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Watch 2022 online sermons » Craig Smith » Craig Smith - The Weight of Glory - Part 2

Craig Smith - The Weight of Glory - Part 2

Craig Smith - The Weight of Glory - Part 2
TOPICS: 1 Samuel, Glory of God, Ark Of The Covenant

Well, hey, welcome to Mission Hills on our Grassroots Weekend. I love this weekend. I try to dress accordingly. This was the most grassroots-iest outfit that I could put together, but hey, can we give it up for our worship team? Was that awesome or what? Yeah, it is one of our favorite weekends of the year to kind of throw it down and throw it back a little bit. So I’m really glad you’re able to be part of this. Also, really glad you’re able to join us today because I believe that God has something really powerful and practical in your life from his word today, something that God’s consistently used in my life that I get to speak about today. And really, what we’re gonna be talking about today is the importance of seeking the source.

And the reason I say that is because I think a lot of times we recognize, you know, we’ve got struggles in our life. You know, maybe we’re struggling in a relationship, we’re struggling at work, we’re struggling in our relationship with God, and trying to become more like him and join him on mission, and there’s some stuff that’s getting in the way. But a lot of times what happens is we see those things and we try to deal with each of those things. But what’s sometimes happening is we’re dealing with the symptoms rather than the source. And if we don’t deal with the source, the symptoms are just gonna keep showing up.

Several years ago, my kids were really little and I remember kind of walking around the house one day and recognizing that there were marbles all over the place. Like every time I turn I was like, there’s a marble and there’s my, and I was trying to deal with them each and so I’d pick the marble up and I put it in a container and there’s another marble. And I realized after a while I was picking up marbles from places where I had already picked up marbles, like there should have not been any marbles because I took care of there. It was clean and like there’s a marble and so it’s like, I got to look for the source, which turned out to be my youngest daughter, Lynae, she’s about one and a half and she’s wearing footie pajamas. You remember footie pajamas? Were they not the best? Right?

But I was looking at her in her footie pajamas like she looks wrong. Like she’s like kind of misshapen, like her legs especially were really baggy. And so I was like, “Lynae come here.” And she kind of started to walk towards me, but she made this weird noise, she was like, “urgh.” And so I walked over and I picked her upside down, and I held her by the ankles and hundreds of marbles began to pour out of, she had like poured them all down in, but there was a hole in one of the ankles and one by one they were kind of. See it’s like that in life sometimes, right? So we try to deal with the symptoms, but, unless we deal with the source, the symptoms are just gonna keep showing up, right?

And so the question is then how do we identify the source? So why don’t you go and grab your Bible and start making your way to the book of 1st Samuel Chapter Four, we’re gonna pick up where we left off in verse 12. While you’re making your way there, let me just catch you up real quick. If you’re just joining us, if you missed last week, what we saw last week was that Israel, the Nation of Israel, God’s people, they went into battle without God’s blessing. And because of that, inevitably, they lost the battle. They lost 4,000 soldiers, and that should have been a wake-up call to seek the source and figure out why that happened, that the loss itself was a symptom and they should have looked for the source of the problem. But rather than doing that, they basically hatched a plan to manipulate God into fighting for them by bringing the Ark. That was the box they kept the 10 Commandments in. It’s the box where everybody’s faces melted when the Nazis pulled it off in “Raiders of the Lost Ark” that box, they said, “If we take that into battle, God will have to fight for us. And so we’ll win then.” So they had this sort of strategy, but they never dealt with the source that gave rise to the first loss. And because of that, things went from bad to worse. And so they ended up losing 30,000 people in the next battle.

