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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » James Meehan » James Meehan - Why Do I Do What I Do?

James Meehan - Why Do I Do What I Do?

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    James Meehan - Why Do I Do What I Do?

When you look in the mirror as you are brushing your teeth in the morning, who do you see? Do you see somebody that is kind and interesting and courageous? Or do you see somebody that you wish was different? Somebody that maybe isn't as kind as you wish they were, isn't as interesting as you hoped you were, isn't as brave or bold or outgoing as you really want to be? When you're alone with yourself, what are the things that you say to yourself? Are you kind to yourself? Or do you critique and criticize all of the little things that you wish you did differently? When you think about who you are what emotions come to mind? Are you grateful for the life that God has blessed you with? Are you grateful for the ways that he's gifted you and crafted you to do good things in this world? Or do you find yourself disappointed?

Do you find yourself thinking this isn't what I wanted my life to be? You seeو your view of you drives everything you do. Your view of you drives everything we do. Everything that we do as human beings in some form or fashion is an expression of how we view ourselves. Like back when I was in middle school and high school I wasn't a Christian and I had a really low view of myself. I wouldn't really let people get to know the real me because I was afraid that if they did, they wouldn't wanna have anything to do with me. So I put on a mask. I pretended to be somebody I wasn't. I crafted this identity and persona that I thought would make me more appealing to others and like kind of the three big pillars where I was a jujitsu fighter, which I I trained jujitsu I thought that'll be my identity.

But I also really liked video games. So I'm also gonna be a video gamer and you know what I really want? I really want girls to like me so I'm gonna become a smooth talker. And of those three things, like I actually was a jujitsu fighter. I actually was a video gamer, and I was good at both of those things. A smooth talker. Maybe not as much as I thought, but what's so interesting is the way that I expressed myself was a result of all of the things that I wish I was, but I wasn't. And it wasn't until I met Jesus that the mask came off. It wasn't until I met Jesus that I realized all of these ways I'm overcompensating and trying to cover up my insecurity isn't making anything better.

As a matter of fact, it's making things worse. Because what I really need isn't to cover up my issues, but to be healed from my issues. Your view of you drives everything you do, which is why I think it is so interesting that at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry, before he like makes a huge name for himself by casting out demons and performing miracles and calling his disciples, there's a special moment where God, the Father, tells Jesus God, the Son, how he sees him.

We find this in Matthew chapter 3. At the end of this chapter, we read that, "Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him. He said, I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me? Jesus' reply was, Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this, to fulfill all righteousness. Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment, heaven was opened and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And then a voice from heaven said, this is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased".

The voice of God speaking over Jesus, this is my son whom I love, with him i am well pleased. God, the Father wanted God, the Son to know at the very beginning before He did anything to make a name for himself. That he's his son. That God loves him. And he's so proud of him. What's interesting is there are only three places in the gospels, the four accounts of Jesus' life in our Bibles where God, the Father, speaks audibly to God, the Son. That was the first one, and then the second one shows up in that same gospel. Matthew chapter 17, verse 5 where we read that while Jesus was still speaking "a bright cloud covered them and a voice from the cloud said, this is my son whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him".

Do you notice anything interesting about that? It's almost the exact same thing that God said the first time. Because that's what God wants Jesus to know. That's the most important message. God, the Father, wants to communicate to his Son. That you're my Son, I love you and I am so proud of you. And this is really good news for any of us who have said yes to a relationship with Jesus. Because when we say yes to following Jesus, something beautiful happens. The Bible says that we are actually united with Christ. We become one with him. He clothed us with his righteousness. He wraps us in his goodness so that when God, the Father, looks at you, he sees Jesus.

So that means that when God the Father speaks to you he says to you what he says to Jesus, you are my child. I love you and I am so proud of you. You see your view of you drives everything you do. But what's even more important than your view of you is what God says about you. Because what God says about you is always true. And what God says about you if you are in Christ Jesus is that you are his child. He loves you. He's so proud of you.

