James Merritt - Help Me With Me
I think there are certain things that we deal with and the reason why we get frustrated, and the reason why we get discouraged, and the reason why we get depressed, and the reason why we even can get suicidal is because we're dealing with things and we keep trying to find the solution, and we keep trying to find the answer, but we finally give up and believe maybe there is no answer. Maybe nobody can help me, well, yes there is, and that's why we're calling this series So Help Me God. Because there are times deep down in our lives, whether we wanna admit it or not, we realize you know what, if you don't help me I'm out of luck. If you don't help me, there is no hope. It's interesting that here in America, we have a tradition no other country in the world has. We in so many of our oaths with those words So Help Me God.
If you've ever served in the military, you'll take an oath and you'll end with these four words when you enlist, So help me God. If you've ever been commissioned as an officer in the military you will end by saying these four words at the end of your oath as an officer of the military, So help me God. Presidents when they take the oath of office end with those four words So help me God. If you've ever testified in a court of law you swear to tell the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth So help me God because deep down we know there are times I don't need anybody else's help 'cause nobody else can help me except God. And so what I wanna do today is deal in this series with three areas where we all need help and I believe only God can give us the help that we need.
Now, we're gonna look at an area as we start off today, where I believe everybody at some time or another needs help, I believe there are a lot of people right now listening to me, you need help in this area, and yet it's the one that we're least likely to admit that we need help with. As a matter of fact you would think when I tell you what the problem is you would think that highly successful people never deal with this problem. You would think that highly successful people never need help in this area. I thought the same thing and still I did a little research and then I'll read an article entitled "Why Highly Successful People Seek Therapy".
And I was first of all amazed, why do successful people seek therapy? And then I learned that one of the five most common reasons why people who are highly successful, rich, famous go to counseling, get psychological help and seek therapy. You know what the number one reason is they said? The number one reason is what's called imposter syndrome, I'd never heard of this before. The number one reason why rich famous people go and get therapy and get counseling and get help is because they suffer from this syndrome where they feel they're still inadequate, they still feel like they're a failure. They feel like they're a fraud, they feel like they are a fake. I'll give you one example, Madonna, the richest female musician in the entire world, has a net worth of $800 million. Been at the top of her profession for 30 years, the epitome of the world's definition of success.
One of the most famous faces in the world, can't go anywhere without being recognized still sells out arenas everywhere she goes. Here's what she said. "I have an iron will and all of my will is always to be to conquer some horrible feeling of inadequacy. My drive in life is from this horrible fear of being mediocre. And that's always pushing me, pushing me, because even though I become somebody, I still have to prove that I am somebody. My struggle has never ended, and it probably never will". Madonna needs help with Madonna. And there are times that I need help with me and you need help with you, because we've all had those times in life we feel like I'm not good enough. I am a failure, I don't know why anybody would have anything to do with me. I don't even know why she married me. I don't know why he married me, I don't even know. And we get into this comparison game.
Why can't I be like him? Why could not climb the ladder like her? Why can't I be where this person is? You can go to bookshelf after bookshelf and the shelves are lined with books on how to have a better self image and better self-worth, how to feel better about yourself. The problem is this at the end of the day it doesn't matter what you do, it can be losing weight, it can be making money, it can be becoming famous, it can be plastic surgery. It can be photo shopping, it can be asserted as training, but at the end of the day you still don't feel good about you. You look in the mirror and you don't like who you see, and you are still a prisoner of what other people say about you and think about you.
Here's what I wanna share with you today, the problem is not on the outside, your problem is on the inside. And what I want you to understand today is this, you will never see who you truly are on the outside until you know who you should be on the inside and only God can help you see that. And we're gonna get some help today from the greatest source of all which I believe is God's word. And there are some words in book that a man named Paul wrote to a church in Ephesus 2000 years ago, that really gives us the secret on how to have a good self image and the real secret to having the kind of self-esteem that we all ought to have.
