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James Meehan - The Lie You Think is True

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    James Meehan - The Lie You Think is True

Hello and welcome to this week of Switch. My name is James Meehan, and we are continuing in our series, "Tear Down the Idols". This week we are talking about the idol of desire. And to kick things off, I'm going to share with you some bad news. But don't worry, we will get to some good news later. Starting with the bad news, you have been lied to. And the worst part is that most of us don't even realize it. And yes, this means you watching from wherever you're watching, whether at Switch in real life or watching this video on YouTube, you have been lied to. And the reason this lie is so sneaky and destructive is because it sounds really good. Like so much so that we hear it and we want it to be true. So much that we often celebrate it and then we build our lives around it. But when this lie meets reality, the consequences are proven to be disastrous.

That's why in today's message we're gonna talk about what this lie is and how we can tear it down. The title of today's message is Breaking the Lie. So what is the lie? If you're taking notes, the lie is that true happiness, found in the unhindered pursuit and unfiltered expression of desire. That real happiness is found in the unhindered pursuit and unfiltered expression of desire. In other words, the lie is that if you want to be happy, then be true to yourself and follow your heart. One of the best examples of this lie is actually from the movie "Frozen" from Disney in the song "Let It Go," where Princess Elsa, maybe she's a queen, I can't remember at this point in the movie, but this is what she sings. She sings, "It's funny how some distance makes everything seem small, and the fears that once controlled me can't get to me at all. It's time to see what I can do, to test the limits and breakthrough".

And then here's the lie, "No right, no wrong, no rules for me, I'm free". What Elsa is singing here is that, because now she can be true to herself, she's free. And, like, when she's singing this, I am for sure singing it with her because this song is really good, and it sounds really good. But there's a big problem because if you, like, take a step back from the moment of the music and you remember what else is happening in the movie, you kind of remember what's happening to the citizens of Arendelle, her people, because at this point they are suffering and freezing to death because Elsa, the one singing the song, has abandoned her people to pursue her desires.

You see, just because something sounds good doesn't actually mean it is good. And this is like also true in the real world when we're not just talking about Disney movies and ice powers. Like, when we're talking about your life and your desires, just because it sounds good doesn't mean it is good. If you are like me, then, you know, as you are gearing up for summer, you probably have a desire to be the fittest and most swimsuit-ready version of yourself. And if you're like me, you probably also have a desire to eat food that may not be the best for you, like a juicy, greasy bacon cheeseburger that is oh so scrumptious but not at all nutritious. Like, you've got these competing desires, these two different things that you want.

And if you act on the desire to eat the burger, you are actually sabotaging your efforts to achieve the other goal of getting more fit and healthy. And while it tastes really good in the short term, it makes your journey towards your fitness goals a little bit more tricky in the long term. You see, different parts of us want different things. And the things that we want in the moment are very rarely the things that we want most. For some of you, your best friend is your person, like, you love them more than anyone in the world, and you wish you could spend every moment with them. Until they do that thing that just drives you crazy, and then you feel that overpowering desire to just tell them off.

And then when you do, like, it feels really good because, you know, you spoke your truth. But the ramifications never end up being worth it because now you've hurt somebody that you love so much. And you have to undo the damage of you expressing yourself in the moment because you thought that if you were just honest, that everything would be better. But sometimes that's just not the case because different parts of us want different things, and the things that we want most are rarely the things that we want in the moment. That's why this lie is so damaging because what it tells us is that, if you just express and pursue your desires without anything getting in the way, then you will be happy. But it never ends up being true.

So what do we do? We break the lie by embracing the truth. If you are taking notes, the main point of this message is that idols always promise more than they deliver, but God always delivers on his promises. Idols always promise more than they deliver, but God always delivers on his promises. The idol of desire promises happiness, but it delivers disappointment. But here's what God promises. In John, chapter eight, verses 31 and 32, we read the words of Jesus when he says, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". That's what God promises, freedom when you hold to his truth.

So what I wanna do now is share three truths from scripture about desire so that we can live faithfully to Jesus and overcome the idol of desire in our lives. The three truths, if you are following along, are, number one, that your desires were created by God. Number two, your desires have been corrupted by sin. And number three, your desires can only be fully satisfied in Christ. Starting with the first of these truth, your desires are created by God. If we want to understand desire truly, we have to start at the very beginning because your desires were created by God for a good purpose. Your desires for hunger, for friendship, for love, for intimacy, for joy, all of those desires were created by God and they're meant for good.

The Bible begins in Genesis 1 with this incredible declaration from God, when he said, "Let us make human beings in our image to be like us. So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God, he created, the male and female, he created them. Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good". If your life was a car, then desire would be the engine. Like, without an engine, a car isn't going anywhere. And as human beings, if it wasn't for desire, we wouldn't do anything. This is why God created us with desires, desires for what is good and true and beautiful so that we would live lives in pursuit of those things. So it's important to remember that your desires are not the problem, the problem is sin.

