Beth Moore - Thriving in our Choices Part 2
My job as a teacher is to make sure the best of my understanding, led by the Holy Spirit, that you remember our lesson. And so I'll do anything: Corny works for me. Cheesy works for me. Whatever it takes to have enough rhythm to it or to be silly enough or goofy enough or just memorable enough that, when somebody said, "What was that about"? You could look at them and tell 'em. That's what we're gonna do. Number one is this: Quash false voices about choices. I wanna hear you say number one. Say it back to me. All right, there are some lies that need dispelling. If you and I are gonna get to the truth about really, really good decision making, about making good choices that set us up by the power of the Holy Spirit to thrive, then we gotta dispel some lies before we ever get to the truth.
Let's get some things out of the way so that we're not confused by 'em. Let's set the deception aside, and there are some lies that really, really, really need dismantling. Now, what I've done here this weekend is I've brought us, just so that we'll know the difference, when we get there, that this sound is going to be false. And this sound is gonna be true. So that you will know the difference. Again, this one's gonna be wrong. This one's gonna be right. And so we're gonna go through this a little bit together because here's what I want you to... I'm gonna say 'em too fast for you to jot 'em down, but I am gonna pitch 'em on the board so that you can see 'em, but if there's one that you go, "Oh, that is me," that is the lie that I need to dispel. Then you write that one down. But, beyond that, just listen up for a minute. Just a couple of 'em I wanna throw at you that we have got to dispel. We're gonna quash false voices about choices.
The first statement is this: "I've made choices that have ruined my whole life". Anybody? Would anybody in here be like, "I have been in the course of my life", that you would be very prone to say, "I can tell you right now, I have made choices that have ruined my whole life". Wrong. Because we're never gonna get on with it if you've already got it in your head, "It is too late. I've already done all that". I don't know what you think you're doing now, taking up space? Taking up oxygen? I don't know, but you may have it in your head, "Listen, I'm just existing until I get home to Jesus because, honestly, I have already completely destroyed my life". No, no, you haven't.
Now, here's what I wanna say to you. You may, like I had, you may have wrecked your life, but you have not destroyed your life. And let me tell you, the beautiful thing about wreckage and what makes it very, very different from having destroyed our lives, because, "wreckage," what happens, if your life has been wrecked by some choices, not ruined, you can't ruin it. You're still living it. But if it's wrecked, then here's what happens. When you surrender that wreckage to God, I can tell you that one of two things will happen every single time, and you surrender it to him. He will either repair the wreck, or he will redeem the wreck. I need somebody to get that with me.
See, there are people, you're thinkin', "I'mma tell you, I've already completely wrecked my family". Well, let me tell ya, you surrender that family to the Lord. And, for some of you, you literally will watch him over the years to come, one person at a time, one conversation at a time, start putting that back together. But if it never happens because they're also getting to make their own choices, I can tell you this: He could redeem what was stolen from you, and you can still live a fruitful, thriving life. Let him repair. Let him redeem. Watch what he will do.
The next statement is this, that we've got to quash: "Making good choices is equally challenging for everyone". Wrong, wrong. Our situations vary dramatically. The tools we've been given and taught in our upbringing differ dramatically. Each of us may have the opportunity to make a good choice, but we do not all have equal ease in making that good choice in that opportunity. Is anybody gettin' that with me?
I want you to see 1 Samuel chapter 30. Let me give you a little bit of background. Saul is king at this time. David has a small army of people at this time that are serving with him, and he and his men have been out to do battle, and when they come back to the village where their families have been, all of their wives and their children are missing. All of them have been taken captive. None of them have been killed, but they don't know that. All of them have been kidnapped. Not one of their family members is there in that village when they get back, and so you can imagine they're horrified. And so I want you to see verses 3 through 6, that say this. It says, "And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captain. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep".
Can you imagine the scene, all of them going, and everything's burned? Imagine them seeing it from a distance, and all they can see is smoke coming up from that village, and they come, and they find none of their wives, none of their children, and their grief is so strong. It says that they "raised up their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep". David's family had also been taken. Verse 6, says, "And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God". Can you imagine this, on any regular day, they had thought, "I believe we'll stone David"? Why did they have stones in their hands? Because they had bitterness of soul. Had bitterness of soul.
So important for us to see that so many of our decisions that are out of kilter when we look at one another and judge one another for some of the decisions we've made. Sometimes the circumstances are overwhelming. The challenges are inestimable. There's real-life bondage that can be in play. I was thinking. I've jotted a couple of things down just to make the point. For instance, a severely underprivileged kid doesn't even know what the good options are half the time. Anybody gettin' that with me? Doesn't mean he can't make good decisions. He can. It means he's making decisions with a whole lot fewer tools. A sexually abused child won't develop the tools that naturally make "No" seem like a viable option for boundary setting. I mean, it's just different. It's just different.
