Creflo Dollar - Learning From The Experience of Others
We've been talking about emotional maturity, and I think it's so important to stick there for a moment. But if you have your Bibles, go to Proverbs chapter 18, verse 15 in the NIV. We'll start there tonight. Just to kind of update you and pick you up on some things, we've been talking about the signs of emotional maturity and why it's so important to mature emotionally because that's... if left untapped and if we leave our emotions and we don't grow in our emotions, they become a pretty powerful force that we have to deal with when attacked by negative things. And so it's important that as Christian people that we not only know how vital it is to mature spiritually, but it's also as important for us to mature emotionally.
And so we've been talking about; I mean, how do you know when you're going down the path of emotional maturity. How do you know that? Number one, we talked about being flexible and that if plan A doesn't work there's a plan B, and with God there's a plan C, D, E, F, G, okay? He'll never give up on you, and you don't give up on him, amen? And then we talked about the second way to notice that is to take ownership and responsibility. Emotionally-mature people take ownership. They take responsibility for their stuff. And you know what? They don't play the blame game, amen?
Number three, how do you know I'm going down the right path of emotional maturity? You know that you don't need to know everything. It is so pleasant to me that when I run into situations or I'm in counseling with somebody and they ask me a question and I don't know, I feel very comfortable saying, "I don't know, but I know who knows. I know God knows. I know the wisdom is available". Wisdom is available for those who don't know everything, and so wisdom is literally knowing what to do when you don't know what to do. You ever been in a situation where you just didn't know what to do? And it's so awesome to trust God and that wisdom now is being made available to you.
And then last week or... yeah, last week we talked about this fourth area, this fourth sign to tell that you are growing and maturing in your emotions, and that is you're learning, you look to learn and you look to grow from every opportunity, everything that happens that, if it's, over the last 3 years the thing that's really blessed me is to go back and to look at everything that I've gone through, things that I've encountered and ask the question, "What is it that I need to get out of this? What is it that I need to take from this thing? How can I get stronger from this situation"?
And I didn't think it would do what it's done, but it's really made a difference. It's like, you know, I look for every opportunity to learn something in that opportunity, and it kind of eliminates "Why did this happen to me"? and now it brings in the point of "What is it you want me to get out of this"? And so you continue to grow and you continue to mature and you just don't give way to your emotions to come and just beat you down, you know, and that's what it's about. As Christian people, we can't let our emotions beat us down. And I just love this phrase. Everything's going to be all right because it is, amen? It's going to be all right. And so tonight we're going to deal with something. I need you to really listen to this.
Emotionally-mature people, you can tell you're going that way because they actively, number five, they actively seek out multiple points of view to inform their own point of view. They seek out multiple points of view to help inform their own point of view. That's when you can really tell you are maturing emotionally because you finally understand that, you know, "It's okay for me to get educated by others and especially the experience of other people". Emotionally-mature people, they actively seek to inform their own opinions by actively seeking out the point of view of others. They don't feel threatened by disagreement, but they look to be informed by people. And they're not afraid to question both their own convictions, knowing that they don't exist in a vacuum.
And so it doesn't have to be, you know, sometimes, I think sometimes the healthiest thing that can happen in relationships, I feel, is disagreement sometimes because you can grow and you can learn from that, and we live in a society right now people are afraid of confrontation. I see confrontation as a positive thing. Most people see it as a negative thing. I believe when you confront somebody in love you grow and when you're being confronted you grow, but I think it's cowardly not to confront circumstances and situations that are around you. What we're trying to do is, you know, we get a lot of talk from Scripture and spiritual things. But you remember me saying one time we know how to do church but we don't know how to do life?
And one of the reasons we're challenged with doing life is because we don't take time to look at things like what I'm talking about now and maturing emotionally. And the more... every day I live, when I see things happen I'm thinking, "Wow, they are a victim of emotional immaturity". Or, "Wow, look at that. Wow, they are very mature in their emotions". Your emotions were given to you by God for you to enjoy life, but you have emotions but those emotions are not supposed to have you. And the way that Satan wants to cause disruption in your life is to somehow get negative emotions to lead you down the wrong path and before you know it you're dead, you're in jail, you're hurt. All kinds of stuff. Then it's all because we failed to mature emotionally.
If I were teaching a parenting class, I would say it's important to train your children in the area of emotional maturity. You don't feel threatened if you're emotionally mature when you look to be informed by people. You're aren't afraid to question your own convictions, knowing that you don't live in a vacuum. And it's not about an argument to prove who is right. So ego and pride kind of dwells there sometimes. It's not about an argument to prove who is right. You know, people are striving to be important. You know what I mean? And it's not about who's right, it's about wanting to be informed by a different point of view to further clarify your own point of view or recognizing that perhaps their point of view may be even wrong.
