry? I mean, she should be angry and she's not angry. He should be so bitter after the way they treated him, and he's not bitter. They should be broadcasting their grievances after what happened to them, and they're not broadcasting their grievances.

You know what? She should hope he fails, in fact, she should facilitate his failure, ensure his failure, and then once he fails, she should celebrate his failure, and she's not. Wait, he showed up for her after the way she treated him? Oh wait, wait, he actually helped them after they hurt him? What's up with these people? It's the over-underreaction is so uncommon, and yet Jesus says, he's so clear about this in the Sermon of the Mount, Jesus is so clear that the over-underreaction should characterize the life of the people who claim to be his followers, that the over under reaction should be the habit of our lives that should characterize our lifestyles.

We are to view criticism, Jesus said this, week one, Jesus said you should view criticism, rejection, hurt, disappointment as opportunities to react in such a way that it reflects God's reaction to you in spite of your sin, and in spite of your broken promises, and in spite of your wandering wayward ways. That our reactions to other people and our reactions to negative circumstances in particular should reflect God's reactions to us, not react to people the way they deserve to be reacted to. This is what it means, this is what it looks like to follow Jesus, because reactions speak louder than words and reactions get people's attention. And also he said, disappointment and hurt in your life, this is also an opportunity to react in a way that communicates to the point of how we begin our time today, that communicates your confidence in God.

So last week I asked you this horrible question, I said, how do your reactions or what do your reactions to negative things in life say about your confidence in God? This is a question we should ask all the time. What do my reactions to the negative events, and circumstances, and the criticism, the disappointments in life, what do my reactions say about my personal confidence in God? And if my reactions do not reflect confidence in God, I have work to do, and no wonder other people don't take my faith seriously, or don't take us seriously. But as we saw last week as well, Jesus didn't just instruct us to do this, Jesus modeled this. Peter who was there for all the events of the life of Jesus earthly ministry, or just about all of them said this, talking about Jesus, and he was there for this, he didn't read this, okay, he experienced this, these are his words.

Peter says, "When they", the people who crucified Jesus, and mistried him, and accused him of all kinds of things. "When they hurled their insults at him, he didn't retaliate". He didn't return evil for evil, he didn't respond in like kind, he did not react the way that anybody else would've reacted. He didn't react in the way people would expect someone in his circumstances to react. "When they hurled their insult at him, he did not retaliate. When he suffered, he made no threats". He didn't say I'm coming for you. I'm gonna haunt you in my dreams. You know, wait till I tell my Father. I mean, that means a lot when Jesus says it, you wait till I tell my dad, okay? You know that, that means a little bit when most of us say that, when Jesus says, I'm telling my dad, that's like a big deal, right?

And Peter says, at that point I wasn't sure who he was, but he was not just a man, he was some kind of superman because he did not react the way any average person would've reacted under these circumstances. "He made no threats, instead", and then if you remember, if you were here last time, Peter gives us a clue. Here's our clue, here's our peak behind the curtain, here's the perspective that we are invited to embrace as we live our lives in this world that's so inconsistent and that every day is different than the day before, and we never know what's gonna happen, and we never know what's gonna happen again. Here's the perspective that empowers the over-underreaction. Peter says, this is what Jesus did. And then when you follow Peter and the disciples after the resurrection, we find that this was the perspective they embraced as well.

In fact, the first century, second century, third century church that was persecuted, this was the perspective they maintained. To some extent, this is why we're here, this is why Christianity, to some extent, even survived the first two centuries. "Instead, Jesus entrusted himself", to God, his Father "Who judges justly". That essentially literally what this means is that Jesus, in those moments, when things were 100% negative, he gave himself over to his Heavenly Father and said, Heavenly Father, you are responsible for outcomes, not me. I've done what you asked me to do, and the outcome is up to you. I've simply done what you've called and asked me to do, the outcome is up to you. Then the apostle Paul comes along and he echoes the same idea, and I wanna read you something he said, but real quick, anytime I mention Paul, I always mention a little bit of his background, because if you're not familiar with the Bible, the way we view the Bible sometimes is so unfortunate, because we missed the fact that these were real people with real lives.