Part two. The devil's lies. Immediately after Jesus' baptism, the Spirit leads him into battle. Matthew 4:1 begins with "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil". I'm sorry, wait, what? Who led Jesus? The Spirit. Where? Into the wilderness. For what reason exactly? To be tempted by the devil. Okay, imagine for a second that your best friend says, hey come with me, and they lead you into the wilderness where you are then tempted by the devil, the big, bad, evil guy who wants to kill, steal and destroy, that's what your best friend did. How would you feel about that? Or maybe your friend doesn't like do that but they say that's what they're gonna do. Would you actually go with them? Probably not. But Jesus knew exactly where he was going. He knew exactly what he was going to do.

And he knew that even though it looked really messy, that was where he needed to be because he trusted the Spirit that was leading him. And what you need to understand is that when you say yes to following Jesus there are going to be times where he takes you places that you don't actually want to go, where he asks you to do things that you don't think you can do. But if you are willing to follow him, if you're willing to stick with him, he's gonna bring you out on the other side stronger and more equipped than you ever imagined. He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The next verse tells us in verse two, that "After fasting for 40 days and 40 nights, he was hungry", which makes a lot of sense. "Then the tempter the devil came to him and said if you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread".

So Jesus in the previous chapter, here's the voice of his Father speaking truth over him. You are my son whom I love. I am so proud of you. And then here in the wilderness the very next event that Matthew records, Jesus is being tempted by the devil who begins by questioning if he is the Son of God. And then tries to tempt him into using his powers for his own good rather than the greater good. And this is the lesson for you is that the devil, your enemy, will attack your identity and target your desires with lies and deception. That's what he does with Jesus here. That's what he did with Adam and Eve all the way back at the beginning of the Bible in Genesis 3. And that's what he's gonna do to you.

Maybe even before you leave Switch tonight. He's gonna attack your identity. He wants to get you to question if you really are who God says you are. And he's gonna often do that by targeting your desires, the places where you might be weak. But it's all gonna be lies because that's what he does. And what's interesting is after being attacked with these lies, Jesus responds with God's truth. In verse 4, it says, "Jesus answered, 'it is written.'" He's quoting the Bible, "'Man shall not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' Then the devil takes him to the holy city and stands him on the highest point of the temple. And the devil once again attacks his identity. He says, 'if you are the son of God, then throw yourself down for it is written.'"

Did you catch that? The devil is now quoting scripture back to Jesus in an attempt to tempt him. He quoting scripture says "he will command his angels concerning you and they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone". This is really important. The devil is really good at what he does. He's been doing it for a very long time. He will go so far that he will actually take scripture and twist it to throw you off track. What you've gotta understand about the devil is that you have an enemy who's gonna lie, cheat, and steal to get you to doubt God's promises and disobey God's commands. So like Jesus, we need to be really familiar with the truth that God speaks. Otherwise, the devil's lies are gonna take us out.

In verse 7, Jesus answered once again quoting scripture. "It is also written. Do not put the Lord your God to the test. Again, the devil takes him to a very high mountain, shows him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me. But Jesus says to him, away from me, Satan! for it is written, worship the Lord your God and serve him only. Then the devil left him and angels came and attended him".

Think about the sequence of events. The first part of this message, we looked at Jesus' baptism. This mountaintop moment where God, the Father, is declaring his love for God, the Son. Then the very next line says that the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. When you follow Jesus, there are gonna be times where the best moments are followed by some of the toughest battles. And when you engage in these battles, it will very rarely be like a fist fight that you might watch in the UFC. It will very rarely look like a scene from "Lord of the Rings" or "Avengers: Endgame".