So if you brought a copy of God's word or you wanna look on something else, we're in Ephesians 1, Ephesians 1, don't let that intimidate you, there are two parts of the Bible, old Testament, new Testament, go to the new Testament, hit Matthew go east you'll hit Ephesians. All right, you're in Ephesians 1. Here's what you're gonna learn. What you're going to learn today is until you see who you are, and who you are always meant to be in God, you'll never be what you should be or created to be in this life.
Now I'm talking to two groups of people and you both apply. You're a believer in Jesus, or you're not. You're a follower of Jesus or you not, makes no difference. We all have the same battle when it comes to this self image we all have the same battle when it comes to self esteem, and what you're gonna find that Paul says today, he says to everyone 'cause what Paul is gonna tell us is this, in Jesus Christ, I can be the me I was meant to be. In Jesus Christ I can be the me I was meant to be.
Now here's what's kind of interesting, I know some of you're kind of thinking, well you're kind of going positive thinking on us today, that's kind of different. Well, what I love about the Bible is the Bible addresses everything. It talks about every single problem that we face, and as you're gonna learn later on this message I faced the same problem battling low self-esteem as many of you in this room, or many of you listen to me right now are battling this very moment. And I have found once again, the answer to the problem is found in God and His word. Now here's what we're gonna learn today, there are three things that you need to do, we all need to do and you can do in order to be the me you were meant to be.
Number one, you've gotta recognize your position with Jesus. You've got to recognize your position with Jesus. Now it's very important to note what we're about to read Paul wrote to a group of people just like us, just run of the mill, a dozen, everyday people in a church called Ephesus, and I want you to notice what he says to them. We're in Ephesians 1:1, "Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus". Now I want you to notice what he calls these people, he calls them, would you say that word with me? Say it real loud like you mean it, Saint. So okay and I know so, whoa whoa whoa whoa timeout. I'm no Saint I've heard many people, oh no, no, I'm not a saint, all right. Well lemme just kind of correct one thing. There's no special class of Christians who are saints. Every Christian is a saint and every saint is a Christian. The moment you become a believer in Jesus you become a saint.
Now I love to be called pastor, that's a biblical term, that's my favorite term, I really love to be called pastor. But if you were to come up after the message today and call me St. James I'd have to accept that, because that's exactly what I am. I am a saint, you are a saint. Because according to Paul, the only step you have to take to become a saint is to become a follower of Jesus, a believer in Jesus and the cost is absolutely zero. As a matter of fact I'll say something I didn't even know this, I really never knew this before. Did you know the Bible hardly ever refers to a Christian as a sinner? Over 200 times here's how the Bible describes a Christian. We're Holy, we're righteous, we're saints. Because as a believer you're a sinner by activity at times but you are a saint always by identity.
Now lemme tell you why that's true, this is where you need to get your head straight. You are not a saint because of your performance, it has nothing to do with your performance. You are a saint because of your position, everyone outside of Jesus is a sinner, everyone inside of Jesus is a saint. So in other words, if you're a believer you're a saint not because of what you've done for God but because of what Jesus has done for you. You're not a saint based on what you do, your performance, you're a saint based on who you are, your position. So first thing you got to recognize is this, if you are a believer in Jesus, you are a saint.
So number one, recognize your position in Jesus. Number two, really your possessions from Jesus. Realize your possessions from Jesus. Now we live in a world and you know, we all do this, we compare ourselves, and the way we kind of measure our self-esteem is we compare what we have with what other people have. So we look at the car they drive and the house they live in and the clothes they wear and the jewelry on their hands and on their fingers and on their body. And we tend to measure ourselves by what we have compared to what others have, that's why we always try to keep up with the Joneses, because we measure our self-esteem by what we have. Well, if you are a believer I want you to listen to what we have in Jesus. Listen to this, this is amazing. Paul says "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us, has blessed who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places".