They got hungry, I mean, most of their days aren't recorded, they just had average, you know, run of the mill days, like so many of the rest of us. But in some unusual way, God used them to piece together the message of the gospel to get it to the rest of the world. And the apostle Paul was a key figure in that. In fact, the apostle Paul's words, really, no exaggeration, shaped Western civilization because the apostle Paul took the words of Jesus and then contextualized them for non-Jewish people and traveled all around the Mediterranean rim, the Mediterranean basin at a time when it was expensive and it was dangerous to travel, speaking these words of Jesus and speaking dignity into the lives of women, and dignity into the lives of children, and putting people on an equal playing field because, you know, from God's perspective, all have sinned and fallen short, and yet God send his son to die for all of mankind and womankind.

I mean, it was remarkable what he taught. But as you know, but it's worth remembering, especially if you're not a Christian or not a religious person, that when the apostle Paul steps onto the pages of history, he's not a Jesus follower, he is not a Christian. In fact, he's anti-Christian. You might not like Christians, Paul's your guy. I mean, that's how he steps onto the pages of history. Like these people are crazy, they're hijacking Judaism, they're hijacking the Torah, and they're twisting it, and they're using it for their own purposes. And so he decides, in a violent way, he's gonna to exterminate the church, it's amazing. And then he meets the resurrected Jesus and his life is totally transformed. And when his life is totally transformed, he loses 100% of his friends. All of them, everybody turns on him.

And the church people are scared of him because he's been persecuting, and having them arrested, and their wives arrested, and their family and people tortured, I mean, he's all alone. And then he leaves what's familiar, you know, Judea and Galilee, and travels all around the Greek world, meeting new people and sharing the good news of Jesus. And then at the end, I'm summarizing the book of Acts for you, he shows back up in Jerusalem, and they should have welcomed him as a hero, he's like the first missionary, really the first church planter. He has risked his life, he's got scars, he's been beaten up and stoned, he's been shipwrecked, got bit by a poison of snake. I mean, it's all negative. He gets back to Jerusalem, instead of the church welcoming him, they're like, hey, we're glad you're back, and thanks for bringing this money, 'cause he brought in this big offering, he collected this offering from all these Gentiles. He gets back and they're like, you know, your reputation's kind of trashed here. I mean, it's so horrible, he ends up getting arrested and ends up in Rome.

So when I read what he says, he's not propped up on the beach somewhere, I'm writing the Bible. Hey, let's all write the Bible. No, no, no. His life has been hell on steroids, I mean, it's been unbelievable. And yet, with all that experience, all the rejection, all the frustration, all the disappointment, it says something to you and says something to me that's extraordinary, and he believed it with all his heart, and when it gets from our heads to our hearts, it changes everything. It's exactly why Jesus was so courageous and bold to say what he said in the Sermon on the Mont about how we react to negative circumstances. Here's what Paul writes, and for most of us, we've heard these words before.

I want you to try to hear them as if you're hearing them for the first time. Here's what he says, "And we know", as Paul writes, we not just him. "And we know", he's writing to Christians in Rome, and he's not been to Rome yet, he wants to get there, he ends up getting there, not the way he thought he'd get there, but he's writing these Christians in Rome. "And we know that in all things God works". Should we go, okay, time out, all things? Like, even in those things? Even in those things that did not work out? Are you saying everything works out? Paul's saying no, I'm not saying everything works out. I'm just saying that in all things God works. But what about this thing, what about that thing, what about this other thing?

And Paul's like, well, let me tell you about my thing, okay? And when Paul finishes telling you and me about his thing, which he does, from Acts 7 on it's like, oh yeah, I thought I had a problem till I read your story. Paul's going, I know, I know what I'm talking about. That in all things, the disappointing things, the surprise things, the you gotta be kidding me things, God works. And Paul would say, and this is why you always caught me over-underreacting to my critics. "In all things God works for the good of those who love him".

Now, see, we read, love him, it's like, oh yeah, I love God, I love God, love God. I don't know about Christianity and church, but I love God. That's not what Paul's talking about. Paul's talking about the man or woman who has done what Jesus did, who has entrusted their lives to their Heavenly Father. He's talking about the person who's made the decision, you know what, I'm gonna live my life as if I'm actually confident that God is with me and for me. And Paul says, when you step into that realm, when you embrace that perspective and you decide to stay there, then you can stay there with this confidence that your Heavenly Father is working through all things, the things you would choose, the things you would unchoose, and the things that are so bad you would not even choose them for someone that you don't like.