And so this is the same day, a little bit after that battle, Chapter 4:12 told, “The same day a Benjamite,” that’s a member of the one of the tribes of Israel. “He ran from the battle line. He went to Shiloh,” that’s the town where the Ark was housed “with his clothes torn and dust on his head. Now, when he arrived, there was Eli sitting on his chair by the side of the road watching because his heart feared for the Ark of God.” Now, Eli is the chief priest. And what we saw last week was that Eli, he should’ve been the guy to kind of correct the plan. He should’ve been the guy to go, “Hey, wait a minute, you’re dealing with the symptom. You lost a battle and you’re coming up with some new strategy, but what we should be doing is we should be looking for the source. Why it is that we were out from under God’s blessing? Where’s the disobedience in the nation that’s leading us to this problem?” He should have done that, but instead of that, he went along with the plan. He gave them the Ark and they went off. But now what we see is that, after the Ark’s gone, he’s gone out to the outside of the city, sitting down by the gate on the side of the road and he’s waiting for news because his heart feared for the Ark of God.

Now, what that tells us is, he didn’t have any confidence that the plan was gonna work. He was not at all confident that God was going to fight for them just because they sent the Ark. He was quite concerned about what might happen, which is interesting because what it suggests is, he knew it wasn’t a good idea, but he went along with it anyway. Why? Why would you do that? And what this begins to show us is that Eli had a priority problem. Eli was putting the priority on something that the priority shouldn’t have been on. He’s putting weight on things that really shouldn’t been getting the weight of his attention and his focus.

And when we have a priority problem that almost always leads to a problem, doesn’t it? A difficulty, something kind of begins to go wrong. I have, I’m gonna be super honest with you guys. I have a daily reminder of what happens when you have a priority problem, so I’m just gonna look right into the camera here, and I’m going to say, these two right here, fake. Because when I was 16 I had a priority problem. And it wasn’t even like a big, ongoing priority problem, it was just a one day, like a moment, a lapse in judgment priority problem. I was on the track team. I was a sprinter and a pole vaulter, but there was a high jumper girl that I just thought was really cute and I really want to impress her. And she was trying to jump a particular height, I don’t remember what it was, but she was struggling and kept hitting the bar and coming back, she was getting frustrated. And in my adolescent male brain, this plan hacks, to like, if I can show her that I can do it easily then she’ll fall for me, right? Because why would that not work, ladies? Right, right, right?

Now, here’s the thing, I’ve never high jumped in my life. I knew nothing about the technique, I knew nothing about any of it. I was like, there was a part of my brain that was like, “Yeah, but we don’t know what we’re doing,” I’m just, “Shut up brain. We’re going with this.” It was a priority thing. My priority, I’m gonna impress this girl. So I just took off running and when I got near it I just jumped as high as I could and I immediately was, it was clear because I wasn’t using the right technique at all. I was like going face first and I wasn’t supposed to do that. It’s like, I am not gonna clear it, so I need to get my body apart. So I like yanked my knees up to get them higher and I kneed myself in the face, and I broke out one of my front teeth, hit the ground, came up and looked to her like, she was not impressed. And I had to go to the hospital and like months of work later actually. And so now, years later, I have this permanent reminder of what happens when you have a priority problem, and it’s not usually good things. She was not impressed, she did not ever go out with me, just in case, let’s close the loop on that story. It was not Coletta, it’s not her.

But when we have priority problems, things tend to not go well because we’re putting the weight on something that probably shouldn’t get the weight, right? That’s kind of what’s happened. Eli has gone along with the plan. He’s sent the Ark off, but he knows in his heart this was not a good idea and he’s worried. So he’s on the side of the road, outside the front gate waiting to hear word, and the messenger comes with the word. Now, we’re told this, “Now, when the man entered the town and he told what had happened, the whole town sent up a cry. Now Eli heard the outcry and he asked, “What’s the meaning of this uproar?” And so the man hurried over to Eli, who was 98 years old and whose eyes had failed so that he could not see.” Let’s make sure we understand what’s happened here. Eli is sitting outside the gate on the side of the road waiting for a messenger to come. The messenger comes running by, he sees Eli, Eli doesn’t see him because Eli’s eyes are failing, and so he doesn’t recognize the messenger. But the messenger clearly recognizes him, there’s no question that the messenger knows who he is, but the messenger runs right past him, completely ignores him, goes into the city and announces the news. And that’s really interesting. And what it tells us is that that messenger had no respect for Eli. Really, the people as a whole didn’t have any respect for Eli.

