Creflo Dollar - Live Your Life Yielded To God - Part 2
"Jesus told the story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness," they had great confidence in their own righteousness, that's the first problem. Shouldn't be your own righteousness. Should be his righteousness, "and scorned everyone else". Now watch what he does, "Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee. The other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer", now watch the prayer this dude pray. It's a self-righteous prayer. Watch this. "I thank you, God, that I am not like other people". Golly, you just wanna lay one on 'em, right? Just, and look how he describes other people, "I am not a cheater. I'm not like other people, cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I'm certainly not like that tax collector". Check him out.
Now watch this. Watch the arrogance. "I fast twice a week", I ain't got no problem with you fastin', but look at what you're doin' here, "and I give you a tenth of all my income". He's building hisself up like, you know, "I give a tenth of all my income, hallelujah, and I fast, hallelujah". Watch this, "But the tax collector stood at a distance", he should've 'cause lightning was about to hit. "But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven, and he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, 'O God, be merciful". Merciful, mercy is the bad you deserve you don't get. "'Be merciful to me. I'm a sinner.' I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God," because he exalted himself instead of allowing God to exalt him. That's self-righteousness. That's not what we want. That's not what we want. We don't want self-righteousness, and religion operates the same way.
Religion operates through guilt and fear. You come to church, and you're not supposed to come to church and get shamed. No, you're not supposed to come to church and get a double-dose of guilt. You're not supposed to come to church and get condemned. I mean, some people come to church, they know they goin' to hell. You ain't gotta tell 'em. They already know, and they feel full of shame. They feel full of guilt, but they're not supposed to come to church and get more of it. "Boy, I tell you, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Oughts to be ashamed of yourself. You know, God don't like ugly, and I'm gon' tell you right now, you don't start comin' to church on a regular basis, you gon' be in hell by 12 o'clock tomorrow. I guarantee you".
Don't nobody wanna hear that. I'm here 'cause I know I got symptoms. Tell me somethin' I don't know. Tellin' me I'm a no-good-for-nothing sinner on my way to hell? There are some people, that's why they, "I'm here. I'm tryin' not to go there. Show me somethin'. Tell me somethin'". But somehow, religion says, "No, no, no, no, no, I'm gon' make you feel guilty. I'm gon' put a bunch of fear on you. I'm gon' put a bunch of shame on you. I'm gon' make you feel inferior," and, somehow, if I keep doin' that, I think that's gonna keep you comin' back. That's developing a guilt and a fear consciousness, developing a sin consciousness and usin' that to hope that you can come back, and it's like that drug pusher.
You know, dependency on guilt is what keeps religion alive. Dependency on guilt is what keeps religion well, and that drug dealer gives you just a little taste of drugs just to keep you comin' back. Well, I tell you, once you become the righteousness of God because of what Jesus has done, those days will be over with forever because I am not righteous because of my performance. I am not righteous because of what I do or don't do. I am righteous because I made my mind up to believe in a Savior. I made my mind up to believe in a Jesus, and I have been made righteous because of what Jesus has done. I am the righteousness of God. Now here's what I wanna talk about today, heh. I was just thinkin' about this. I'mma say this a couple of times. I want you to think about it.
Now, do I humble myself by what I do, or do I humble myself because of who I am in Christ? Let me say that again. Do I humble myself by what I do, or do I humble myself because of who I am in Christ? Because I am the righteousness of God. I am the righteousness of God. I wanna humble myself based on who I am in Christ. I don't wanna humble myself based on what I do because the day you believe you're righteous, you're gon' start doin' righteous. Now your identity is determining your behavior instead of your behavior determine your identity. "Oh, I did somethin' wrong, so I must be a bad person," versus, watch this, "I did somethin' wrong", watch this, watch this, It's gonna crinkle what's your religion. "I did somethin' wrong, but I'm still the righteousness of God".
That's what's gonna straighten that behavior out. You're not gonna straighten the behavior out by allowing, "I did somethin' wrong," and condemnation comes, and shame comes, and now that's tryin' to reshape your identity. No, you gotta stick with your identity. "I did somethin' wrong. I'm still the righteousness of God". How can you say that? "Jesus, you're still righteous"? "Yes". "I'm still the righteousness of God". That's the thing I need to tell y'all. Born-again people have issues. What are you, you think you got born again and flawless at that point? If that could happen, Jesus completely wasted his time, his body, and his blood, dying on the cross. "God helps those who helps themselves". No, God helps those who need help.