But here's the catch, right, let's just be honest. How do we know that? Paul says, we know, like we all know, we're like, wait, you're going too fast, we don't know that, okay, how do we know that? Because if I knew that God really was at work, that would help me a lot. I mean, that would give me the perspective I would need. How do we know that? And Paul would say, I'm gonna get to that in just a few verses, hang with me. And then a few verses later, he says this on his way to helping us understand how we can know that for sure. And this next part, I'm telling you, if you incorporate this into your prayer life, you incorporate this into the way that you live, the way that I live, this is such a game changer because it's like Paul knows the tension and the angst around trying to live this way to entrust ourselves to our Father in heaven, so that when I'm mistreated, and life doesn't go my way, and people don't give me my fair share, and they walk in and they say, we don't need you anymore, and suddenly, you know, all those kinds of things.

How can I wake up every day and believe that God is at work? And he says, well, here's what I want you to do, here's how you begin moving in that direction. He asks a question, I love this. He says, so if God is at work in all things and all things aren't good things, "What shall we say then"? This is amazing. "What, then, shall we say in response", there's our word, reaction. "What, then, shall we say in response to these things"? In other words, how should we react? How should we respond to which things? He would say, well, all things, because God is working through all things, even the disappointing things, the out of left field things, the now what, not again things. And then what he says next is so amazing, what he says next really could be a game changer for many of us. He tells us how to steel ourselves or how to prepare ourselves for an over-underreaction. He says in the moment when you get that news, when she walks in with that attitude, when he walks back in and now you're gonna have that hard conversation.

When you read the email, you get the letter, or you don't get the letter, in those moments, Paul says, you should pause and ask this question, like literally ask it. Look what he says, "What, then, shall we say"? what then shall we say? He says, I'm giving you exactly what you should say in those moments. Maybe out loud or certainly in your heart, here's what he says we should say. Ready for this? You've heard this before, but maybe not in this context, what shall we say to all these things? "If God is for us, who can be against us"? "If God is for us, who can be against this"? If God is for us then who or what can really be against us?

Now, I want us to practice this out loud, I'm gonna change the pronoun, okay? So I'm gonna change the pronoun, so we make it personal. But here's what I want us to do, at all of our churches, if you're driving and watching and listening, or maybe you're sitting with a group of people, and this is gonna feel kind of weird to talk out loud, 'cause there's just three of you, I just want you to do it anyway, if you're by yourself. I want you to hear yourself say this, because this is the key, this is the perspective, this is the pause and ask, this is the how do I get to the next moment without losing my mind, or losing my reputation, or losing any hope of ever working here again, or losing my relationship with my husband, or wife, or my son, or my father, or my mom, okay? So I'll say it, then you say it: "If God is for me. Who can be against me"? One more time, "If God is for me. Who can be against me"?

Now imagine, I'm just telling you what Paul said to do, okay? And you've got some tough things you're dealing with, I know. Paul had some tough things, and Paul wouldn't say this unless he knew it, again, he's just repeating in his own way what Jesus taught. But imagine before reacting to, pausing to, say that to disappointment, and heartbreak, and surprise, and rejection, and unmet expectations. Imagine pausing in the moment under your breath to say, but if God is for me, who can be against me? But if God is for me, they're not for me, but if God is for me. Paul says, this is what we say to these things. But that brings us back to the question we skipped, if God is for us, again, how do we know? Because a lot of times it doesn't look like God is for us, right?

In fact, a lot of the time, in fact, you may be in a season, it hasn't looked like God is for you or anything's working for you in a long, long time, months, maybe years, maybe you're in the rough, rough, rough spot of a marriage, a rough spot with your career, you've got a prodigal son or a prodigal daughter, or you kind of maybe you've got a son or daughter, if you would just run away from home for two weeks and come back, I need a break. Okay, I don't want you to run away permanently, but we need some relief, so could you just temporarily run, or I'm gonna run away from home, because I don't know what to do with this tension, right? It doesn't look like or feel like God is for you.

But again, before we, you know, bail on the whole idea, we're gonna talk about that in just a minute, follow the apostle Paul through Acts from Acts 7 to where he ends up in Rome, it's like, where is God? Follow Jesus from Galilee through Samaria to Jerusalem on his final destination, you know his date with destiny in Jerusalem, follow Jesus through his trials and ask the question, but where is God? Same question. And Paul knew we would ask it. So he tells us how we know. He says, "If God is for us, who can be against us"? And then he says, he, talking about God, "He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all". This is so important, it sounds a little Sunday school, but it's so important, it's so true, The cross. The cross is how we know God is for us, the cross is how you know that God is for you. And you know what, while we're on this, this is the reason, and of course you would expect me to say this, 'cause you know, of what I do in my role, right, but I'm gonna say it anyway because it's true.

