Leon Fontaine - Getting Past the Hurt
One of the things I've been reading a lot lately is this absent thing that exists in the human race called belonging. We live in a world where the vast majority of people and it will be in this room as well. They struggle with this feeling. I don't feel like I belong. They feel disconnected actually from life. They feel lonely and they literally are teaching now many of the new age. Teachers who are writing books are saying that you need to just stop grappling with that and recognize that the human experience is lonely. You'll never feel like you belong and as long as you accept that, you'll do better. But that's not Bible.
One of the latest studies on loneliness that's been going on for years. This is how they defined loneliness. Loneliness is a perceived social isolation. Noticed the word perceived. Perceived social isolation. They feel disconnected. They don't feel connected to people, to groups. It doesn't matter where they go, they feel lonely. Loneliness researchers have some new stats. I wanna share some of them with you that I just got and it's stat on dying, what affects, how quickly we die. Well, pollution has a 5% effect on your lifespan. Obesity 20% effect on your lifespan. Excessive drinking 30% effect on how long you live. Loneliness 45% effect upon your lifespan. We live in a world that feels so disconnected. They don't belong, and it affects everything in their life. They'll get married and feel connected for about a year or two then they do not feel connected. And they begin to think like, you know, I think I made a mistake. I don't feel connected to this person. I don't feel like I belong in this marriage. I feel lonely. I feel isolated. They're not giving me what I need.
People feel that way in families, and moms will leave kids and husbands, husbands will leave kids and moms. People will leave churches. People will leave their careers. They'll leave communities. And when you really talk to them, they don't feel connected. They don't feel like they belong. Then we've got people who preach this stuff. What do you mean? Well, we've got a lot of people who say, "We as Christians, we're just strangers in another land, just passing through this world of woe". Praying, "Lord, I can't wait 'til I can get to heaven. That's my home". There's a bit of truth there but only a bit. Yes, in the Old Testament in Hebrews 11:13-16, it will say things like, "They were looking. They were strangers, foreigners, looking for a city whose builder and maker was God knowing that this was, they didn't fit in. They were just passing through".
And when you read the Old Testament, it's true. But if you teach that, and you embrace that, then we develop this crazy Christian culture of, "We are the Christians, but we don't belong here". We don't what? Yeah, we don't belong on the planet. We're strangers passing through. We're waiting for Jesus to blow, shout, twinkle, cloud, whatever He's gonna do and just take us up from this world of woe. And so because we teach this stuff now, we've already got this disconnection that the planet already has. When Adam sin and Eve sin in the garden, the first thing that happened was this horrible sense of I don't belong with God anymore. I don't belong on this walks with God. So he hid himself, and God's going, "Adam"! Yeah? "Where are you"? I'm naked. I hid myself. He feels guilt. He feels separation. He feels disconnection. And that's the way the human race, and that's the way in this room born again believers feel all the time.
There will be a bunch of you sitting here right now. They'll all go, "You know, I'm not sure if I belong here. I don't know if I feel connected. I don't know if there's community". We've got all these buzz words to continue to look at issues that we don't understand. And then we make decisions on leaving our marriages, leaving careers, leaving our churches, thinking that, "Well, you know, I just don't feel like I belong. You know, the connections gone". You lost that lovin' feelin'. Whoa, that lovin' feelin'. Now it's gone, gone, gone, woh. We listen to movies and we establish our marriages, our lives, our careers, our friendships circles, our purpose on movies. Have you seen movie writers lately? They ain't living that great a life to be the authors of what your doctrine should be and what life should look like. Gifted men and women but I would never give them my purpose or my understanding of how I make my marriage better or church better. The purposes of God better on our lives were best off to go to God's Word.
And yet, this teaching still remains that Jesus come rescue us quickly from this world of woe. And when you begin to go down that path, then who really is gonna help this planet? It won't be us. We don't belong. We're strangers passing through. Some of you will sit late at night in your bed and just feel like you don't fit, something's wrong. My life's not right. And we all have friends and family who take their lives. Now, there can be a multiplicity of reasons for that. But one of the glaring ones is, I'm not connected. I don't belong. I'm lonely. I'm isolated. No one understands me. Some of you have been raised in homes that nurtured that in your life. And if you don't deal with this lie, this mind game. You will destroy your marriage. You will destroy your family. And one of the worse thing is, you will curse your kids to wander this planet feeling disconnected, lonely, and isolated. Because of watching mom and dad not know how to engage, not knowing how to connect, not knowing how to walk with love and joy and connection and relationship.
There are people today here, that if I ask you who, if you have some good friends? No. In my grandpa's day they used to drive home, had a front porch, a rocking chair, a swing. After work you grabbed some iced tea, sit there. And all of your friends would come walking home and you'd visit and laugh. Now, you'd drive into your remote-control garage. You push the button. You see your neighbor out, so you quickly drive in and push the button even before the car off. And you make sure that door is closing behind you. I don't have to talk to him. You're so disconnected, you don't even realize that the fruit of your life is loneliness, isolation, and that's got nothing to do with Christianity. Jesus said in John 14:15 that He was leaving His 12 disciples. Here's what He said to them. He said I've gotta go. And all of a sudden, they go, "What"? Have you ever had a friend so close to you, maybe a spouse?
