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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Bobby Schuller » Bobby Schuller - Don't Wish It Was Easy, Wish You Were Wiser

Bobby Schuller - Don't Wish It Was Easy, Wish You Were Wiser

Bobby Schuller - Don't Wish It Was Easy, Wish You Were Wiser
TOPICS: Wisdom

Today, I want to talk about your life and your relationship with God. You say, "I don't believe in God". Well, he believes in you. "I don't know if I believe in all this stuff". Can I tell you, your life right now is being impacted directly by God's will, love, and life for you. And God made a way that we could come boldly before his throne. There's this weird idea that you see in the universe all around us that in order to make something clean, you have to make something else dirty. You clean your car, it gets covered in dirt, you clean it, you take a beautiful fresh rag, and you wash off the car, and now the car is clean and the rag is dirty. You take your dirty rag, and you put it in the washing machine, and now the rag is clean, and the clean water that went in, the water is dirty. And so on the cycle goes in life that to cleanse something, something else must become dirty.

Today we're talking about the cross, and this is one of those things that's hard for modern ears and minds to grasp, but universally God is just, and yet he's so full of love that what he did was lay down his own life so that you could become clean. As Paul said, "He who knew no sin became sin so that we could be called the righteousness of God". Wow, and that's what you are, that's what you are if you trust in the cross. What you can do if you're walking through life, you think about all the nasty things that have been done to you or that you've done to others, all of that God can wipe away with a single prayer.

And so, I ask you to pray that prayer today to invite Christ into your life. And one of those, I cooked up this idea, I wanted to give altar calls, and everybody always does at the end of the sermon, but I always go much longer than I'm supposed to in every sermon. I know everybody is surprised by that, but I'm a long winded fellow. You know, so I begin with the invitation, because there's only, you're only gonna get so many chances in your life to be at peace with God. So, I wanna invite you now, just right where you are, if you say just 1% of me believes, why don't you give that 1% to God and see what he can do with it and watch him turn your life around? I want to encourage you to do that this morning.

So, we're gonna talk about the wisdom of the cross compared to the wisdom of the world, and before we get there, I want you to get this idea in your heart and in your mind. I want you today to wish for more, not less. I want you to wish for more from life, not less from life. I already can hear you, Pastor Bobby, trust me, I am not wishing for less from life. And let me push back on you. How many of you this last week say, "I wish I had less work. I wish I had less stress. I wish I had less problems, fewer problems. I wish I had less debt. I wish I had fewer bills. I wish I had fewer bad days, bad experiences, bad toxic relationships, bad meals"? And the thing is that life, a good life, is full of bad experiences. You cannot live an awesome life without having awful experiences. The two go hand in hand.

And so, what God calls us to do is not to wish for less, but to wish for more, not to wish for less, but to wish for more. I first heard this bit of wisdom from my grandfather, Dr. Schuller, who I'm sure heard it from Jim Rohn, who I'm sure heard it from Earl Shoaff, who I'm sure heard it from JFK, who probably heard it from one of his dad's mobster friends, who probably heard it from Seneca, and it goes something like this. "Don't wish life was easier, wish you were better". Here's a better way to say it. Don't ask for fewer obstacles, ask for more wisdom. In most cases, the gap between where you are in life and where you want to be, from the things as simple as being healthy to the big things is having a meaningful life, the gap between you and that is wisdom. It is the commitment and devotion to pray the prayers, have the friends, read the books, listen to the sermons, to commit your life to learning the good stuff that's already been made available to you.

If you can watch the sermon on television or online, all the other stuff is also available to you. Here's a good first principle in finding wisdom. The old stuff is the best stuff. And the older I get, the more I realize that. And the more I have to deal with people in their 20s, when I used to know everything, you know. No, think about this for just a moment. We have 6,000 to 7,000 years of recorded history, and in that time our biological ancestors faced everything we've already faced and more. Think about what most people up until, like, maybe the 1950s had to face in human history. Most of the experience were full of all sorts of trauma, raiders, war, pestilence, plague, the Black Death happened twice in Europe. All of the incredible things that they had to go through and face, and we are the results of those amazing women and men who endured those times to get you here now.

You are the posterity of those who made it through 1,000 winters, 1,000 wars and 1,000 plagues. You are the result of the ones who made it through, and those who got through into victory left unto us tomes, pages, books, and records of how to get through things like that. There is nothing, almost nothing some of us have been through that someone else has not been through before. It doesn't make it less painful, doesn't make it less horrible or traumatic, but there is wisdom available to you on how to get through that. Remember, new wisdom should always be questioned. There is new wisdom, and there's new things happen all the time. There's new wisdom, but old wisdom is the best stuff. Old wisdom is the best stuff.