This is one of the main reasons we gather, this is one of the main reasons we gather physically, this is one of the main reasons you've got to find a place to gather with other believers, consuming content is not enough, singing songs is not enough, this is why we gather, the reason the early church gathered, the reason we gather is to remind ourselves corporately that there's more to this life than what we see and that we are not alone and that we are not the only ones. And that life is not perfect, but God is perfect, and life is not lovely, but God is love. And it's in gathering and hearing stories and experiencing the fellowship among men and women who are experiencing the difficulties of life, that have found a way to allow their confidence in God to give them the strength to keep ongoing.

This is such a critical part of the Christian experience, because the death and resurrection of Jesus is a Bible story for so many of us. The death and resurrection of Jesus is something that happened long ago, if you believe it happened at all. And yet Paul says, no, it is dynamic, it is an every single day reminder of the fact that God loves you, that God is for you, that God has not abandoned you, and even though life is not lovely, God loved you so much that he gave what was most valuable to him on your behalf. He reacted to your sin, not in like kind. He reacted to your broken promises, not in like kind. He reacted to your failure and my failure by loving us any way.

And Paul said, on those dark days, dark days for him being in jail, dark days for him being in a hole in the ground, dark days for him being shipwrecked, and stoned, and abandoned by his friends, on those dark days, Paul would tell you, you know what my hope was in? Not the goodness of life, the goodness of God, as demonstrated by the fact that God did not spare his own son, but he gave him freely to me in spite of me. And then he finishes it this way, "If he who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also along with Jesus, graciously give us all things"? Better translation, "Graciously give us everything else"? Everything associated with the unconditional love of God, and Paul enumerates these throughout the book of Romans, adoption into the family, Jesus said we can do this, and Paul explains why we can do this. Jesus invited us to refer to God as our Heavenly Father. All these other things, that everything else, the concern that would come with the love of a Heavenly Father. The strength that we need in time of need, the grace that is sufficient in our darkest, lowest moments.

This point, simply this, if God is for you, then when all is said and done, who can win against you? If God is for you then who or what can ultimately, not initially, not immediately, if God is really for you, ultimately, who can ultimately win against you? Who controls, this is what it comes down to, who controls outcomes? Who controls the ultimate outcomes of the things that come your way? Paul would say, your Heavenly Father. So practically speaking, when someone considers you their enemy, when someone treats you like an enemy, you don't have to return the favor. You can choose to say, wait, if God is for me, you can't win against me. I don't suggest you say that out loud, I mean, you might want to. But the point is, in that moment, it's like, wait a minute, I mean, they're coming on strong and what am I gonna do? And he's powering up, she's powering up, and they're the they, and I'm not the they, and wait a minute, wait, if God is for me, ultimately, you can't win against me.

And in that space, that's when you give 'em your best over-underreaction. Because to do anything else is to grant control, to give away the control of your life and your destiny to something or someone who does not control your destiny. To react, remember we said this last time, to react is to handover control. To react is to declare that someone or something determines outcomes, controls your future. And here's the great thing about following Jesus, Jesus instructs us to live as if that is not the case, because according to Jesus, that is not the case. So this is what it looks like, this is what it looks like to react Christian. This is what it looks like to follow Jesus.

Now, if you listen to all this and it's like, okay, Andy, really, you must just live at the church, they must never let you out in the real world, and you must not have access to the internet, do you know what the world is really like out there? This doesn't work, this isn't how the world works, and I'm not even gonna try to work it. You know what, if that was your pushback, I'm just trying to say what maybe some of you were thinking, I get it. I mean, you're saying, okay, so I'm supposed to entrust my career, my money, my family, my kids, I mean, I'm supposed to entrust all of this to an invisible God, and then I just do what I'm supposed to do, and then I just don't worry, right? That I just do the right thing and then I just wait and hope it kinda works out, that I refuse to try to control outcomes, I refuse to try to manipulate outcomes. That is absolutely ridiculous, it's so passive, it's so weak, good luck with that, I'm gonna go live in the real world.