Which brings us to truth number two, that your desires have been corrupted by sin. Your desires have been corrupted by sin. Like we just read, in the beginning, God created everything and it was good. But then, in an event known as the Fall, we as human beings messed it all up, because we believed the lie the devil was telling us. And the thing is the lie he was telling them then is the same lie he's trying to get us to believe now, which is that real happiness is found when you pursue your desires rather than when you trust and obey God. And it was through that lie that the first humans sinned. They disobeyed God, and everything, all of creation was thrown into chaos. That means every part of the universe was disordered because of the Fall.

That means every cell in our bodies, every single one of our desires have been infected by this disease of sin, a disease of selfishness that tempts us to satisfy our desires on our terms rather than God's, that tempts us to make an idol of our desires rather than us letting our desires serve us as we serve God. This is why in Matthews gospel, Jesus says these words, he says that "it is from the heart that come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying and slander. These are what defile you". All of those things, Jesus is saying, are the things that defile us. Those are our desires that have been infected by sin.

Now, I often hear the question, "If God doesn't want me to do this thing, then why would he give me these desires"? And that's a super fair question. And that's why understanding this about desires is so important, because you were created by God with good desires. But your desires have been corrupted by sin to the point that now you and me, we want things, we do things, we have desires for things that are not good. In his letter to early Christians, James writes this starting in chapter one, verse 13. He says, "Remember, when you are being tempted, do not say that God is tempting me, because God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, desires corrupted by sin, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don't be misled, my dear brothers and sisters".

What James is telling us is so important, that your desires are not the problem. The problem is sin, because of sin, what we are often tempted to do is satisfy our desires in ways that feel good to us but may not actually be good in reality. God is not the one tempting you. So let me give you an example of kind of how this plays out. As a human being, you were created by God with desires, for love, for intimacy, and for relationship. But because of sin, those desires have been corrupted to the point where now we are often tempted to satisfy those desires for love, relationship, and intimacy outside of the one-man, one-woman covenant of marriage that God established.

So what that often leads to is us doing things that are not in alignment with what God says is best. One of the most common examples of that today is pornography where what we try to do is satisfy those desires for love and intimacy by viewing images and videos that dishonor and dehumanize other human beings. Not only that, but it actually distorts our view of ourselves, others, and sexuality to the point where all sorts of dysfunction are the result. And maybe that's actually where you find yourself right now because you have been hiding an addiction to pornography that has been wrecking your life for years. And you've been afraid to tell somebody about it because you were worried that they might judge you or shame you if you shared your struggle. Here's what I need you to know, is that if you have that struggle happening, the best thing you can do is be honest about it.

Talk to your small group leader, talk to your youth pastor. Invite them in so that they can help you take steps forward to overcome that addiction and the idol of desire that is wrecking your life. You can start reading the "How to Quit Porn Bible Plan" that we put together to help people just like you break free from this addiction that is robbing you of real love and real intimacy. Now, maybe for you, the thing that is happening in your life is not an addiction to pornography, but it is some other disorder desire that is leading to sinful actions that is producing death. Whatever that thing is, I need you to know that there is hope and you can find help. So before you leave, talk to somebody about whatever that thing is because it's not gonna get better if you keep hiding it. Your sins, your desires have been corrupted by sin. Your desires were first created by God.

And now the thing that you need to know is truth number three, that your desires can only be fully satisfied in Christ. Your desires can only be fully satisfied in Christ. Jesus is the God who became one of us, who put on skin and bones, flesh and blood, who had a beating heart, breath in his lungs, and he had desires just like we do. And the thing that makes Jesus so incredible is that he never fell prey to the idol of desire, but every step of the way he directed his desires to the will of God. He chose to submit them to what God had asked him to do so that his entire life could be directed by love, his entire life could be devoted to his Heavenly Father. And it is because of that, that Jesus made it possible for us to be rescued from our sin, for our relationship with God to be repaired, for our purpose to be restored.

This is why the gospel is such good news. Because of Jesus, God is working to undo the damage of the Fall and heal us from our sin-corrupted desires. In Ezekiel, an Old Testament book, the prophet is writing about the words that God had said, describing what would happen when Jesus came. In verse 25, he says, "That I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away. You will no longer worship idols. I will give you a new heart. I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. I will put my spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations".

When you believe in Jesus and receive his grace, this is what God does for you. He puts his spirit in you. He cleans you of your sin. He begins to transform you from the inside out so that your old habits can be replaced, so that your sinful desires can be transformed. This is what God wants to do in your life through the power of his spirit. He wants to help you live a life devoted to him, to tear down the idols that are sabotaging your faith, and to show you what it really looks like to know the truth and to be set free by the truth. You see, your desires were created by God. Your desires have been corrupted by sin. And your desires will only be fully satisfied in Christ. So what do we do now? The thing that we do is we submit our desires to God. We submit our desires to God.