Science is amazing, I'm grateful for science, science makes so much of this possible. The fact that I can talk through speakers, and we're in air conditioned room, and I'm on television, on the internet, and we're able to, in this small church able to broadcast a church service to millions of people around the world is amazing. It's a gift from God. But never forget this, science can't give you wisdom. Science gives you knowledge, which is also a huge gift and something we should all seek. Science gives you knowledge, but science cannot give you wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience, and we can learn that from our ancestors.

Now, the best, I said the best wisdom is the old wisdom, and the best and oldest wisdom there is is the Word of God. The Word of God existed before human history was around, and the Word of God will endure longer than every nation, every flag, every language, every culture, God's Word will endure. Until the universe expands and evaporates into a fine mist, even then, the Word of the Lord will endure forever and ever. What an amazing gift it is that we can have a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. And we ought to just treasure this thing, this library. You think about the people that would have given so much to get one page of this thing, we can read it and, you know, 100 different translations, and it's made available to us, and this is the wisdom of the Gospel, the wisdom of the Word of God, and what Paul calls the wisdom of the cross, the wisdom of the cross.

Let's read from God's Word, shall we? 1 Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 18. The Bible says, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it's the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent. I will frustrate. Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to those who believe.'"

In the world there really are two wisdoms, huh? There's the wisdom of the cross and there's the wisdom of this world, and sometimes they blend well, and other times they do not. Whenever the wisdom of the cross is at odds with the wisdom of the world, cling to the cross. It's amazing. Paul is writing here to a church in the city of Corinth, which is a lot like America. It's a city in a golden age, full of wealth and money and culture, good food, and all of the best things someone could wish for. But with that comes the trappings and the thorns of worldly wisdom that draw people to it. And into that world he says, "Cling to the cross".

Let me give you a good example. There's this viral video on YouTube, and there's this guy, it's from TikTok originally, this guy's going around in some college town, there's kids partying, and he's going up to random guys and asking them for some worldly wisdom. He wants them to tell him how to get a one night stand. "Hey, what's the best way to get a one night stand? What's the best way to get a one night stand? Hey, what's the best way to get a one night stand"? And finally he goes to this very good looking young college guy who's there with a buddy of his, and he goes, "Hey, what's the best way to get a one night stand"? And the guy looks at him and he says, "Repent and believe the gospel. You don't need a one night stand, you need Jesus". And it was one of the manliest things I've heard in a long time.

Now, that ought to encourage you when you hear something like that, because one bit of wisdom is, "Hey, how do I get a one night stand"? Another bit is, "Hey, I don't need another one night stand. I don't need another romantic affair. I need Jesus. I need the gospel. I need the cross". When that's at the heart of you, then your romantic relationships and your friendships and your food and everything else you do, they're blessed. But without that, it's lost. The wisdom of the cross is this. The cross makes the powerful weak, and it makes the weak powerful. For about five minutes I'm gonna speak in riddles, okay? But lean in, listen to what the Lord has to say for you. The cross makes the week powerful, and the powerful week. The cross calls on to all of us who are in need of God, and who needs God today? Some of us, or all of us? All of us.

And how much of God do we need, a little bit or all of him? All of him. And that is the beginning of real wisdom and real growth in life. You make all the money in the world and have all the men or women in the world or have all the houses or all the experiences, all the travel in the world, but you don't have that, you get to the end with regret. Here's wisdom. The cross. Who calls to the cross? The sick do. The sinners do. The lost do. The confused do. The humble do. The lonely do. And the thing is, I, you know, as a pastor I realized this, that all of us are all of those things. And when you look in the mirror, you say, "I've got troubles, I got sickness, I got problems, I got sin, I got challenges, I got burdens, I need Jesus," you are 1,000 steps ahead of the smartest guy ever who says I don't need any of that stuff.

That's the power of the cross. The power of the cross is the beginning of real wisdom, real growth, and the life you really want. That's the power, because it's a totally fresh beginning. It's a very awful and awesome message. Here's how it's awful. My sin was bad enough to deserve death. That's awful. Here's where it's awesome. God didn't ask me to die, he gave his own life for me, why? Because he loves you that much. Oh, how vast and wide and deep is the love of God for you, that you could become like Jesus, totally free. And so, the cross allows us to come before life and before God with an empty cup, not a full cup, and to say, Lord, whatever you want from my life, it's yours. And I'll show you how this changes everything, and it really does.