So if that's your perspective, I understand it. That's why I said it so well, it's like, that's exactly what I'm thinking. I know, me too. Okay, I'm not that different, I get out two days a week, they let me out two days a week, but I can't leave the parking lot, okay? So I understand that. And I'm not trying to be snarky, but can I just push back a little bit before we wrap up? If that's ridiculous, then go ahead and worry. And when things don't go your way, react, be loud and proud, you know, demand your way, blow up, or maybe sulk, and be depressed, and manipulate, and be pout. But yeah, just take it all on. Live your life as if there is no personal God, live your life as if God doesn't know your name, live your life as if God doesn't care, that all there is to this life is this life. To twist Peter's terminology a little bit, entrust yourself to yourself. To take some other words out of context that Peter used, cast your cares on you, because in the end, you're the only one who will care for you.

I mean, isn't that how you feel? Isn't that kind of your response to some of this? Or to twist Jesus words a little bit, I know that's kind of dangerous, okay, worry about tomorrow, somebody's got to, right? So you do it. Come on, you were pushing back in your mind, I'm pushing back out loud. Come on, take on responsibility for outcomes that you have no control over, people you can't control, an economy you can't control, an economy you can't regulate, and your physical body that doesn't always cooperate, you just take all of that on yourself. Wake up every day with that. But if you ever get to the point where it's just too much, where you come to the conclusion that, I can't control outcomes. I can't even control myself all that well. There is a standing invitation from your savior. This is amazing.

First century invitation that's for every century. And here's what Jesus says to you, in the moment, if it ever becomes too much for you, he says, come to me, I love this. "Come to me all of you who are weary and burdened". Come to me all of you who are trying to carry something you were never created to carry, that you were not intended to carry. You're carrying things that you can't carry, like tomorrow. You're trying to carry tomorrow. You're trying to carry outcomes. I want you to come to me, "And I will give you rest". I will carry the load you were never intended to carry. Then he says, says, "Take my yolk", my way of life, my way of living, "Take my yolk upon you and learn from me". This is what it means to follow Jesus, it means to be a learner. "Take my yolk upon you, for I am gentle and I am humble in heart".

Take on the Jesus way, the follow me way, the way that allows you to, listen to this, the way that allows you to live responsibly, without taking responsibility for things you were never intended to take responsibility for to begin with. And then here's the promise, and if you come to me and you entrust yourself to me, you will find rest for your souls, you will find rest for your souls. "For my yolk", by comparison, "Is easy and my burden", by comparison, "Is light". Because you won't be carrying it alone.

So if God is for you, who can win against you? It's why I always say, following Jesus will make your life better. It'll make you better, like it won't make life easier, it just makes life, better because you're only carrying what you were intended to carry, and you're entrusting your future to the God who loves you and demonstrated it by sending his son to pay for your sin, instead of requiring you to pay yourself. Because at the end of the day, our responsibility is to follow, God's responsibility is outcomes.

So wrapping up, Christians, our actions speak louder than words, but Christians, our reactions speak way louder than our words. Our reactions to circumstances and things going on around us, our reactions speak louder than our sermons and our songs. And Jesus instructs us to react in a way that reflects our Heavenly Father's reaction to us, and he invites us and instructs us to react in a way that reflects overwhelming and unwavering confidence in God. Confidence that God is with you and that God is for you. So let's over-underreact in a way that causes people to look up and to wonder, and to connect the dots between our reactions and our confidence in God. Our reactions, according to Jesus, are our best opportunity to assure the people around us, that we actually believe what we claim to believe. So for the sake of our influence, for the sake of the influence of the church, for the sake of the world, let's get this right, because it's true, reactions speak louder, way louder than words.

Heavenly Father, easy to talk about, not easy to walk outta here and do. So for the man or the woman who just sat with her arms crossed, and I understand, it's like, Andy, you make it sound so simple. I pray that they'd forget what I said, that you maybe even in this moment would just begin to peel back the resistance, just give them the vision of what would it look like to live my life as if God is ultimately responsible for the outcome of my life? And give us the wisdom to hand back off to you, the things that you want to carry anyway, that creates the space and the emotional margin for us to over-underreact in such a way that people would catch a glimpse of what you're really like and who you've called us to be. So give us eyes to see, and ears to hear, and the courage to respond, Father. In Jesus name, amen.

Are you Human?:*