And what we need to understand is that, a lack of respect is usually a symptom for something else. A lack of respect is usually a symptom, on the part of the person who’s not getting the respect, to be perfectly honest. See, so we often have this idea that we’re supposed to be respected because we occupy certain positions, right? You know, so we go, “I’m the mom, I’m the dad, I’m the boss, I’m the pastor.” And we have this idea that respect comes to us because of position, but that’s not the way it works. There’s a certain amount of power that attaches to a position, that’s true. We get power from positions, but respect we have to earn. And that often involves the way that we are dealing with and treating the people that we’re looking for that respect from. What we’re seeing here is that Eli doesn’t have that and that’s a symptom of something else.

Now, if we’ve been reading the book of 1st Samuel up to this point, we actually know what it is already. If you read 1st Samuel Chapter 2, I’m not gonna have us read it today, but let me summarize it, but you might wanna read it later this week. In chapter 2 of 1st Samuel, we’re told that there was a tradition in those days that when they made a sacrifice to God, when the people brought their sacrifice to God, that the animal was killed and it was cut up into the choices, the different pieces of meat, and then they were thrown into a big cauldron and that was their moment of sacrifice. They were giving it to God at that point. The tradition was that, for the priests, they had a big three-pronged fork and they were allowed to kind of stick the fork in, kind of root around, and whatever came up, that was their pay for the day. That was what they ate. It went to God first, then they got to, and the idea was, you know, whatever comes up, that’s what God’s giving you for the day. That was a tradition.

Now, Eli, the chief priest had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, both priests. And Hophni and Phineas didn’t like that plan. And I understand it, because when you stick the fork in you don’t really know what you’re gonna get, so maybe you get the filet mignon, but maybe you get the tongue. And I’ve had several people tell me this weekend, the tongue is totally edible. No, it’s not. No. I’ve eaten it, like the texture is all kinds of wrong, right? But if you’re just doing that, you just don’t know what you’re gonna get. And so they didn’t like to plan, so they came with a new plan, and that new plan was, as they brought their meat to throw it into the cauldron, as they brought their sacrifices, Hophni and Phineas would go, “Oh, I want that piece.” And the people would say, “No, no, no, we’re going to give it to God first, and then you do the fork thing, and whatever God gives you, that’s it.” And they said, “Yeah, we want that piece before it goes in there.” And they went, “No, we give it to God first.” And they went, “Okay, what part of this don’t you understand? We’re taking that part.”

And in fact, 1st Samuel 2, I kid you not, says, that they said, “If you don’t give it to us, we’re gonna take it by violence, by force.” Like can you like try to wrap your brain around that. Like this is church. This would be like if we’re taking an offering in church and the pastor is wandering around watching what you’re putting in, and if he sees like 100 about to go in and he’s like, “Why don’t you just give that straight to me?” And you’re like, “No, I’m gonna give it to God and then the Church will pay you,” You’re like, “No, no, give this right to me or I’ll beat you up.” It’s like a holy mugging basically is what’s happening, right? This is what’s going on.

Now, Eli, Chapter 2 says that Eli knew what was going on and he went to his sons and he said, “What you’re doing is not good.” Which is totally lame. Like that’s all you got? Really? “It’s not ideal, boys.” And that was it. They continued to do it, and Eli really didn’t do anything else about it. And so this is why Eli doesn’t have respect. He might have some power because of his position, but he doesn’t have the respect of the people. And so the messenger sees Eli, runs right past him. Everybody in the town, here’s the news. They begin to cry, to weep and to wail at the news of the loss and all the loved ones that they have now lost. And when Eli hears that, he goes, “Hey, what’s going on?”

And he calls and the messenger comes over, in verse 16, “The messenger told Eli, “I have just come from the battle line. I fled from it this very day.” And Eli said, “What happened, my son?” And the man who had brought the news replied, “Israel fled before the Philistines. And the army has suffered heavy losses, and also, your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, they’re dead and the Ark of God has been captured.” Now, when he mentioned the Ark of God, Eli fell backward off of his chair by the side of the gate, his neck was broken and he died, for he was an old man and he was heavy and he’d led Israel for 40 years.”