Here's the wisdom of a crucified life. When you trust in Jesus, your past and everything, all of it, it dies on the cross with Christ. But when you also trust him, you're raised into eternal life, and this is what it looks like. Number one, most importantly, let me just give you a brief Easter message, you don't have to be afraid of death. You don't have to be afraid of death. The world now as it becomes more affluent and materialistic is obsessing over their eventual end, the death, right? And you'll hear people say this all the time, the way that it's all, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, but you don't have to fear that. When you're full of the Holy Spirit, you get new eyes and new heart, new vision to know, I don't have to worry about that. I'm gonna live in God's kingdom forever.

And so, that allows me to not worry about getting my spiritual report card perfect. I don't have to have the right words to say when I die, but simply I can just say I'm going to get rid of the rotten fruits that come from obsessing over my own death. I'm gonna stop trying to do whatever that obsession does, and instead I'm going to ask this question. How can I become all that God created me to be in the service, especially in the service of others? So, for me, how can I become the pastor my church needs? How can I become the friend my friends need? How can I become the giver of hope that strangers need when I meet them? How can I help people when I see them in need? How can I be the husband my wife needs, the father my kids need? How can I be the citizen my country needs? These are good questions to ask.

And the gap between you and that is wisdom. When you cling to the cross, when you have a crucified life, you now have an empty cup. It's easy to just say, I'm sorry, I made a mistake. It's easy to say, I have a really dumb question. Excuse me, I have a really dumb question. I'm, by the way, a master of asking dumb questions. Get in a classroom with me, I'll do it, you'll hear it. How do I seek? Et cetera, et cetera. And so, so the Bible says that a wise man loves correction, but a fool hates correction. Maybe you say to me, "I feel like I'm pretty wise. I got a lot of experience".

Can I ask you a question? On a scale of one to ten, how much do you enjoy when someone corrects you? I got this great test for your wisdom level, okay, here it is. And you say, I'm probably a seven. Okay, now ask your spouse. Honey, on a scale of one to ten, how much do you think I appreciate correction? Your number might go down a little bit. You all are thinking about your spouse asking you, aren't you? You're not thinking about asking them. No, that's okay. And so, so what I'm asking you to do is a crucified life is one that crucifies the ego, the image, the mask, and it simply says, I am going to seek wisdom. I'm gonna come to the realization that my life gets better when I get better. Life doesn't get better when other things around me change, life gets better when I get better.

So, get wisdom, kill your ego. Here's an amazing thought. There is no limit to how good you can be. Isn't that interesting? There's no limit to how good your life can be. There's no limit to how good of a parent, a grandparent, or an aunt, or uncle, or a friend, there's no limit to how awesome you can be at that. There's no limit to how happy you can be. There's no limit to how much spiritual power you can have in your life. There's no limit to how awesome you can be at your job or all the other many things that we want to be good at. There's no limit to how good you can be at those things. The difference between you and that is one word, you probably know what I'm gonna say. It starts with a w.

Look, it's wisdom. You grow, you grow in the hidden places, you grow in the places that you can't post on Instagram, grow in the places that you can't brag about, grow in the places that only you and the Lord knows about, grow in those places. And take the time you need, and down the road you'll be glad you did. It's like there's a type of bamboo, it's amazing, as it germinates, it takes five years for the bamboo roots to grow underground. They spread and they go in every direction. Little bulbs start forming, and you see nothing for five years, you can see nothing. And meanwhile bamboo is spreading, going deep, going wide, spreading, spreading, and then all of a sudden after five years of just growing those roots in six weeks that bamboo goes from zero to ninety feet into the sky.

That's an amazing image, isn't it? That's really how life is. It's not a nice, even, it's not like that. It's build, build, build, build, build, build, build, life Is hard, I don't care, building, build, build, build, tip, build, build, build, build, pop. That's how it is. We learned this lesson from Malcolm Gladwell. He's a famous, really great author, he wrote a book that made him famous called "The Tipping Point". He uses a different image, he says that in organizations, in movements, political movements, and business and whatever, in religion, in life, that you see this pattern over and over. That something builds, builds, builds, builds, builds, in this, like, ethereal, invisible space, and then it doesn't just ease, it pops, it tips, he says. He uses an image of a glass of water, professor in probably a physics class puts a glass of water to teach, what is this called again? It's surface tension, is that right, physicists? Surface tension, we got all the PhDs in the choir.

And how many of you have a PhD, by the way? Just curious, just raise your hand. That's pretty good, three, all right. Some one guy says, "I'm working on it". I have a $60 honorary doctorate in piracy given to me by my brother in law. That's real, so you can call me Dr. Bobby. But you have to say, "Arr". Anyway, okay, glass of water, so you'd think, the way water is, a glass of water, as soon as it gets to the surface, it starts to just kind of seep over the edge, but that's not what happens. This Professor begins to drop drops of water in the glass, and a dome begins to form on the top of the glass of water, surface tension. And eventually that drop makes it high enough that it doesn't ease over, it goes and spills over the side like a water balloon.