Submission is choosing to trust God's character and obey his commands. It's choosing to trust that he is good and that every word he speaks is an expression of his love for us. It's choosing to obey his commands, to actually do the things that he asks us to do, even when it's difficult, even when it's uncomfortable. Because, even though you may not like it, you can believe that he loves you. And so that's what I want to invite you to do. When you come to a part of the Bible or an aspect of your faith that is difficult, that's uncomfortable, that you don't like, be honest about it, and actually tell God, "Hey, I may not like this, but I know that you love me. I may not like this, but I know you love me. I may not like that you ask me to honor my parents and pray for those who persecute me, but I know you love me. I may not like what your word says about sexual integrity, but I know that you love me. I may not like that there's this thing in the Bible that honestly just is confusing to me, but I know you love me".

That's really what I hope my son, Jace, will think and say when I ask him, as his dad, to do things that he doesn't want to do. Because my son, Jace, he's two years old right now, and we are in the process of helping him learn how to go to the big boy potty. The thing is, is that he often desires to run into another room, hide in the corner, take a dump over there, and then come back with all of the stink but then like pretend it didn't happen. And so like I gotta like do this whole investigation process to figure out, "Hey bro, did you poop"? And he always says no. And I gotta, like, check it, the smell check. And you know, if he fails that, I don't even do the look test. But sometimes like if he poops and I can't smell it, I gotta look, it's disgusting. But all of that to be said, my son has desires that right now are not actually helping him become who he needs to be.

And as his dad, it is my responsibility to help him become a functioning human. And that means it's my responsibility to help him learn how to go potty on the potty and not just in his diaper. And he doesn't like it. But he knows that I love him because he's my son and I'm his dad. And the thing is, is that my love for my son is a drop in the bucket compared to God's love for you. He loves you so much more than you could ever imagine. Every word he says, every command he gives is an expression of his love for you, and it is always for your good. So submit your desires to him. Choose to trust in his character. Choose to obey his commands. When it gets hard, tell him that, "God, I may not like this but I know you love me".

Author Christopher West writes this. He says, "That all the hungers we have for love, for union and for happiness are given by God to lead us to him. The difference between a saint and the greatest sinner is where they go to satisfy that hunger". Idols always promise more than they deliver, but God always delivers on his promises. And he promises that if you hold to his teachings, then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

So Lord Jesus, we come before you right now so grateful that you would set an example for us to follow, that you would have so much grace and mercy that, every time we follow short, you would meet us right there in our brokenness. God, I ask that you would remind us of how much you love us, of all the ways that you have shown up for us that maybe we don't even realize, and that, God, you would give us the faith to trust that you are who you say you are, that you would help us to become the kind of people who submit our desires to you. Even when we don't like it, help us to trust that you still love us. It's in Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

There are some of you right now who, as you are hearing this message, you're realizing that you have been living by a lie for a really long time. And maybe you're starting to recognize that that's a big part of the problem, that you have been trying to satisfy all of your desires on your terms instead of actually trusting what God says. And this is the thing that you've gotta understand, is that you were created by God for a purpose. You were created to live in relationship with him, but the problem is called sin. We've already talked about it, but sin doesn't just corrupt our desires, it also separates us from God. It fractures our relationship with him. It forces us into a way of life that is less than what God intended. Because of that, God said, "I'm not okay with this problem so I will be the solution".

This is why he became a human named Jesus who, 2,000 years ago, walked on the earth, lived a perfect life, sacrificed himself on the cross for your sins and for mine. And then on the third day, rose from the dead, proving that he is the Lord of everything. And that anybody who puts their trust in him will be saved. They will be made new, that their past will be washed away, and they will be given a new future. And that's why you are here today, to receive a new future by placing your faith in Jesus. If that's you, and you're saying today, "I wanna follow you, Jesus, I want to give you everything," then simply type it in the chat right now. Say, "Jesus, I give you my life. Jesus, I give you my life". As people are making that decision, what we're gonna do is we're gonna pray for them and with them altogether out loud. Because here at Switch, we are a family. And even though you made that choice on your own, you don't have to pray alone. So together, repeating after me:

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

If you just made a decision to follow Jesus, I wanna say congratulations. That's the best choice that you could ever make, because in that moment, you became a new person. Your old life is gone, and you have new life in Christ. So three things you gotta do, thing number one, go to the description of this YouTube video and click on the link to the Switch What's Next Bible Plans. It's a Bible plan we wrote to help you understand what it looks like to follow Jesus. Thing number two, tell somebody you know about the choice you made because none of us are meant to follow Jesus alone. And then the last thing is make sure you like and subscribe the video because every single week, we release videos like this to help you become who God has created you to be. See you.
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