Actually, I want you to underline those words, “he was heavy,” that’s not just a passing note, that’s actually a really important part of the story. It’s important in two ways. The first, is to understand that, you know, to say that he was heavy, to give him that description basically means that he was obese, he was an extremely large man, and that’s kind of an unusual thing in those days. They didn’t typically eat high fat diets, they walked everywhere they went, they weren’t going to the 7/11 and getting a Big Gulp every afternoon. And so the fact that he was obese and he was heavy, that’s an unusual thing. And the question is naturally as like, well, how would that happen?

Well, let’s go back to what his sons were doing. They were bringing the sacrifices and they were picking the choice portions. And do you know what the choice portions of meat are? Let me do it this way. I love to smoke different things. I heard how that sounded, let’s stop. What I mean, it’s Colorado, I know. At my house, I have a smoker, I love to put meats in the smoker and smoke the meats and then eat the meats. I eat the meats, there’s no, okay, we’re clear on this? One of my favorite things to smoke is pulled pork, basically to make pulled pork. But, to make pulled pork right, you got to have a particular cut of meat, and the cut of meat that’s gonna make really good pulled pork is a cut of meat that has a whole lot of fat on it. Because, Church, can we be true with each other here? Culinary principal here, fat equals flavor. Like we understand that, right?

People are always trying to tell me, “No, it doesn’t.” You know, here’s a fat-free muffin that’s covered in, I can’t believe it’s not butter, and it’s just as good. No, it’s not. And it’s not a muffin, it’s a tiny brick with grease on it. That’s all it is, okay? They have known for thousands of years what we all know, if we’re really honest with each other, and that is that fat equals flavor. The choice portions were the fatty portions, that’s the parts that they were taking. And now, what we’re meant to understand is that Eli hasn’t just been allowing it to happen, he’s also been participating in it. He’s been eating what they’ve been taking and giving to him. With the result that, he’s an old man and he’s heavy, so much so that when he gets all this bad news, culminating in the loss of the Ark, he falls off the stool in shock and his tremendous weight comes down on his neck as it hits the ground and it snaps his neck and he dies there.

There’s a second reason why he was heavy, is important to the story. And to explain it, I gotta geek out on you just a little bit if that’s okay. Some of you are like, “Yes,” others, just stick with me for a second. There’s a play on words happening here in the original language. This was originally written Hebrew. There’s a play on words happening that you really can’t get in English, and it has to do with the fact that the word for heavy in Hebrew is chabed. Chabed means heavy or weighty. There’s another Hebrew word that features very prominently in the story, and really throughout the book of 1st Samuel after that, and that word is chabōd. Chabed means heavy, chabōd means glory or glorious. And when we hear the word glory, we tend to think of something that’s bright and shiny. But for the Hebrews, chabōd, glory, meant that it was weighty, that it was heavy, right?

And so there’s an interesting play on words going. What we’re told is that Eli was chabed, because the weight has been put on something that probably it shouldn’t be. And then we get this interesting description. Verse 19, “His daughter-in-law, the wife of Phineas was pregnant and she was near the time of her delivery. Now, when she heard the news that the Ark of God had been captured and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she went into labor and she gave birth, but she was overcome by her labor pains. As she was dying, the women attending her said, “Don’t despair. You have given birth to a son,” but she didn’t respond or pay any attention and she named the boy,” What? In English we say Ichabod, but it’s literally Ichabod.

Ichabod basically means no glory or the glory has gone, chabed means weight, chabōd means glory, but it, again, it has to do with this idea that it’s heavy, that it’s weighty. Why would she name her child no glory. She’s saying that the Glory, [chabōd] it has departed from Israel. The weight of God is gone. Because of the capture of the Ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband, and she said the glory, the chabōd, has departed from Israel for the Ark of God has been captured. So there’s a play on words going back and forth and it’s built on the idea that these two words in Hebrew are so closely linked. It’s the idea that to give glory to something is to treat it like it has a lot of weight. Does that make sense?