Somebody told me, they said, "Like the Bible said, 'God helps those who helps themselves,'" and I looked it up, and I said, "Benjamin Franklin said that". God helps those who need help, and you know what? I need help. I need help every day of my life. It never gon' be a day where I don't need help, so I already put it in my prayer every day, "Lord, I need you today". That's a powerful thing that happens in the arena of your behavior when you can understand that it's your identity that determines your behavior, and it should not be your behavior that determines your identity 'cause what happens, if it's your behavior and you let it mess with your identity, then you're just gonna continue to misbehave, and then you're gon' try to fix it in the behavioral realm, and that's an identity issue.
Everything Satan had ever done started with attacking the identity first, and he's still tryin' to attack your identity in righteousness, and you cannot let that happen. I'm tellin' you, if you're goin' through hell or high water, you've got to know "I am the righteousness of God". You're being attacked. "I am the righteousness of God," amen. You would be surprised the number of condemned, guilty people that come to church every Sunday, and I pray, "Lord, help me to say something to let them know that you have not quit on them. You will never quit on them. You've got their back. Let them understand that they are the righteousness of God".
In fact, ladies and gentlemen, just do this for me. Humor me. Would you say, "I'm the righteousness of God," two times? Say it. And keep confessin' that until you believe it, especially when you feel that the enemy is surroundin' you with condemnation and shame. Shame is everywhere. The world has perfected shaming people, tryin' to shame people out of what they believe, tryin' to shame people out of what they've done. They wanna define you by your one bad day, and you can't let that happen. This is our time, ladies and gentlemen. This season is comin' up. We're in it right now. The return of the Lord is at hand. God is about to show out in you, and I'm ready because I know I need him, amen.
Now, let's look at these scriptures here. Let's get rockin' and rollin' here. Ephesians chapter 2, verse 8 through 9, let's look at it in the King James and then in the NLT. Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 through 9, in the King James and the NLT. Verse 8, says, "For God", excuse me, "For by grace are you saved". You're saved by grace. Grace made it available. You're saved by grace, salvation from grace, salvation because of Jesus. "For by grace are you saved," but how did you get it? "Through faith," faith takes possession of what grace has made available, all right? "For by grace are you saved through faith and," notice, "and that it's not of yourself. It is the", what? "The gift of God". So if it's the gift of God, he said, "It's not of works, lest any man should boast". When it's a gift, he gets the credit. If it's by work, you get the credit.
All right, look at this in the New Living Translation, "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this. You can't take credit for this. It is a gift from God". Jesus gets the credit. "Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it". Salvation's not a reward for the good things you've done. I don't know about you, but when I got saved, it absolutely was not because of the good things I have done. But what is that thing on the inside of some human beings that really strive to wanna be important? That's pride, workin' real hard to be important. "How many names can I drop so you can know I'm important"? Hah-hah, yeah, workin' real hard to try to be important. "Ah, I don't wanna do that. I know Jesus. He knows me. We good. You can't do nothin' for me when I got Jesus".
That's the thing Abraham saw when Melchizedek told him, you know, "Here is the possessor of heaven and earth". And Abraham, like, "What? The possessor of heaven and earth wanna have somethin' to do with me? Well, I don't need nothin' this world got to offer 'cause I got the possessor of heaven and earth," and it's the same thing with us. He gave us his Son. He'll give us everything we need. Why? He gave us his Son. So what you gotta do is "I am important to God, and that's about all that matters, right"? And so there's good things we have done. No, you're not gettin' somethin' because of the good things you have done. I gotta get you out of the way so that you can see the greatness of God showin' up in your life, doin' some amazing things.
Let's look at Titus chapter 3, verse 5, King James, and then NLT. Titus chapter 3, verse 5, King James, and the NLT. Ooh-wooh, we believe God, man. We believe God. He is my source. He is my supply house. He is everything I'll ever need. I trust him. I rely on him. Every day I wake up, I'm relying on him, praise God. I'm depending on him. I'm declaring my dependence on him. You know, I believe that that's a thread that goes through the Bible. I really, really do. Just check this out just for a moment though. I'll be right here, but I really believe, I mean, I'm lookin' at the Bible, and I'm searchin'. I believe this whole thing is about independence from God versus dependence. Start off with Lucifer in heaven.