More often than not, the battle that you engage in will be a battle between truth and lies. It'll be a battle to believe, to hold onto who God says you are, and sticking to the purpose that he's created you for. And a battle between the devil's lies. They're gonna get you to question if God is really telling the truth. That are gonna try to throw you off track, so you miss out on what it is that God wants you to do. But the beautiful thing is that when Jesus was in the wilderness, he was not alone because it was the spirit of God who led him. And what's amazing is that when we say yes to Jesus, that same spirit begins to live in us. The same spirit that led Jesus will lead you. Following Jesus is rarely easy. It is often difficult and it will include wilderness seasons. But what we can remember is that even when we feel like we are on our own, we're never truly alone.

Part three, Jesus' habits. In the first part of this message, we looked at the baptism of Jesus. And we talked about how our view of ourselves drives everything we do which is why it is so important to make sure that your view of you is actually true. And the best way to do that is to line up your view of you with what God says about you. In part two of this message, we looked at Jesus marching into battle to go toe to toe with the devil. The devil attacked his identity, targeted his desires with lies and deception. But Jesus reinforced the truth of who he is with God's word and he resisted the lies of the evil one by standing firm on what is good. Now, in part three of this message we're gonna get really practical and answer the how question. Like how do we do that? Like it's cool that Jesus did it, but how do we do it?

And so I wanna give you kind of two big ideas and we're gonna tackle 'em one at a time. The first idea is that when things get hard, run to him not from him. The second idea is to make his habits your habits. Starting with the first idea. When things get hard, run to him not from him. I cannot tell you how many Christians I've talked to who find themselves in a difficult period of time where they aren't really feeling the closeness of God like they used to. Where they feel like they're wandering around looking for an answer but they're not sure where to go and they are under attack from the enemy. And the amount of times I've seen people get really discouraged because they think that means that either God left them or that they are like doing all sorts of bad things and therefore God must be punishing them or that's why he's letting the enemy attack them.

Look at what we read about Jesus. Jesus who is perfectly sinless, like never did anything wrong and is always close to God was tempted by the devil and the wilderness. He experienced difficult things and you will too if you follow him. Because there'll be some times where he's gonna take you to places that you want a vacation. And there's gonna be other times where he's gonna take you to places that if your bladder was about to burst, you still would not stop for a pit stop you would keep driving through because you do not want to be there any longer than you need to. But if you keep following, he's gonna take you out on the other side with a deeper faith and a stronger character. So when things get hard, run to him not from him. And secondly, make his habits, your habits make his habits your habits.

One of the things that I really appreciate is recently we got to be a part of this message series in our church called The Power to Change. And in the first week of it, our pastor talked about how real change happens, and he contrasted that with how some people think change happens and that's why they never experience real change. So for example, there are kind of like two bad ways of thinking about change. The first one is God then us. The idea is that God starts it and then he stops and then we take over from there. That's not really how it works. The the second bad idea is a like actually even worse. It's God not us. Where God starts it, God does it in the middle, God finishes it, and we never do anything except lounge around on the couch and watch God do all the work. Not quite it either. The third way is how change actually happens. It is God in us.

You see, when we say yes to following Jesus, the Holy Spirit fills us. The empowering presence of God gives us what we need to do what God asks us to. Jesus did not die on the cross so we could sit on the couch. He died to bring us back into the game so that we could be a part of his good plans for the world. But we don't have to do it on our own because his spirit is alive inside of us. The same spirit that raised him from the dead gives you the power to do what he asks us to. And so with this mindset of it being God in us, what that looks like is we trust the Spirit to do what we can't and we train ourselves to do what we can. By making Jesus's habits are habits. Because your habits more than just about anything else you do will determine the person you become.

Author James Clear talks about how everything you do is casting a vote for the person you will eventually become. Every good thing is voting for a better version of you. Every not good thing is voting for a worse version of you. And at the end of the day, you're gonna tally up the votes in whichever version of you has the most votes will be who you become. And if you wanna become more like Jesus, then the best thing you can do is make his habits, your habits. Because when we practice what are called spiritual disciplines, we are inviting the spirit of God to do what we cannot. And we are training ourselves to do what we can.