To give glory to something is to treat it like it has a lot of weight, and that’s precisely what’s not happening in Israel. God is not being treated like he has a lot of weight. The weight that belonged to God is actually being put in all kinds of other things. For the people, they put their weight on their strategy rather than on God. Hophni and Phinehas are putting the weight on their appetites rather than on honoring God. Eli is putting his weight on his sons rather than honoring God. This is the source of their sin. There’s specific things that are happening in Israel, but honestly they’re the symptoms. The source of all of it is basically that the weight that belongs on God, the glory that belongs on God is going to other things, other things are being treated like they have weight.

That’s the source of their sin, and honestly, that’s the source of all sin. It’s kind of an interesting perspective on sin that we often don’t talk about, but here’s the truth, Church, sin is essentially a symptom of misplaced weight. Sin is a symptom of misplaced weight. Sin is what happens because we put weight on something that doesn’t deserve it and can’t handle it. Why do we lie? Because we put the weight on our fear of being found out. Why are we selfish? Because we put the weight on our appetites rather than on honoring God. Why are we materialistic? Because we put the weight on our possessions. Why do we break promises and vows? Because we put the weight on momentary pleasures. See, the sin is ultimately it’s a symptom of misplaced weight. And what Israel has discovered here is a pretty simple truth. It’s the answer to a very important question. What happens when we put the weight on things that don’t deserve it and can’t handle it? What happens when we take the weight that belongs on God and we put it on other things?

Israel has just discovered. But it’s a truth too that Jesus teaches. A very familiar story, you may have heard this even if you’re not spending much time in church or haven’t ever, if church is new to you, you’ve probably heard something like this. Jesus said this, Matthew 7:24 “See everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice, who gives weight to them, is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” It deserves it and it can handle it. “The rain came down, the streams rose up, the winds blew and they beat against that house and yet it did not fall because it had its foundations on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice, does not give them weight, is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” Doesn’t deserve it, can’t handle it. “The rain came down, the streams rose, the winds blew and they beat against that house and it fell with a great crash.”

What happens when we put weight on things that don’t deserve it and can’t handle it? Everything falls apart. Let’s be very clear. When we put the weight on anything other than God, everything falls apart. This is the lesson that Israel learned here. The good news is, they learned it the hard way. We don’t have to learn it the hard way. We can learn the lesson from God’s Word from what happened there, and we can make changes in our lives so that we don’t set ourselves up for the same kind of disaster. So, what do we need to do? Very simply, we need to identify the things that have more weight than they should, and we need to initiate a weight transfer. It’s all there is to it. Identify the things that we’re giving more weight to than they deserve or can handle, and we need to initiate a weight transfer, get those back on to God. And I believe every one of us has these things because the reality is that, unless we’re very careful, there’s a constant temptation to drift so that the weight that belongs on God is being slowly redistributed to things that simply cannot handle it and absolutely don’t deserve it.

We all run through that. I run through that. And so this is a constant process that we needed to do, to identify those places where it’s happening and then initiate a weight transfer back to the only one who deserves it and can handle it. So, how do we do that? How do we identify the things in our lives? Because I think we all do, but how do we push in to figure out what they are? Some of us immediately go, “I know exactly what it is.” And you don’t need me to go any further because as soon as I said it, you went, “I know the thing in my life that I’m putting way more weight on, and it doesn’t deserve it and it can’t handle it. And so you don’t need to go any further.” But some of us need to push into it a little bit.

And so what I teach you is three principles and three very simple questions that come from these principles that might help you to identify these things that we’re tempted to do this with. The first principle is just this. Our thoughts orbit what has weight in our lives. Our thoughts orbit around whatever has weight in our lives. We think about it a lot, we think about it too much. You know, think about, why does the earth go around the sun? Because the sun is heavier than everything else in the solar system, right? But you know what? Even if the sun’s light were to go away, and if it just became a cold, dark ball, we would continue to orbit it. We wouldn’t be able to see what it was that we were orbiting, but we would know that it was there because the orbit is still happening, right? We would know there was something with that kind of weight, even though it’s hard to discern, we would know that it was there because the planets are still orbiting it.