And that's how building your life really is, that you're building in wisdom, building in knowledge, you're praying the right kind of prayers, you're memorizing the right kind of verses, you're becoming the kind of person, you're reading the books, you're doing what it takes, you're doing what nobody else is doing to become who you need to be because you know that life gets better when you get better, and you stop asking for everything outside of you to change, and you say, "Today, I choose to change". Nobody will see, it might take five years, but in five years something will tip and that thing will go into the sky. It's like freezing water. You take a tray of room temperature water, you put it in the freezer at 72 degrees, and it goes 71 degrees, 70 degrees, 69 degrees, 68 degrees, and so on, gets all the way to 33 degrees, and still nothing has changed. One more degree, 32 degrees, and turns rock hard.

Isn't that interesting? That's how it is building your life from the inside out. That's how things are in the kingdom of God. And that's why the wisdom of the world is so toxic. It doesn't look at degrees 72 to 33, it only looks at 32, or even worse, it looks at, like, regular rocks that are spray painted to look like ice, that's a better analogy. You know, it's all fake. So, don't be deceived by that. And when you begin to learn that the gap between who I am and who I want to be is knowledge and wisdom and a crucified life and a commitment to discipleship, when you really not only believe it in your heart, but you start taking real steps to become all that you were called to be rather than just part of what you were called to be and you begin to experience progress, you begin to taste and see that it's really true, your perspective in life begins to change, because all of us are desperate for progress.

So much of the progress that we've experienced in life is from outside, from parents or a job, but this is a kind of process that you can control. No one can stop you from becoming this kind of person. And then when that happens, and I'll just tell you from experience, you just get a fresh view of even the bad things that happen in life, because you just feel like these big setbacks are not enough still to keep you from who you're called to be. A man in a wheelchair is asked, "How does it feel to be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life"? He says, "Confined by it? I'm not confined by a wheelchair. A wheelchair brings me liberation. Without this wheelchair I would be stuck in bed at home all day, but instead I get to go around and do all the things I do".

Maybe you need to substitute wheelchair for cane or walker. You have contempt for it. But not this man, right? He says, "It brings me liberation". A man who is growing in wisdom and life loses his job. "How does it feel to lose your job, to get fired"? And he says, "I'm finally free to do the thing I was called to do, to start my business, to get a better job. I finally see where I was falling short. I finally have the skills to become what I've called to be". So, it's a different perspective when you're working on you. Some of you, if you continue to grow in your skills and development, weirdly, you just might get fired. And you just go take your old boss's business. It's a pro tip. There you go.

I just saw a story about a man who had his arm bitten off by a shark. That's a horrible story, living here in California, had his arm bitten off by a shark. And about a year later somebody was interviewing him, said, "What was it like getting your arm bit off by a shark? You're never gonna have your arm again". And he said, "I know this sounds crazy. It was a gift. I was sleepwalking through life. And, you know, when you get attacked by a shark, you don't think you're gonna just lose your arm, You think you're gonna lose everything. I didn't lose everything. I got off easy. There's lots of people have been attacked by a shark and lost a lot more than an arm. They lost everything. But it gave me a second lease of life. It gave me a fresh perspective".

And this is how life can be for those of us who know that it gets better when you get better. It doesn't get better when you get a better spouse, gets better when you become a better spouse. It doesn't get better when you get a better job, it gets better when you become a better boss or employee. It doesn't get better when politics go the direction you want it to go, when your work, when your school, when your church, when they go the way you want it to go, it gets better when you go the way you want to go. When you have the path laid out before you, when you have a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path to show you where to go and you have direction and you realize that the path doesn't begin out there, it begins in here and in here, that's when it all changes.

It changes when you stop asking for life to be easier and you start asking God to make you stronger. It changes when you stop asking for the struggle to go away and asking for God to give you the kind of skills you need to get through those struggles. Life changes when you stop wishing that it had fewer obstacles and start wishing that you had more wisdom, and the more you pray for that and allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, the more you cling to the cross and just decide, "I'm not gonna be ashamed, I'm not gonna be worried, I'm not gonna be fearful. I'm gonna keep working on me one day at a time," it all changes everything. Put it to the test. Prove to me that it's true. You'll see. It's been true in my life, and I know it will be for yours as well.

So, Lord, we thank you in the name of Jesus that you didn't just call us to be saved, you called us to be disciples. You called us to learn. We want to learn, Lord. Thank you, Father, that we're deciding today not to be less than we can be, but to be all that we can be. We pray that you give us wisdom and give us the kind of people, books, and prayers that help us grow. Lord, we love you and we thank you. It's in Jesus's name we pray. All God's people said, amen.

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