Now there are two words I want you to kind of put a circle around in that verse. One is the word has and one is the word every. Now I bet you've never thought about this before, but this is so important. We're not told that one day God's gonna give us all that we need, we're not told that. We're not even told that God has given us some of what we need. Paul says we have already been given all that God wants us to have in order to be what He needs us to be. Now lemme tell you why we kind of get this all confused. We think the greatest blessings in life are material, that's why we buy stuff and we keep stuff and we store stuff and we have stuff because we think the greatest blessings in life are material. Lemme prove to you why they're not, the reason why I know that the greatest blessings in life are not material is because you're either going to lose them or you're going to leave them.
One way or the other you're not gonna have them forever, somebody else is gonna have them. Somebody else is gonna live in your house, somebody else is gonna drive that car, somebody else is gonna wear your clothes, You're either gonna lose them or you're gonna leave them. The greatest blessings in life are spiritual, 'cause you never lose them and you never leave them, and they're found in Jesus. So think about this, you don't need, think about it now, you don't need what you already have, I think you agree with that, you don't need what you already have. And in Jesus, you have all that you need. You've got all the love that you need, you've got all the patience that you need, you've got all the peace that you need, you've got all the joy that you need, you got all the goodness that you need.
I'm gonna give you a very radical thought, and I had to change my thinking when I read this verse, how often do we find ourselves asking for things that we already have? I mean think about it. We don't need as much as we think we'd need because whatever we need, we already have because once you realize what you have in Jesus, you quit asking for God's blessings, and you start accepting God's blessings and applying God's blessings. So for example we've all done this at times, Lord I need more patience, and God says, "You have all the patients you need, I've already blessed you with it". Lord I need more peace. God says "I've already given you all the peace that you need, I've blessed you with every blessing". Lord I need more joy in my life. God says, "I've already blessed you with all the joy that you need in your life".
Now lemme just stop, call time out. I know 'cause if I were sitting in your chair I'd be kind of skeptical too. I know you're sitting there going, "I'm not buying that. No, no, no, no, that's positive thinking on steroids. I'm not going there". Well I'm gonna prove it to you. The moment that you give your life to Jesus He gives you everything you need. Now I'm gonna prove it to you. When you give your life to Jesus, do you get Jesus? Yes or no? Okay, so you give your life to Jesus and you get Jesus. When you get Jesus, you get everything that Jesus has, yes or no? All right, so here's my last question. What does Jesus have? Everything? So it's what you just told me. When you gave your life to Jesus, you got Jesus.
When you got Jesus, you got all that Jesus has. And what diseases have? He has everything. A woman walked into a bank one time, sat down and she said, the banker said, "Ma'am how can I help you"? She said, "I'd like to open up a joint bank account". Oh, he said, "That's great". He got out a form he said, "Now, who would you like to open that account with"? She said "A millionaire". When you become a follower of Jesus, you open up a joint account with Jesus. You draw on all the resources that He has. So He's greater than the greatest, He is richer than the richest, so guess what? For your grief, you've got His grace, for your problems, you've got His wisdom, for your strength, you got His weakness, for your needs, you've got His provision, for your sins, you've got His forgiveness.
See, we think our problem is, we just don't have what we need, when the real problem is not that you don't have what you need, the real problem is you don't realize you've already got it, all you've got to do is appropriate it. All you got to do is simply apply it because you can have it and get it anytime you want to. I'm gonna give you a good example, there's so many of you, you may be a follower of Jesus, you may not be a follower of Jesus right now, and here's why you've never become a follower of Jesus, because of the very issue we're talking about right now, you're saying, "Wait a minute, wait a minute, Can I tell you why I'm not a follower of Jesus? I can't even be a good me, I can't even get my own life together. I feel terrible about me I can't even live up to my own standards.