Our thoughts are the same way. We may not know exactly what the thing is, but we can pay attention to the orbit of our thoughts and go, “What is it that we keep orbiting around?” Because there’s some things that we just think about way too much and that’s a sign of how much weight that we’re giving them. You know, maybe there’s a relationship in your life that, man, you’re just obsessed with that relationship. And I know sometimes it’s a new relationship and that’s kind of normal at first, but over time, you might be in a place where you are so obsessed with that relationship that you realize, I’m actually giving way more weight to that than it deserves or it can handle. Maybe it’s your kids, maybe it’s your job, maybe it’s your career, maybe it’s a possession, maybe it’s politics. Can I say that on the 4th of July weekend?

We have these things that were so upset. We’re in orbit around them. What that demonstrates is they have more weight than they really should. And so we just ask ourselves that question, “What am I thinking about too much?” Or maybe I don’t even know if it’s too much, but what am I thinking about a lot? What occupies much of my thoughts these days? That might be a way that you can begin to push in on what is this thing that has this weight in my life?

Second principle is this, is that what has weight in our lives changes our plans. You know, sometimes an asteroid comes into the solar system from outside the solar system and when it does, it’s on a straight line. It’s just, you know, point to point to point, it’s going straight. But when it comes into the solar system, it moves past a planet or it moves past the sun and the weight of that thing changes the course of it. It’s no longer going straight, it’s now curving a little bit because it’s encountered something that has a lot more weight than it does. Our thoughts work the same way. Our plans work the same way. Sometimes we make plans, we go, “I’m gonna do that. I’m definitely gonna be there to do that. We’re gonna make this happen.” And then something happens to make us change the plans.

Now, understand, that happens as just a part of life sometimes. I get it. Life happens, we have to change plans occasionally. I’m talking about patterns. I’m talking about the person who goes, “Yeah, I’m definitely gonna make it to my kid’s soccer game this time.” But then something from work comes up, like it has the last five times, like it has for most of the times. We’re looking for these patterns where we go, “I’m gonna do this,” but then something causes us to change trajectory. Something causes us to change plans. So we ask these questions, is there something that regularly causes me to change plans that I’ve made? That might be an indicator of something in your life that has more weight than it really deserves.

And the third principle in question is just this. It’s, what has weight prevents us from making changes that we know we need to make. So sometimes the weight comes and we reckon it’s because we’re orbiting around it or because it’s changing our plans, but sometimes it’s the, we’re just locked to it. We go, “I know I need to go there. I know I need to do that thing. But this thing here is keeping me from making these changes that I know I need to make.” So we can say, “You know, I know I need to go to church more regularly. I know I need to be part of worship services in a more regular basis and I totally will as soon as the weather gets cold,” right? As soon as I can’t hike or bike or boat or whatever, then I’m definitely gonna do that thing I know I need to do.

Well, that might suggest something to you about something that has a little bit more weight than it should. Or we say, “Yeah, I’m definitely gonna get more involved with my life group, and I’m going to be much more connected to my church. I’m definitely gonna do that as soon as it’s very clear that the Broncos are out,” right? “That there’s no chance of them going all the way, then I’ll,” see, it’s something that’s keeping us from making change. We go, “I know I need to spend more time reading God’s Word. I know I need to start the day off with a little bit of time of prayer and reading from God’s Word, I know that’s what, I’m definitely gonna do that. Tomorrow morning, definitely gonna do it, but, you know, right now, I’m just gonna watch that one more episode of that show on Netflix.” And then that next episode, and then it’s 3:00 AM. And Netflix has asked us, two or three times, “Are you still watching? Are you sure you are?” And so we go to bed at 3:00 AM and when the clock goes off in the morning to get us up to do our time with God, we’re like, “Oh, I gotta hit snooze a couple of times.” And when that happens pretty regularly, that says, honestly, there’s something in your life that maybe has a little bit more weight than it should, and you know it because it’s keeping you from making changes that you know you need.

