Creflo Dollar - How To Be Flexible
We have been talking about emotional maturity and how important it is to get that working in our life. And so now we're going to actually break it down. And so one of the first paths that we talked about is that this is a big sign that lets you know that you are emotionally mature, and that is when you are able to be flexible about things that happen in your life. You'd be amazed the number of people that crumble because they're not emotionally mature enough to just understand that things don't always work out exactly like you plan for them to work out. But emotionally mature Christians, what they'll do is that they understand that flexibility is, it means that you're able to adapt. It's the ability to adapt to change. That's a skill that you can have. The ability to recognize that if plan A didn't work plan B will work.
So what we're going to look at here tonight is I want you to take a look at yourself as we're talking about this tonight and I want you to examine in your life where is it that you kind of get stuck sometime and it seems like you're a little unwilling to adapt, to go to plan B, and it's okay. You know, the way I look at it is sometimes when things don't go exactly how I wanted them to go maybe they just didn't need to go that way, maybe God's just trying to direct me. A lot of times it's what we want and we haven't taken the time to find out what God wants. And so I'm okay with things. Now, I wasn't always like that. I wasn't always okay. I had the plan. I thought I had heard from God at the beginning. It didn't work. Now I'm frustrated, mad and I'm trying to fight through and make something happen that maybe wasn't supposed to happen in the first place.
So I think that flexibility can be a blessing. So the last time we got together, not the last time, but when we first started on this we talked about flexibility being something that is so important where leaders are concerned and we talked about flexibility being something that we need to adapt to change. And tonight I want to just get into a lot of Scriptures. I want to talk tonight and start off here, and this was the third step. Jesus Christ demonstrated flexibility in that being the Son of God he became the Son of Man. So we want to look at Jesus Christ and the flexibility that showed up in his life, especially when it came to the Son of God being flexible enough and adaptable enough to become the Son of Man so that the sons of men, would be us, could become the sons of God. But if it were not his willingness to be flexible we would never be the sons of God, but Jesus became flexible enough to do that.
So let's look at a few Scriptures there, and I want to move as quickly as I can tonight to get as much in as I possibly can. St. John chapter 1 and verse 14, and the very first part of that says, "And the Word," which is Jesus, "was made flesh, and it dwelt amongst us". The Word, which is Jesus, was made flesh, and it dwelt amongst us. This is just total, I mean, consistently you see him being flexible. The Word made flesh, and he dwelt amongst us because he saw the situation we were in. And then Philippians chapter 2, verses 5 through 8 here's another Scripture that talks about the flexibility of Jesus.
Philippians chapter 2, verses 5 through 8 he said, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," watch this, "but made himself of no reputation, and he took upon him the form of a servant..." That's flexible, right? "The form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross".
Here's what I have to say about that. If Jesus can become adaptable and flexible, notice it wasn't supposed to work out like this. We were supposed to be perfect. We were created to be immortal. We were never supposed to die. I mean, thank God that plan A didn't work, but God had a plan B and a plan C, amen? And in some of our lives he has a plan A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K. He is extremely flexible, and that really speaks to me that if I want to be the man of God, the Christian that I believe God wants me to be I can't get into this thing where I'm just stuck on plan A. And you know what I call being stuck on plan A? Religious.
The Bible says that your tradition has made the Word of God of no effect, and I believe right there what he is saying is your refusal to be flexible, okay, your refusal to adapt to the situation that's at hand. Thank God that he was able to adapt to the fact that... what Adam and Eve did caused us all to be made sin, but God Almighty adapted to that situation and came up with a plan, Lord have mercy, to deliver us out of that whole thing. So listen, if the Godhead is demonstrating adaptability, how is it that as Christian people we think it's just nonsense for us to become flexible?
1 Timothy chapter 3:16. Look at this. 1 Timothy 3:16 he says, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto Gentiles, believed on in the world, and received up to glory". No, if you read that Scripture again, here's what it says. A lot of adapting went on there. A lot of flexibility went on there. And I never even thought about it reading that Scripture before that he demonstrated, Jesus demonstrated flexibility. Well, I want to demonstrate that in my life. I want to just see things happen and when the plan doesn't work, okay?
All right. So you're like planned on getting the big house and for some reason it didn't work. Just pause a little bit. You just got to believe that you're dependent on God and God's got you. So maybe you didn't need it right now. Maybe there was something you didn't know about it. Maybe it was something that was being hidden from you that you were not aware of, and you got to understand that God's ultimate plan is good for you. Ultimately, all of the things we go through, at the end of the day his objective is his goodness to be seen in your life. So quit, you know, quitting on God and, you know, "Where was God, and how come God let that happen, and why God didn't do that, and how come God blessing them and not blessing me"? Just be willing to be flexible and follow the example of Jesus Christ. If you understand that, say, "Amen".