Now you're asking me to try to live up to the Christian life. You're asking me to try to live up to what Jesus wants me to be? I can never ever do that really". Well let's listen to something else that a disciple named Peter wrote. Peter said, "His divine power," that is God's, "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness". When Jesus comes into your life you know what He says to you? "The bad news is you can't live up to what I want you to be and what I want you to do. The good news is you don't have to, I'm gonna do it through you, and I'm gonna do it through for you. I'm gonna give you the power to live up to what I want you to be". I mean, you think about this. I know some of you think, gosh I've never heard this before. I've never heard the fact that God's already blessed us with all the blessings that we need to be all that we want us to be. That's such a, pastor thank you for such a new radical thought. Maybe radical, I wish I could take credit. It's not new, it goes all the way back to the garden of Eden.
What are you talking about? I wanna read a verse of scripture I bet you're like, I bet you've read this verse a hundreds of times and you've never seen something in this first, watch this. Genesis 1, "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them". We got that down. But then we kind of skipped over the next four words, read these with me, "and God..." Really? Question, did Adam and Eve ask God to bless them? No. Did Adam and Eve at that moment had they done anything to earn God's blessings? No. At that moment had they done anything to deserve God's blessings? No. God He had barely put a breath in them and He says, "Oh by the way, I've blessed you with every spiritual blessing, I bless you." because God doesn't bless us because of what we do for him, He blesses us because of what Jesus has done for us.
All right, So pop quiz. Everybody ready? You're a follower of Jesus, ready? Everybody ready? You're a follower of Jesus, what is your position right now? You are a what? Yeah you're a saint. Now I know some of you going, gosh I just find that hard to call me a saint. Can I be honest? I'm not gonna tell you who, some of you I find it hard to call you a saint. We're just gonna leave that aside. But you are a saint, that is your position. God's declared you righteous, all right. Then realize your possessions. How many spiritual blessings do you have? All of them, you got every spiritual blessing. God has emptied His treasure chest of every spiritual blessing so you can do anything He wants you to do, and you can be everything He wants you to be.
Now watch this, once you realize your position, man I'm a saint. And once you recognize your possessions, man why would I compare what anybody else has and what I've got? I've got every spiritual blessing in Jesus. Then you can revise your perception in Jesus. Now you know why to change your mind about the way you've always seen yourself, and in case I haven't still convinced you, listen to what else Paul says about those of us who are followers of Jesus, listen. "Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before Him, in love He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved". Hey, listen to what Paul says, Paul says, here's what God has done for you, He chose you, He loves you, He saved you.
Now here's the coup de grace, here's the cherry on the cake. He adopted you. He made you one of His own children. Now let me tell you what that means. If God's chosen you and loved you and saved you and adopted you, I think we're safe to say that God has accepted you. If one thing we are all born with from the time we come out of our mothers womb, we have this desire to be accepted, we all wanted to be a part of the in-crowd. So we all wanted that emblem on our shirt just like the cool kids wore. We all wanted the same shoes that the cool kids wore. We always want to be invited to the party that the in-kids were invited to, you know why? Because the one thing we feared more growing up than anything else, we feared rejection. We feared being on the outside looking in.
Now I want you to listen carefully, this is so important, because of Jesus God has accepted us, because of Jesus God has accepted us, you know what that means? That means you can't do anything so bad it would make God love you less, and you can't do anything so good and make God love you more. He just loves you the way you are, He accepts us just as we are.
Now here's the good news, because of Jesus, God has accepted us for who we are, then He changes us into what we need to be. And lemme just tell you, why I was pumped about this message. Couldn't wait to dictate it fast enough in my study of weeks ago, 'cause there was a time in my life I struggled with self-esteem. I mean I struggled big time, until I finally understood what I'm telling you today that turned my life around. You say you struggle with self-esteem? Yeah lemme tell you about my little story. My birthday is in December, for those of you who are generous and loving and wanna treat your pastor right it's December the 22nd. You might wanna write that down and I'm real bothered 'cause I don't see a lot of people writing that down, so if you don't mind if you've got a pen, there's a pencil in front of your seat, December 22nd. I'm just joking I wear large. Just joking, but here's my problem, today they've changed it which is a good thing but when I was born, if you turn six anytime in a calendar year you started first grade.