And so we ask ourselves, what is regularly preventing me from making changes that I know I need to make? Those are three very powerful questions for identifying that thing that has more weight than it should. Now, if you really wanna push in and figure out what those things are, that have more weight in your life then they should. You’re not just gonna ask yourself these questions, you’re gonna ask somebody else these questions. Somebody else that knows you really well, your husband, your wife, a good friend, somebody that knows you well, you’re gonna ask them, “Hey, would you shoot straight with me? Do you think there’s something that I’m thinking about too much? Do you think there’s something that is pretty consistently causing me to change plans that I’ve made? Do you think there’s something that you’ve noticed that’s keeping me from making changes I need to make?”

If you really wanna push in you’re going to ask somebody who knows you well to speak that truth into your life. That’s a hard thing. It’s a vulnerable thing. But it may be that somebody else can identify it through these questions, something that you might be blinded to. Because the reality is that often that the weight distribution that’s happened to these other things, it doesn’t happen consciously, we don’t do it on purpose, but it does it over time, and we wake up one day and we realize that we have put way too much weight on things that don’t deserve it and cannot handle it, and we’re setting ourselves up for a fall. So we need to identify these things. And when we’ve identified these things, what do we do? We initiate a weight transfer. The good news is, this one’s a lot easier.

The real hard work is figuring out those things that have more weight than they should. The actual weight transfer is easier than you think it would be. Here’s what we do. We’re basically, we’re gonna do three things, three simple things. We’re gonna repent, we’re gonna request, and we’re gonna receive. Repent, request, and receive. What are we gonna repent? We’re gonna repent of those things that have more weight. So we’re gonna turn around and we’re gonna make a commitment to God, once we’ve identified those things, we’re gonna turn around from, and we’re gonna say to God, “I see it. I know it. I know it’s got more weight. I’m sorry about that. I’m gonna turn it off.” And we’re going to make a commitment to God to take the weight off of that thing and put it back on him. That’s repentance, and it is the key that unlocks the power of God and the forgiveness of God in your life. So we have to call it what it is. We can’t vacillate. We can’t, “You know, It’s kind of maybe, sort of, maybe it’s not ideal, God, I don’t know.” “Hey, God, I’ve taken some of your weights and literally I’ve put it on this thing. It doesn’t deserve it. It can’t handle it. I’m sorry. I’ll call it what it is, turn it around, put it back on you.” You’re gonna repent.

Second thing we’re gonna do is we’re gonna request. What we’re gonna request is we’re gonna request strength from God to keep that commitment. Because the reality is, a lot of times, you know, we speak some truth like this and we go, “I’ve already done this. I’ve already seen it, I’ve identified it, and I’ve said, “God, I’m sorry.” I’ve said, “God, forgive me.” I’ve said, “I’m not gonna allow that thing to have the weight in my life.” And I’ve done that a dozen times, I’ve done that, I’ve done it 100 times and I’m still screwing it up.

Okay. Then what we need is God’s strength to do what we can’t do on our own. So we’re gonna request God to give us the strength to keep that commitment. This is a prayer that God will always answer. I promise you. The moment you ask that, that strength is available to you. Now, whether or not we choose to make use of it, that’s up to us, but the strength is there. The third thing we’re gonna do is we’re gonna receive, what are we going to receive? We’re going to receive that strength. I promise you, when you ask God for the strength to keep that weight on him, he will give it to you. You’re gonna receive the strength, but you’re also gonna receive forgiveness.

One of the things I think that often keeps us from taking advantage of that strength is the sense of guilt and shame that we’ve already tried this, we’ve already messed this up so many times, we’ve already taken the weight off of God and put it on other things and things begin to crack under that pressure because they don’t deserve it and they can’t handle it, but I keep doing it, God. And that sense of shame and guilt makes us feel like, like I’m just stuck in an endless cycle here. But you need to understand that when you request that strength and when you repent, there’s a forgiveness that comes that wipes the slate clean and we start over, we start fresh that day.