I don't know why people run from that. That's a pretty wise thing to do, and that's what we want to get into tonight and look at it. So with a vast amount of information available to us, we got information available to us this day like never before; and I'm certainly not going to let this information age pass me by as a pastor and not use all of everything I can get ahold of to get more deeper and to access the things of God, historical things, things that may matter in Scripture. So it's important. So we live in a place where we've got vast information available to us. It can be easy to fall into this trap, I'm going to define this for you. It can be easy to fall into the trap of something I call confirmation bias. Now, what is confirmation bias? It's where we only seek out information that supports our preconceived notion. We're only seeking out information to support what we think is right.
Now, those who actively seek out multiple points of view are better equipped to make informed decisions. When you seek out what happened to me is I was able to make better decisions on how to handle these things and form a well-rounded conclusion about a thing, a well-rounded, I stayed stuck for so long in Genesis chapter 14 when it came to the subject of tithing, then I stayed stuck for a while, number of years in the Book of Hebrews. It took time to see it and to talk to people and to listen and to read and to doing that things because I know when you have influence I want to make sure that I'm real well-rounded. It's like, "Just pause a little bit. This guy's been doing this for 41 years. Pause just a little bit and think he's not going to just throw something out like that, but just take time to do it".
And I'm saying to you that there's something happens if you will make a decision tonight. You know, it sounds like a... maybe a seminary message or nothing. This is like, you know, I started to bypass and not talk about it, but I'm like, "This is huge". What if you would just hold your emotions for a moment and begin to seek the multiple point of views about something that you think is right because you've always thought that way all your life? Well, what if it's not quite like you thought it was? Let me show you this in Proverbs 18, verse 15 in the NIV. He says, "The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out".
If you're going to walk in wisdom, he says your ears will seek that out. I don't ever want to get to the point where I'm trapped in confirmation bias and I'm only interested in knowledge that will support my preconceived notion of a thing; and that happens a lot, especially amongst Christians. You know, you hear something you've never heard before, you reject it immediately, all right, only because you've already have a preconceived idea about something. And maybe God's trying to take you deeper, but you're not open to it. And that's become something that's very valuable. I figure, you know, I told Taffi, I said, "I'm going to go ahead and teach this whole series. Even if they don't get it now, it'll be on record".
When you get tired of cussing people out and get thrown in jail or something, you can pick this series up and it can tell you how you can mature in your emotions. But this verse highlights the importance of seeking out knowledge and understanding, which can be achieved through what actively seeking out different perspectives and different viewpoints. I wanted to see the different perspectives. I remember I wanted to see the perspective of what does everybody, what do they think about the gospel of grace and doing it? And then after seeing those different perspectives, of course I went back to the Bible with a broader view and I said, "Oh, I see this. Some think you can earn it. Some think it's a license to sin. Some think it's a curriculum. Some think it's this". And I looked at it and I said, "Oh, but it's Jesus full of grace and truth".
Now, imagine how God can lead you if you begin to mature in your emotions this way and according to this Scripture you begin to seek out the different perspectives. A wise man will have ears that will begin to seek out stuff. Can you be considered a wise person because you're seeking out the different perspectives and different viewpoints? And the Holy Spirit can... he'll nail it. He'll take all this and that and then just nail it, and I love when he does that. He just nails it down. You know, I hear different things about stuff and I asked the Lord about this. I said, "I wonder what the disciples did and how they lived a Christian life as the authors of the letters that we read in the Bible today". They didn't have no put-together Bible. They didn't have no put-together Bible. I said, "I wonder how they", and I said, "I wonder why you put together a Bible for us today and they were the author of it," okay?
So here's the cool thing, I believe. Ooh, Jesus. What the... are y'all ready for this now? I didn't know I was going to go this way, but I'm going to chance it. I love you. You love me. We are a happy family, you know. What is the logos word written for us today was the rhema word for the authors. Yeah. It was the rhema word for the authors. Watch this carefully now. The rhema word was converted into the logos word so that us who didn't have nothing could take the logos word and it lead us back to the rhema. You didn't see that. You didn't see that. You didn't see that. Because I believe that the written Word is a stepping stone into the rhema. I believe breakthrough can only come when you get a Word from him. I don't believe breakthrough is necessarily going to come because you got the Word of God, you know what the Scripture is.
You know, James 2:3, okay? You're not focusing just, "Well, I just James", I don't think the breakthrough come. But I think what happens is by me reading James 2:3 and hanging on it long enough I move into a rhema position and now God is talking specifically to me and he is saying, "You do this like this at this time". Uh-oh, breakthrough coming now because breakthrough comes when you get a Word from God and not just get the Word of God. Well, those writers of this Bible had rhema. Rhema became logos only to have something 'cause we were stupid, foolish, crazy that it was, it's this heavy. There are some sin today. This is heavy stuff. You understand? And it's going to take a safeguard to protect you from the other voices so you would have a safeguard from that, there are many voices, the Bible says.