That when they passed away and left, it took you years to reenvision your life because it was always together. And you had friends that you hang out with and had the same dreams, the same focus, the same future, and then something happened, and they walked, and here you are. Well, Jesus was leaving, physically leaving the 12 disciples and He looks at them and He makes the comment. There's only a couple of times this word is use in the Bible. And He says this, He says, I will not leave you orphans. Orphans. What's an orphan? And orphan is someone who doesn't have a mom, doesn't have a dad. They both passed away or as a child they dropped you off because they didn't feel like they could look after you. Maybe you grow up in fosters home. Maybe you grow up from place to place.
We've got people, I've talked to them in our church who feel so disconnected, never connected to anyone because they have what I would call an orphan's heart. They don't trust people. They don't feel connected. No matter where they go, they expect to be turfed. They expect to be rejected. They expect to not make it. There's no ability within them to believe for connection. Their marriages will be on disconnected. Even from their own kids, they'll feel disconnected. And when it all happens, they'll think that, "Yeah, that's what, I knew that. I knew that all along". No. You're not knowing the future. Listen to me, you are creating your future with that attitude. You gotta stop". There are marriages here today that you doubt your spouses' love. And I got news for you. They love you more than you love you. That's the issue. And you can't receive more than what you love. The measurement, the set point on how much love you can receive is set by how much you love you.
Love your neighbor as yourself. If you don't love you. If you aren't thankful for where you are and who you are and what God has done even with all your warts and issues. That if you don't learn to value, love yourself, you cannot, nobody can love you or they will. Everyone will love you way more than you can accept, feel, measure, or even believe. The issue is not your relationship. The issue is you. And the enemy's greatest temptation is to make you feel like you don't belong. You say, "Leon, you know, I thought it was just me". No, it's not. I remember growing up and being preached. Preachers would come by and they talked about strangers in another land. Just singing about take me home. Swing low, sweet chariot. Coming for to carry me home. And all this doctrine if you were raised the same way. And I would literally go to school and feel left out like I don't belong.
I remember going into sports teams like I don't belong. I remember being in church and feeling isolated. I don't belong. Because the enemy uses that to destroy. And there are people here who don't have friendships because you think there's just no good people left anywhere. Every time I get a friend, I get hurt. Of course, you do. Every time you get a friend, you hurt them. You just don't see it. It's a part of friendship. What is? Getting past the hurt. Getting past the stupidness. Trusting somebody, loving them, and then having to get to the next chapter in that relationship takes speaking truth and love, except for all of you who bail out. The heroes of the faith Samson and Barak and Moses and all this great Old Testament heroes. The Bible says that they were, they were looking for a builder and a city whose maker was God. It says that they were strangers in another land. It says they were foreigners.
But let me give you another verse for some reason people miss this one. Ephesians 2:19, the apostle Paul says it this way. "Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners". What? You are no longer strangers, foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints". One of my brothers went through a phase and he'll tell you, where he knew he wasn't a part of our family. He was convinced he was adopted. He was convinced that he didn't fit in like the rest of us. That the rest of us, we kind of saw him as an out. And it's actually in every family. You'll forgive if larger, you'll find in every family someone will feel like a black sheep. You were the black sheep of the family. You know, you, and this feeling of isolation. And Jesus is saying here through the apostle Paul, no longer are you strangers, no longer are you foreigners. Why is this? Because when Jesus died on the cross, so the kingdom of God became alive in the hearts of men and women.
There's just incredible feeling as, I'm here and the earth is my home and I'm gonna occupy. I wanna get to heaven. Thank God, I'll get to see Jesus and I'm looking forward to heaven. But when I'm down here, when I see a beautiful ocean, my dad made that. When I see a gorgeous mountain, my dad made that. When I hang out with people, I belong. This is the family of God, some know it, some don't know it. But I'm here with a sense of belonging. I'm here with a sense of love. I'm here with a sense of look what God is doing. Some of you young people, you're gonna hit 50's and 60's and you're gonna look back at your life and you're gonna go, "Dang! Why did I act so subdued? Why didn't I just live with passion? Why didn't I play harder, love more, complement, build more relationships, try more things? Why did I give in to the sense? Come on, you Canadians. Let's make a decision to live our lives in a way that where God, He says, "Hey, you're my child".