You understand, Jesus didn’t die on the cross for that one time that you took weight and you put it on something that didn’t deserve it and couldn’t handle it. He didn’t die for the second time you did it with the same thing or the third time or the fifth time or the 10th Time or the 50th or the hundredth or the thousand. He died for every single time. Jesus died on the cross to forgive every sin, which is ultimately a symptom of this misplaced weight. He died for every single instance. So we identify those things, we initiate a weight transfer. We repent, we request, and we receive it, the strength and the forgiveness. Would you pray with me?

As followers of Jesus, let’s just have a moment where we confess to God, those things that even at this moment he has revealed to us that have more weight than they should. Holy Spirit, we just invite you to have your way with us and to bring these things to mind. If not in this moment, Lord, then maybe through these questions that we reflect on this week, through even asking these questions of somebody who knows us well, O Lord, would you move, and would you take off the blinders, would you pull back the curtain, would you shed light on the reality of these things that have more weight than they should. Things that we’re putting weight on that they don’t deserve it and they can’t handle it. Lord, as we become aware of these things, we repent, we call it what it is and then we turn back and we say, “Lord, you and you alone deserve the weight. You and you alone deserve honor. You and you alone deserve glory.” And so we commit to giving it to you and you alone.

But Lord, as your people, we recognize, we don’t have the strength to do that on our own and so we request strength from you. God, pour your strength into our lives. Give us the ability to initiate this weight transfer and to keep that weight on you. And Lord, right now we receive from you strength, and we receive from you forgiveness. Thank you that no matter how many times we messed this one up, no matter how many times we take weight and glory away from you and give it to things that don’t deserve it and can’t handle it and thank you. No matter how many times we do that, there is always mercy, there’s always grace, there is always forgiveness, there’s always a fresh start. So, Lord, we received that fresh start today.

If you’re a follower of Jesus, would you just begin praying for the people around you, people that are watching online from all over the world and all of our different locations? Would you begin praying for them? Because I believe in all of our locations, we have people that they don’t have a relationship with this God. They don’t have a relationship with a Father who can be trusted with the weight of their lives. And let me speak to you for a moment if that’s you, if you know you don’t have that relationship with God. It may be that in this message today, a light bulb went on, a truth clicked into place and you realize that maybe part of the reason that life has been such a struggle for you, it just feels like everything is constantly crumbling under your feet is because you have put the weight on something that doesn’t deserve it and cannot handle it. And I believe by the power of the Holy Spirit, you know exactly what that thing is, or maybe those things are. And you’re realizing for the first time that you have an opportunity right now to take the weight off of those things and put it on the only One who deserves it and who can handle it, because he loves you. This is how much he loves you.

He sent his own Son to pay the penalty of all of the sin that results from that misplaced weight. We’ve all sinned, we’ve all fallen short, and the consequence of that is a separation from God, because of our choices we’re separated from the One that we’ve taken the weight away from and put on other things. There’s a penalty for that, but God loves you so much he sent his own Son to pay the price of that. Jesus lived a perfect life. He died on the cross to pay the price of our sin. Three days later, he rose from the dead to prove that the weight of sin could not hold him down. That’s a fact of history. The grave is empty.

Faith comes in when we decide to trust what he did for us. And if you’ve never done that, if you’d never put your faith in Jesus, and allowed him to forgive your sins and to take that weight and to put it on the only one who can handle it. But if you’re ready to say yes, to put your faith in Jesus, would you just slip your hand up right now? That’s awesome. Fantastic. That’s awesome. If you’re watching online, just click the button right below me, and wherever you are, you just, in your heart, just have this conversation with God. I’ll lead you in it. Just say:

God, I’ve done wrong. I’ve sinned. I’m sorry. I understand that my sin is a symptom of misplaced weight. I’ve put it on other things that can’t handle it, don’t deserve it, and I’m sorry. Jesus, thank you for dying to set me free. Thank you for paying the price of my sin. I believe you rose from the dead, and so right now I’m saying yes to you. I’m putting my faith in you. I’m choosing to trust you, to put the weight on you, Jesus. I receive forgiveness, and new life, freedom from all the weight, and a relationship with a God who’s the only one who can handle it. I’m yours for now and forever. Amen.

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