So he don't want you getting confused with those voices. So you got the Word of God. And so you have a boundary. You got something to let you know, "This is out of the boundary of the Word". But it's not to keep you just in logos. God's ultimate plan is to bring you from logos to rhema. Logos is the written Word. Rhema is the spoken Word. You want to start seeing breakthrough in your life, start getting connected to the rhema. Start waking up saying, "I heard the Lord tell me to do this". And that's the difference between success of some Christians and the questionings that other Christians have. You're doing what God told the writer of Mark, and I'm doing what the Lord told Creflo from the writing of Mark. Yeah, and that's where we're moving in right now.
That's where this move of God getting ready to hit, the move of God getting ready to hit. We're not going to lead the written Word 'cause I need that. See, sometimes I go from the rhema. I hear something and then I go to the logos and the logos made me feel good about the rhema I just heard. But then he gave you something else. "I give you peace to rule in your heart". I mean, quit questioning your peace. You know when you got peace and when you don't have peace. When you got peace, you're calm, you're at ease, no worries, no concern. But when your peace is gone, all of a sudden now you double-thinking that thing. Just leave it alone. Ain't no peace there. Leave it alone. Leave it alone.
You're getting ready to say, "Yes, Ralph, I'll marry you". And all of a sudden you just like, "I don't know". Leave it alone. Your umpire just said that's all. It ain't Ralph. Leave him alone. It ain't deep. Just let your peace rule in your heart like an umpire. Glory be... All right? So this verse is highlighting that viewpoint. So when we seek out multiple points of view, we expose ourselves to a variety of ideas and perspectives that we may not have considered before, and that's what happened when I sent that survey out to my relatives. I was exposed to some things I hadn't considered before. You know, sometimes we can get keyhole vision, and I need to, "Well, what do you think about this"?
We're not trying to have an argument, I just want to know what you think about it. I'm not going to condemn you to hell. I'm not trying to be the Holy Ghost police. I really want, I want to know if you really believe this. I had one of my relatives. He said, "Well, it would be easier to believe if the preachers didn't get in the pulpit and brag about all their stuff". I said, "I ain't never thought about that before. That would make me mad too because it's like, you know, I need you to talk to me, but it just seem", have you ever sat 5 minutes to hear a braggart and just brag the whole time? It's a rough thing to do. It's a... you want to tell them to hush, shut up, shut the... you know, you want to say all kinds of stuff unless they're bragging about Jesus, all right?
So you seek out the variety of ideas and perspectives that we may not have considered before. This can broaden our understanding of a given topic, and it can help us see things from angles. It can also help us avoid falling into this trap: groupthink. Not a think tank, but groupthink. What is a groupthink? It's where we simply adopt the opinions of those around us without critically evaluating them. You get around a groupthink and you adopt the opinions of people that are around you and there's no critical evaluation that's going on. I mean, with most Christians we hear what's around us and then we get to shouting about it and you're not even thinking about actually what they just said was abomination, you know.
You don't want to get involved in this group-think mentality. You just adopt the opinions of those people that are around you, adopt the opinions of those folks that just go to your church. You adopt the opinions without critical thinking. God gave you a thinker, and sometimes I just think church folks don't think. They just, you're not in a vacuum, and you're not this like robot where you just take everything. I expect for you to think. This is so important, and I want you to have what you need to continue to grow where your emotions are concerned. So in addition seeking out multiple points of view can help us make more informed decisions, especially like raising your kids.
You know, one person's point of view, well, give them everything they ask. The other person's point of view, don't give them nothing. The other person's point of view, well, meet them halfway. Another point, it's so important. And what we do sometimes is just hear one point of view, take it real quick, and that, and just knock out everything else. We're not interested. "You're wrong. That ain't what my pastor said". Stop all that. You... think. Think. "Well, you know, Ralph came in. He said he loved me. So I guess I'll marry him".
There's a lot you need to consider before saying "I do" to Ralph. And if you're 21, I don't think you're ready to get married yet. I mean, learn how to be single so you won't regret not doing it when you got married to her. Yeah, yeah, me and Taffi talk about it all the time. She said, "You know, we shouldn't have gotten married. You were too young to marry me. I was too young to marry you. We didn't even know nothing". I said, "Well, babe, we can't do nothing about it now except try to tell somebody else". And then they look at you, "No, I don't care what you say. I'm in love".
All right. All right, I'm in love. Watch this. When we consider the variety of perspectives, we're better able to weigh the pros and the cons of different options and arrive at a decision that takes into account a range of factors. Man, I'd love to see the church world begin to develop emotionally like that and not so tunnel vision but a range of factors. God will take care of you. Sometimes he's just trying to let you look at the land and he'll bring you to the place which you'll have a deeper understanding.