In Romans chapter 8, it says, if the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in you, it will quicken your mortal body. We use it for healing. But it also means make you alive with the life of God. Jesus did not walk around like He didn't belong. Are you kidding me? He took authority over winds and waves and dead people and sickness and disease and demonic interference. He raised up people. The teachings that He made changed the then known world. What is it about us that's gonna stop feeling like, "I'm on the planet and now I'm here because God put me here. And I'm not gonna walk anywhere and feel like I don't belong, and I don't fit in. I guess take me home sweet Jesus". No. We as the church and you as an individual, you need to make a decision. When you feel disconnected, isolated. When you feel like I don't belong, you need to know it's one of the greatest tricks of the enemy there is.
In Romans 8:5 and on, it says, to be carnally minded is death. What does it mean to be carnally minded? It means to depend upon the wisdom of that secular carnal mind, to try to think your problems through with the latest psychology, psychiatry, or whoever the newest Oprah is on the planet. They're gonna help me understand I'm different, just don't belong, just lonely, just don't fit in. It's just not for me. I don't understand why. Everyone feels that way. Everyone has moments of that. We just make decisions that I'm not giving in to that kind of thinking. I'm not giving in to sitting on the fringe. I'm not giving in to, "I guess this is good as it gets". I'm not giving in to this thing. And so I want you to know that God gives you permission to live. Get up and belong. Get up and embrace life. Get up and live with passion.
David and the Psalms has a common statement. And I only find it in the Psalms and we have a hymn written about it. Remember that old hymn, I shall not be, I shall not be moved just like a tree. Planted by the waters. I shall not be moved. That comes from the Psalms, four times David would say things. I'll read you one of them in 62:5, he says, "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation. He is my defense. I shall not be moved". What is that mean? Satan is trying to get you to move out of your marriage, to move out of your church, move out of something. Get out at where you're going because you don't belong. You're lonely. Things aren't working out. And as long as you're in the carnal mind's way of thinking, death is ahead of you. But to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
You see, I can't even look to my own wife for my sense of belonging. She can't look to me for her sense of belonging. I don't have enough. There's not enough in me to give her a continued sense of belonging and importance and etcetera. I mean, I try hard and she tries hard. We love encouraging in one another but there's no way she can ever be enough. I put my sense of belonging on her and she lets me down. I'm gonna be attacking her. I'm gonna be upset with her. I'm gonna be disconnected from her. But if my sense of belonging is because of Jesus and the Spirit of Christ who's on the inside of me. And my sense of belonging, my sense of significance, my sense of it, is with Him. Then I can turn, and I can build healthy relationships, healthy friendships, healthy churches. When you feel disconnected, when you feel like you don't belong, when you feel like the things aren't going the way I want.
You need to be careful because your brain is going on a hostile direction. And the enemy is trying to circle you out and he's trying to make you quit. He's trying to make you move. He's trying to make you make decisions inside that are gonna affect your entire future because of what you believed. I shall not be moved. You see folks, there's a love you must believe in, there's a love you must experience, and that is God's love. For you to not experience God's love and to love God, is gonna limit every relationship you've got. The Holy Spirit on the inside of you will always bring peace. He'll bring joy. He'll bring a sense of unity. We'll move from strength to strength in your marriage. You'll move from strength to strength in your family. The Bible says generations of your family will just grow stronger and greater and one generation will teach the next generation.
And so don't let the enemy come in and make you feel like, "I don't know if I belong anymore. I think my season is over here". Really? Tell that to your kids. Tell it to your spouse. No. Let's make sure that I shall not be moved. Let's make sure that we don't allow the enemy to come in. And I wanna challenge you to allow Holy Spirit. When you pray in the Spirit, when you read God's Word, when you come to worship. Here's what I want you to start doing. I want you to give yourself permission to belong. When you walk in this door, when you drive on this parking lot, you should go, "I belong". When you walk into this church and you go, "I belong". Now, your flesh it gonna go, "No, you don't. This is why there's a problem over here".
Don't allow the whispers, the lies of the evil one to cause you to leave from the fringes, to cause you to leave from the stands, rather than the middle of the exciting game of life. I challenge you, make your marriage rich and beautiful. Well, you don't know what I'm putting up with. Nothing that isn't new to everybody else out there. No, I know there are marriages that are brutal. I'm not giving them permission to stay there. God will guide you in that. Just talking about everyday stuff that the enemy tries to circle you out. Walk with joy. Make a decision that wherever you are, you're gonna be totally present in the moment. Make sure that if you're gonna love, you're gonna love with abandon to your family, your spouse.
You're gonna get involve and roll up your sleeves with your local church and go, "This is the church that is rocking this nation, our city, the world. Let's get involved. Let's no longer, "Well, you know". Just stop it. Let's step in the waters are deep, waters to swim in. The Bible said stop walking up to your knees, stop walking up to your chest. Get in there and let's go live for God so that when you're old and grey and a 120, you go look back and go, "Man, I landed and I'm gonna die but I've used up everything. I'm exhausted. I got bruises and scratches, but I give it my best shot. I live for Christ. I did something for Him". This is what God wants you to do.