Number four, what else do we learn about flexibility, flexibility requires living above circumstances and conditions. Flexibility requires living above circumstances and conditions, the circumstances and the conditions of life. You know, I was thinking. Today I was driving and I thought, "You know what? There are two very interesting things that I'm really excited about God talking to me about". And it's, number one, time and, number two, life itself. Those are two very interesting entities that when I get to heaven explain time. Because when we die and everything's over with down here, we're going to step out of time into eternity.
Man, that time is something else, and then this thing called life. This thing called life; that when you enter into life you enter into all of the circumstances, all of the conditions, all of the things you go through through life and you got to understand there's probably a reason that God allows us to live because I think this is our college for eternity, you know. I think this is our institute of learning for eternity, and that's why... I don't know, I'm pretty cool with the fact that, you know, if I'm not able to teach you from the Bible, life will teach you. And some people, they die as a result of life. They don't figure it out and they don't learn things. They just kind of keep going and fighting against something that was actually designed to mature them, to help them, to raise them up, to cause them to be better.
Now, I don't know if everything that we are going through in this physical body and in this life, I don't know how much of an advantage it's going to give us in eternity. I have no idea, but I just know that this is not a waste of time. And it's going to be very interesting and the way things are going on the earth we're going to be finding out pretty soon, but it's very interesting time and life. And so if you're going to mature emotionally, you're going to have to demonstrate flexibility in the area of your circumstances and all of the conditions of life. Look at Philippians chapter 4, verses 11 through 13. This is probably one of the most, you know, off-the-line series I've ever talked about, but I continue to look at people.
And it's not that they don't know Scriptures in the Bible, it's just emotionally they are children. There's no growth emotionally and I don't think it will be unless we start talking about it, you see. And so Philippians 4, verse 11 through 13 says, "Not that I speak in respect of want," Paul says, "for I've learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be," watch this, "content". Not complacent, but I've learned to be content. "I know both how to be abased. I know how to abound". What do you hear Paul saying here? "I know how to be flexible," right? "I know how to be abased. I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I'm instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need". He says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me".
In other words, Christ is going to take me through everything; but we see Paul saying here, "Listen, I've learned how to be flexible". It's amazing that all the years I've been in ministry I never related these Scriptures to something that was a part of our emotional maturity, and that is learning how to be flexible. Paul said, "I've been up. I've been down. I know how to have things. I know how not to have things". And I think what happens with us is because we really hadn't thought about flexibility in our Christian life that maybe there are some things by mistake we're pretty flexible and in other things we fall apart. We fall apart. It's like, "Okay, I got plenty of food. I'm great. Oh, I'm down to my last can". And then you fall apart, and that's when the lessons come through.
That's when you can really learn some amazing things if you don't fall apart and you learn how to live above the circumstances and above the conditions of life. That's opportunity to grow and mature spiritually. There's opportunity to grow mature in your emotional position in your life. But crumbling and falling to pieces and, "Oh, I'm going to kill myself. Oh, I'm going to jump out of a building. Oh, I'm going to do something foolish. Oh, I'm going to go get drunk". That's falling to pieces because plan A didn't work, and you've got to learn how to live above your circumstances and the conditions that show up in your life; and Paul demonstrates this definitely in Philippians chapter 4.
All right, check this out. In the NIV I'm going to read this. 1 Corinthians 4:9 through 13. 1 Corinthians 4:9 through 13. I figured if we talked about this first two sessions and then I go show you the Scriptures you can say, you can do like I'm doing. I'm like, "Wow, there it is right there. There it is right there". And so why am I spending so much time on flexibility? It's the number one path that reveals your emotional maturity, but I also think it's worth spending time on flexibility because it's the thing that I believe you're going to require more than anything because of all the things that life brings, okay, while we're in this particular time.
1 Corinthians 4, verse 9 through 13 in the NIV he says, "For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are honored. We are dishonored. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty. We're in rags. We're brutally treated. We're homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless. When we are persecuted, we endure. When we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world right up to this moment".
Wow. So I mean, they're demonstrating that if... listen, I am mature in my emotions. Look at the circumstances that happen in the life of an apostle, and he says notice that we constantly find ourselves adjusting. We're cursed, but we adjust, we're blessed. We're persecuted. We endure it. We're slandered. Look at it. So whatever the world brings, whatever life brings, he said it requires an adjustment, okay? You don't want to just respond the way somebody deals with you. That's not going to cause you to grow any. But what happens is when they deal with you in slander make the adjustment, okay? Make the adjustment. Be flexible.
"I'll deal with you in kindly," okay? You know, you want to think; well, even as an apostle, you go and you help people. You do all these things to folks and... don't expect anybody to pat you on the back. You know, get the... that happen in heaven. That ain't going to happen here. I wonder when people come to me talking about, "I believe I want to go into ministry". Boy, you hear that right? 'Cause you are about to be called the scum of the earth, and you make the adjustments. And so that's what's, I really think that, you know, God's been good to me, man. You know, I'm healed. I'm recovering. It just feels great. You understand what I'm saying?