Now, what's really cool is specifically in the scriptures we've looked at today, there are two habits that I think help us understand how to feed our faith and starve our flesh, our sinful and selfish desires. And they're habits that Jesus modeled. The first one that we can do is feed our faith by reading the Bible. If you've ever wanted to know who you are, how God sees you and what he wants you to do there is no better way to find the answers to those questions than by reading the gospels, than by reading the Bible, specifically the gospels, the four accounts of Jesus' life where you actually get to see the things he said and did and what it is that he calls us to do. We put together a 40-day Bible plan called "Learning the Jesus Way of Life" specifically designed to help you learn how to make his way of life your way of life.

And so we would love for you to start that. If you haven't already, download the Your Version Bible app, start that plan and invite your switch group to do it with you. Feed your faith by reading the Bible. The second thing that you can do is starve your flesh by giving up something you love for something you love even more. In the passage of scripture we looked at Jesus starved his flesh through the practice of fasting, giving up food for a period of time so that he could grow closer to God. And while that's a really, really great practice I think the place that we can lean in the most in our modern world is through the practice of abstinence which is giving up something other than food, so that we can grow closer to God. Because we live in a world where there are so many distractions that are trying to crowd out our attention and our devotion to Jesus.

And so maybe the thing that's gonna be the difference maker for you is actually giving up something you love, like time on your phone for something you love even more, time with Jesus and the people you care about. And so what I wanna invite you to do is practice the habit of abstinence by taking the first hour of your day and going without screen time, except for if you're using the Bible app or if it's an emergency, but give up screen time so that you can start your day in the word of God. You can start your day in the real world discovering the truth of who you are and what it is that God has called you to do. And what's actually really cool is that today marks the beginning of Lent. It is the 40 days that lead up to Easter where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

And for generations, Christians from around the world have celebrated the Lenten season by preparing their bodies, preparing their hearts, preparing their souls for the good news of Easter through studying the word and starving their flesh. So if you choose to engage in these habits, of reading the Bible and abstinence, you are not just participating in what we here at Switch are doing. You're actually joining in on what the global church has been doing for generations. So I wanna invite you to be a part of something bigger than yourself, something that will make you more like Jesus. Because when we make his habits our habits it's only a matter of time before his way of life becomes our way of life.

So today, Jesus, we ask that you give us the faith to go where you go, to do what you do, to trust what you say, and to love how you love. We commit to following you. It's in your name we pray. Amen.

Now, maybe you are watching this message right now and you've got this sense that you don't actually know who God says you are. Or maybe you heard it because we talked about it earlier, but you just don't actually believe it. Maybe it's because of the things you've done. Like you cannot shake the sense that you are unlovable, that no matter how hard you try you can never be good enough for God. And the thing is, is you can't, God is perfect. his standard is holiness. None of us will measure up to that standard, which is why grace is so beautiful. Grace is the free gift of God that we cannot earn and we do not deserve. And the gift of grace showed up in the person of Jesus 2000 years ago when he took our place on the cross. He died in our place so that we could live in his in relationship with God forever.

And we know that what he did was finished on the cross because on the third day, God raised him from the dead so that anybody, that means you and that means me, who puts their trust in Jesus would be saved. We would be forgiven of every wrong thing we've ever done. We would be made new. We are one with Jesus when we choose to follow him. And that's what God wants for you right now to bring you back to him To remove the sin and to make you new.

And so if you're watching this message right now, and you realize that that's what you've been missing, a relationship with God and you want a fresh start then simply type in the chat, "Jesus I give you my life". Comment down below Jesus I give you my life. Because when you do, Jesus will answer that request with his love and his grace that goes beyond anything we could ever imagine. And as people are choosing to say yes to him today, we're gonna pray together out loud as a Switch family. Because even though you had to pray that prayer on your own, you are not alone. All together:

Heavenly Father, forgive me, I'm turning from my sin. I'm turning toward you. I need your love. I need your grace, and I need your mercy. Today.I give you my life. In Jesus' name. Amen and amen and amen.

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