Does she have, does he have this, the opportunity to make a good choice? Yes. The same ease in that opportunity? Absolutely not. Person who is only eatin' dirt does not know manna is even on the menu. If that's all they've had, why in the world would they think there was anything else they could order? Ready for the next one? Good and evil are obvious. Make the right choice. It should be plain to you. No, not always, not always. Hebrews 5, verse 11, "about this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil".
There are forms of good and evil that only people that honestly have trained themselves up in the Word of God can even recognize. He said it's for people that know how to eat solid food in the Scriptures. I mean, that is, that's almost troubling. I gotta tell you, just last fall, I took the girls on a bucket-list trip that we had planned for years. I took them to Italy, and it was really, really important, to me, that I took them on frequent flyer miles because it was my reward back to them because they had said, "Bye," to their mother so many times when I'd gotten on an airplane, and so I just kept watching my miles go up, and I thought, "One of these days, y'all just keep kissin' me good-bye because, one of these days, I'm gon' put you on this plane with me when I have enough miles and a balance".
Last mid-spring, I realized I was getting really, really close to the miles, and I wanted it to be so special, and I wanted us to have great seats. And it got to be time, and so we planned that trip, and we went. We had the time of our lives, but I will know, about a day five of eating pasta? And I don't wanna insult anyone, but where I come from, we have lots of international foods because, you know, in the United States, we're made up of very, very diverse people, and they bring us all their foods. Is anybody understanding what I'm saying? I eat a different ethnic food every single day of the week back in Houston. It's the way we eat. We never eat just one kind of food, never five days of pasta. I looked at my girls and said, "I need you to understand something today. I need to use my teeth. If I don't use my teeth today, something's gonna happen. It's gonna be ugly".
I went through the whole thing: "Do you think God's not given us teeth for a reason"? And so everything became, I would run from restaurant to restaurant. Melissa can testify to this, run from restaurant to restaurant. You know how they put the menu out front under the little glass? I would run to it and look at it and go, "No teeth, no teeth". And if it was no teeth, we would not stay because there comes a time when you gotta use your teeth. You just got to. You can't just gum the Word of God all your life. At some point, bite into the thing, amen? At some point, leave some tooth marks on the page.
This one's really, really important. This is more broad-spectrum than the ones that we've said so far, but I've got to say it 'cause I think it's titanic. For every gathering like this, it's critical that we dispel this lie. I'm hopin' this lands with somebody in this room. Last statement is this: "For the most part, people don't really change". Now, I'm not gonna ask you to raise your hand or anything, but when was the last time you said it? When was the last time you thought it? And, I mean, you thought it based on evidence, like, "I knew it". You know, he said or she said they really had changed, and, obviously, you can see they didn't, and so the thing is, for the most part, there are a few exceptions here and there, but for the most part, people don't really change. Wrong. Nothing could be further from the Gospel message. It is conversion, and it is transformation, over and over and over.
We wanna catch ourselves in this demonic lie every single time it rears up its head because conversion and transformation are the two valves of the heart of the Gospel. Mary Magdalene, delivered from numerous demons to become the first evangelist in the Gospel. Transformation, change, do not ever become so cynical in the faith that you have it in your head that, "Really, at the end of the day, people don't change". Number two is this: "Recognize every choose-fuse". Okay, what is a fuse? Number one, in the definition, "a continuous train of combustible substance enclosed in a cord or cable for setting off an explosive charge by transmitting fire to it". Listen up to two, "a mechanical or electrical detonating device for setting off the bursting charge of a projectile, bomb, or torpedo".
I wanna suggest to you that we have things in our lives that are fuses to us and that, when that fuse goes off, it's detonators. Everybody, say, "detonator". When something detonates inside of us, that is when we are most prone to make a regrettable choice. It's not gonna be when we're feeling levelheaded. It's gonna be when something in us, when a fuse blows, and, I mean, then that decision comes out like a projectile. Anybody know what I'm talkin' about? Like, that thing just shoots off like a rocket. And so here is the thing. If you and I could get to where we could recognize some choose-fuses, then we would know when it happens. "Oh-oh, that's what that is".
Fear never makes a good decision for us, not ever. But it is a huge detonating device because, I mean, when it rises up, I mean, that fuse goes off, and it starts to push down that lever that sends up that projectile, and I'm telling you, at that point, at that point, we gotta know that fuse just went off, and "What am I going to do with this"? Fear stunts our growth. If we maintain a stronghold of fear, we will not fulfill our callings. We won't. It's not that we might not. We won't. We won't because we will be too scared to do what Jesus calls us to do. Panic is the next one. Anybody agrees with me, panic is the world's worst?