I mean, I'm getting my energy back. And I'm like, you know, I'm learning that this is probably one of the most important things I can implement in my life: being flexible. And somehow I'm trying to see if I can teach it to World Changers and teach it to the crew, and this may be like them, really the most important thing I've ever had to share with you because it's, I mean, think about what I'm saying to you. I'm saying there's... how's the devil going to defeat somebody who is spiritually mature enough to be flexible? I mean, you bend but you don't break. He wants you to think you'll break by bending. That's what you do when you're flexible.
Okay, so let's look at number five. Number five, flexibility has to do with being... watch this. This is really good. Flexibility has something to do with being open and willing to do things God's way. Flexibility has everything to do with being open and willing to do things God's way. Wow, to do things God's way. Be open and willing, I see the word "yielding," okay? Open and willing and I see the prayer, "Lord, let your will be done". Are you open and are you willing to do things God's way? I mean, after all you check out how you've been doing things. Maybe it's not working out real well, okay? I'm open to doing it God's way. I mean, I think if we do it God's way, that's the best way. Do it first. All right?
Get it over with. You don't have to be begging God to fix stuff, you know, amen? So say this out loud: "I am open and willing to do things God's way". And I think that's what God's asking us to do. That's what wisdom is all about. Wisdom is knowing what to do when you don't know what to do and being open to do it God's way. We live in a world right now where people are so self-absorbed and they continue to make plans according to their plans and they continue to do things according to their way; and some of them you're not going to talk out of it, some of them are going to just continue to do that.
Well, I believe a lot of us, we just don't want to continue to do that. We want to say, "I'm open to do it your way, Lord. I'm open to be a husband the way you want me to be a husband". Open to be a wife the way God wants you to be a wife. Open to do things his way, and that is a total dependence upon God. That is something that's so valuable to our lives. Look at Hebrews chapter 6:3. This is just real short and sweet. I love this, how he says this in Hebrews 6:3. He says, "And this will we do, if God permit". It wasn't, "This is what I'm going to do". They said, "We'll do this, if God permits it". That is a person who says, "You know what, God? I'm not willing to do anything if you're not going to permit it, but I'll do what I need to do if you permit it".
And look at James chapter 4, verse 13 through 15; James chapter 4, verse 13 through 15. This is really good. "Go to now, ye that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city". And those that'll say, "And we'll continue there a year," and those that'll say, "And we're going to buy, and we're going to sell, and we're going to get gain". "Whereas you know not what shall be on tomorrow. For what is your life? It's even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time and then it vanishes away". He says, "For that you ought to say, 'If the Lord will, we shall live and do this or do that.'" You remember your mama or grandmamma saying, you know, "Grandma, we'll see you tomorrow". She said, "If it's the Lord's will".
You say, "Well, Grandmamma, why you say that"? "Well, if it's the Lord's will". "Well, we going to eat tomorrow"? "If it's the Lord's will". "You going to cook that cake"? "Baby, if it's the Lord's will". "Got dog, why everything got to be the Lord's will"? They were sensitive to the fact that, listen, we don't know what's going to happen on tomorrow. And so we want to be able to do this or that if God permits it, but even stronger we don't want to do what he doesn't permit 'cause we could get in trouble. In fact, a lot of us we've already gotten in trouble doing a lot of things that God has not permitted, amen?
So seek to do as he permits and check with him. There are times where I'm like, "Okay, God, do you permit this"? You know, when I went to Sacramento because of my integrity, you know, I knew I wasn't supposed to go, but I gave my word and I would go and I almost died in that car accident. I'm thinking, "Man, I should have said if it's the Lord's will". 'Cause I found out today I know that no is a complete sentence. You know, I don't have to explain it. "What do you mean no"? It's a complete sentence. I capitalize the N. It's No, amen? Open and willing to do things God's way, if you permit it.
Look at this in Acts chapter 18 and verse 21, Acts 18 and verse 21. Here's what he says. I'm going to read this out of NIV. Acts 18 through 21 he says, "But as he left, he promised, 'I will come back if it is God's will.' Then he set sail for Ephesus". I just started noticing, wow, these people are really interested in it being God's will before they decide, "I'm going to do this," and "I'm going to do that". And I'm like, "What's the lesson we want to learn"?
I think we will avoid a lot of traps if we're really hungry to do God's will. And you know what? I believe all the promises of God are somehow encased within the life of people who are after his will. Be after God's will. Get up in the morning and saying, "Lord, I want your will to be done in my life today". But you know what that's going to require? The person who has a desire to want God's will every day, you know what that's going to require? Flexibility. Are you willing to be flexible enough to change your plans?