What was that about? That was about Lucifer convincing a third of the angels to declare their independence from God. They were simply saying, "We don't need you". Then we go down to the garden of Eden, and Lucifer shows up. Satan shows up in the garden of Eden, lyin', tryin' to set them up and saying to them very simply, "You eat the fruit of that tree, you are gonna be just like God. You don't need him". And they declared their independence when they responded and ate the fruit of the tree. Man became a rebel declaring he doesn't need God.
Now, that's crazy because everything God created knows that they need God. The sun and the rotation of the earth knows it needs God. The vegetable kingdom know it needs God. The animal kingdom know it needs God. The fish know they need God. Birds of the air know they need God. And man absolutely thought to himself, "I don't need God. I don't need God". He says, "We need to fix that, so I'm gon' put them in a situation, and in that situation, I'mma give 'em a whole bunch of rules and regulations and say, 'All right, you don't need me? Go ahead, Bubba. Let's see if you can keep 613 of these babies. Go on, and see. Show me whatcha got.'" They failed miserably, and Jesus shows up, and he does things for you out of his grace, out of his unrestrained love. He does things you didn't earn, you didn't ask for, and you don't deserve because, finally, salvation is for people who now know "I need a Savior. I need a Savior. I need a Savior".
How many of you ever been in a ditch, had no idea how you got in that ditch? But it helped you to recognize, "I need a Savior. I need a Savior. I need a Savior". What this now, Titus chapter 3 and 5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of the regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost". Look at this in the NLT. Look at him, look at him, look at him, look at him, how he works. He loves us, man. I depend on him. The very law of mankind should be total dependence upon God. I depend on him. Until you learn how to depend on God, let me tell ya somethin', man. That's the key right now. If you're gonna accomplish anything in this season, in this crazy time, you gotta depend on God.
You've got to know your God. You've got to depend on him. You've got to lean on him. I depend on God for everything. If they run out of the food in the grocery store, I depend on God. If a angel gotta come with a tray, we gon' eat 'cause I depend on God. And I declare my dependence on God. He said, "He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done. He saved us not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy, he saved us". He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and a new life through the Holy Spirit. My goodness. Look at Philippians chapter 3, verses 3 through 9, in the NLT. Philippians chapter 3, verses 3 through 9, in the NLT. "Dog, preacher, why we goin' so much, I love openin' the Bible. I love lookin' at it and checkin' it out, and then I just, oh, I just love it".
You know, some preachers think that they know everything. You just know some, and another one know another one, and another one know another, so hush your mouth. You don't know it all. I got some stuff I believed 20 years ago, and it's changed now. I wanna keep growin'. I don't wanna get stuck in one place. I wanna keep goin'. I mean, what I knew five years ago, show me somethin' else, God. See, I wanna know how deep he is and how high he is and how wide he is, and I ain't nowhere near that deep. I ain't nowhere near that high, that wide, but I do know that not one man has it all, so I pause a whole lot of times. I hear somebody say somethin', and I'm thinkin', and then I think, well, hold on a minute.
Let me just go on and hold that thing for a moment, boy, 'cause I might not understand enough to be able to even disagree or to comment. Some people don't know enough to make no commentaries. Some, they need to go shut up and commentary yourself at home. Be quiet for a minute, you know? 'Cause you're now living a life that maybe you didn't think it was possible for you to live, and you're believing in faith and understandin' the faith of Jesus Christ like never before, and you're seein' some amazing things happen in your life. And, before, you might've been a member of another denomination, thinkin' that "Them people down there at that convention, there's somethin' wrong with them". And now lookit, they talkin' about you now. Somethin' wrong with you 'cause you one of them people down in that convention. Welcome, heh-heh-heh, hah-hah-hah.
All right, watch this, verse 3, "For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised". That's interesting. "We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us". I rely and depend on the finished works of Jesus. I rely and depend on what Christ Jesus has done for us. "We put no confidence in human effort", this is strong, "though I could have," Paul said, now check this out. Paul was sayin', "I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could". And then he starts giving you his profile. "Indeed, if others have reasons for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more".
Now watch him. He said, "I was circumcised when I was eight years old. I'm a pure-blooded citizen of Israel. I'm a member of the tribe of Benjamin. I'm a real Hebrew if there ever was one. I was a member of the Pharisees, who demanded the strictest obedience to the Jewish laws. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church". He did all that persecution because he was zealous about the law that he lived under. He said, "And as for righteousness, man, I obeyed the law without fault". Sounds a little self-righteous doesn't it? Okay, "I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain", what? "Christ".