Now I think it's like August or July or something like that, which is a good thing. So when I started to school, I didn't realize that I was a year behind my classmates, I was a year behind physically, I was a year behind emotionally, I was a sickly kid growing up. So I was always kind of the smaller kid in my class. So guess who was the last person chosen, if you ever had a girl chosen before you in a softball game? How many of you remember Red Rover Red Rover, you remember that? They never asked me to come over. Furthermore I was raised by a dad and I love my dad, my dad loved me but my dad was very critical, not just to me, just to anybody, and he was very critical of me, and I grew up feeling like I would never be good enough to please my dad.
So I didn't have a lot of confidence growing up at all. I guess that's what drove me so much to academically because I wanted to be good at something. And I don't know exactly when or where or how but I finally realized one day self-esteem, my self-esteem can never come from what other people think about me, my self-esteem has come from what God says about me. And God says, "I'll tell you how valuable you are. I chose you, I love you. I saved you, I adopted you, I accept you". And when that finally hit me I finally understood, until you see what you are in Jesus, you will never be what God created you to be. That's why you've got to realize who you are in Jesus, you've gotta center your identity in Jesus.
Now lemme tell you why this is so important. Lemme tell you why this is true for many of you who maybe have never accepted Jesus and you think there's Christianity stuff is just a bunch of junk and all that, and you're just not buying into it. Lemme just tell you, and you watch how this works out. If you center your life and your identity on your spouse or on some other person, you will be emotionally dependent, you'll be jealous, and you'll be a control freak. If you center your life and your identity on your work and your career and what you do and how much money you make, you become a workaholic. And you'll sacrifice your family and your friends on the alter of your success.
If you center your life and your identity on money and on possessions and on things and on stuff, you'll become selfish and materialistic. And you'll worry all the time that you're gonna lose what you have, which by the way, don't worry, you are. If you sit on your life on pleasure, fun, the feeling of feeling good, you will wind up addicted to something. It may be drugs, it may be golf, but you'll wind up addicted to something. If you center your life on your goodness or even on your religion. If you live up to it, you'll be a self-righteous hypocrite that nobody can stand to be around. If you don't live up to it you'll live with guilt all of your life. But when you center your identity and who you are in Jesus, you get up every morning secure in knowing that there's a God that created you that loved you and chose you and called you and saved you and accepted you and in that God, you can be who He meant you to be., and you can do what He wants you to do.
I heard a black pastor say one time, and it's just in the inimitable way that black preachers can do it. He said, "Be who you is, because if you is who you ain't, you ain't who you is". That's great theology, that is fantastic theology. Be who you is, 'cause if you is who you ain't, then you ain't who you is. There was a mother that was talking to her five-year-old boy one day and she said, "Johnny," she said, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg". She thought she had him. He grand real big cause all mama, he said, "That's easy, the chicken came first". She said, "How do you know"? He said, "Because mama, God doesn't lay eggs". You that's true, God doesn't lay eggs.
You say, well, but you don't see me. You don't see the physical imperfections that I was born with, I'm not the best looking guy, and I'm not the most beautiful girl. And you don't see the fact as a lady told me a while ago I didn't even finish high school. You don't see that about me. You don't see the way in all the times in my life I blew it here and blew it there and all the opportunities that I threw away. I mean you could go on and on, you can give me all of your laundry lists, I get that, I understand it.
Here's what I wanna say to you. If you live your life looking in a mirror, you will never see yourself the way you really are. If you live your life, worried and fretting over what other people think about you you'll never see yourself the way you really are. But when you look in this book and you listen to what the God that made you says about you, and you listen to what the God that made you says to you and you believe it's true then you will know then who you really are. I'm a saint that God loves so much. He has emptied His treasure chest of blessings so that I can have everything I need to be what I need to be and to do what I need to do, and I have been completely and totally excepted by the creator of this universe. And in Jesus, that's who you'll be, that's what you'll have now and forever.