Honestly, I don't know, in this list of things, I don't know anything that sets me up for a poor decision any faster. I cannot have a clear thought in my brain when I panic. That is a choose-fuse. It is fear on fire, anybody? Fear on fire. The next one is insecurity. Ignore the fuse of insecurity. Ignore it. Tell it, "No, you have no authority over me. You have no dominion over me. That's not what I'm gonna do". We have to get secure in who we are in Christ, in who we are. Nobody can bring to that mix what you can bring because they're not you. Even if they have your same gifting, you might say, "No, no, they're better than me at the gifting". But they're not you with that gifting.
You have to believe that you've got a uniqueness that you get to bring to the mix, that you get to live out. This has got to get into us because, let me tell you something: We're not gonna win anybody with our insecurity. We may make them feel sorry for us for a while, but then they're gonna withdraw. We get to make a different decision. We're talkin' about detonators here, when "boom," something so blows up inside of you and inside of me that we are set up in that moment. We got this pre-idiocy moment here, this window of opportunity, and what are we gonna do with it? And intense sexual desire is one of them. I would be an idiot not to mention this one.
I wanna tell you something. We can make a decision out of intense sexual desire that is not just immoral but deadly, terribly, terribly dangerous. We live in a hook-up culture where people just, like, I mean, you can just, like, have that intense sexual desire overtake you, and you can just get online and be with somebody in no time at all, and it's disastrous. It's disastrous. I wanna throw this one out. I don't know a better way to say it, that one thing that can really, really, really be a huge obstacle to making good, thriving decisions is hatred lodged in the heart, hatred lodged in the heart. We talked about panic being fear on fire. Well, hatred is dislike on fire. Hatred is always passionate, always, always. It's always energetic. It's always got heat to it. Hatred is never without heat, dislike can be. But by the time we got hatred, it is passionate. It is passionate. So it consumes a lot of energy.
And, now, listen, don't anybody misunderstand me. There are people in our lives that, in natural means, have deserved our hatred. There are situations that have deserved our hatred. There are people who have hurt us, abandoned us, cheated us, betrayed us, lied about us, treated us unjustly, but the think about hatred is it does not just become a killer in the relationship with the person that is its target. It becomes a murderer to its host. Jesus compared hatred to murder, and there's a reason for that. Hatred kills all sorts of things. Hatred cannot do anything but kill. That's its job. It kills relationships. It kills security. It kills peace, and not just its target. It kills its host, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. That's why Jesus could compare it to murder.
Here's the strange thing where our topic is concerned. It clouds our choices because it puts us in the dark. For some of us, blind hatred is making our choices for us. And I'll show you how much it affects our choices. I'm gonna bring up 1 John 2:11, and it says this: "But whoever hates his brother is in darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes". Do you realize that, for some of us, when we're goin' like, "I can't even see my way," "I don't know even know what people are talkin' about when they say they really have vision for something," "I mean, my way just looks dark," could it be that there is a lodged hatred inside? Because that lodged hatred darkens the path until we do not know where we are going. This is a very, very wonderful time to surrender that and to let it go.
I want you to turn with me to Deuteronomy 1, all the way back to Deuteronomy 1. I wanna show you a very interesting little thing here. I was thinking about how hate's host is often also its target. I don't know if I have dealt with many things more in the course of my life, when you do some of the stupid things I've done in my life, then you kind of have that leaning towards self-loathing. There is nothing that God is confusing between our self-loathing and our humility. They're not the same thing. Self-loathing is its own murderous act toward ourselves that God created in his beautiful, beautiful image.
I want you to see these words out of Deuteronomy 1:25-32. It says, "And they took in their hands some of the fruit of the land and brought it down to us, and brought us word again and said, 'It is a good land that the Lord our God is giving us.' Yet you would not go up, but you rebelled against the command of the Lord your God. And you murmured in your tents and said, 'Because the Lord hated us, he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, to the land of the Amorites, to destroy us'".
It goes on to say that even though the Lord had promised them that he would go before them and he would fight their battles for them, in verse 32, "Yet in spite of this word you did not believe the Lord your God, who went before you in the way to seek you out to place a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the clouds by day, to show you what way you should go". Somebody in this room, you just, honestly, somewhere deep inside of you, you think, "The Lord hates me. He hates me". It's an interesting thing in Deuteronomy chapter 7: "It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord chose you, for you were the fewest. It was because the Lord loves you". The Lord loves you.