Leon Fontaine - The Righteous Version Of You
Years ago, I was a, before I got married actually. I was a sport director at a camp in the northern part of the states. While I was there, they introduced me to a man a little older than me. So he'd be in his early 20s. Who had just given his life to Christ and he was from Winnipeg. And so he, they want me to make friends, follow up with him a little bit. And at that time I was working for Puma. I was training for the Olympics in track and field and they sponsored me.
So I was working there, and I got him a job with me. This guy's given his life to Christ. And so he started sharing his past with me. This guy was involved in a lot of bad stuff, shady stuff. He collected a lot of debt. I don't know what to call him today an enforcer, you know. Whether it's a mob or whether it's, you know, bike gangs. He was involved in that whole world and he was kind of hiding as well. He'd given his life to Christ. He had removed himself from that world. He was working with me there.
And so we got a chance to know each other and some of his stories were so farfetched. That, you know, you kind of go, "Do I believe him"? But, I mean, one day we're walking down the aisle of the warehouse. That they were selling stuff, wholesaling it out to the nation. And he found this box of badminton awls. Which a badminton awl would be like an icepick, very, very similar. And he picked up the box and just out of the blue one after the other snapped them probably 20 feet, 20, 30 feet. Just bam! And within the shape of a head he put six of them. Just bam, bam, bam, bam, bam!
And I was just shocked that he had developed the skill because you can't throw a badminton awl. It's really hard. I mean, we throw knives and hatchets. The guys and I, we enjoyed that. But throwing that thing is hard. Then he talked about, you know, how bad his life was. And so, you know, at the time I was involved in martial arts and he was. So we'd go in the ring a little bit and this was a bad dude. But there was one thing that I noticed that he continually said, that I couldn't get him to change. He get into a church or he, and it was always, "Ah, this is just not me. This is not me". What are you talking about? He says, "I just feel like a hypocrite because this isn't me". I said, "You've given your life to Christ, right"?
Yes! The old you is dead. Yes! Well, now you got to make a decision. And didn't matter how I talk to him. He just couldn't. And the word I'm going to use today. I didn't know how to say it back then, was his identity was still in the old him. And he felt like if he was to be a follower of Christ. He was confused. He didn't know what to think. It's that it didn't feel real. He didn't feel genuine, you know. You think genuine is hurting people, killing people. You think is getting drunk, getting stoned. You think genuine is going and robbing stuff. That's the genuine you? And he didn't know how to handle that. And everybody here, we have the same problem.
And I want to talk to you about moving from you, from the fake to the real. You moving from the fake to the genuine. Because if you don't make this decision, you're going to struggle with the Bible. He spent a couple of months with me there and then just left. Quit the job. I didn't know where he went. One day I got a phone call. He had taken his own life. He gave his life to Christ, tried to do it in the most painful way he could because he was such a bad person, an evil person. He didn't deserve to die quickly.
So he figured out a way to make himself painfully, you know, while he died. And it really impacted me as I began to recognize that there are people, others would come into the church and, you know, they're coming from a past and they really think that this addicted, fearful, or angry. That this is who they are. They've attached their identity to all of their failures, their addictions, their angers, whatever it is. And we all have this same issue and none of us wants to be a hypocrite.
One guy said to me, "I can't go to church, pastor, man. If I walk in, lightning would strike". And I said, "Really"? I said, "Do you think you're bad? Man, I can introduce you to 40 guys that are bader than you, tougher than you, and done a whole lot worse than you. What you think"? We're all little whitey faced whitey heart guys to walk around saying, "God bless you". This is a church filled with everything you can imagine.
And giving your life to Christ doesn't make you less masculine. Giving your life to Christ doesn't make you less feminine. We're not all a bunch of clones walking around here saying, "You got to dress alike, talk alike". Say, "Praise the Lord. Glory to God. God bless you. How are you doing"? Like, but yet religion does say that. Religion tries to control people and make them all alike. But that's not what God wants. God doesn't want you to change who you are. He wants the righteous version of who you are. Not the addicted, angry, or so shy you can't even enjoy life version of you.
And so today, I want you to understand that you're going to make a decision. Which is the fake you and which is the real you? And until you make that decision, the Bible's going to be so hard. The Bible's going to be impossible. You're going to try to bring change to your behaviour externally. You're going to try to bring change to how you handle people. You're going to try to bring change to how you handle everything from sex to money. And if those things you were raised, and that money is no good. You're raised in poverty. Then you think that the impoverish you is the real you. That's the fake you.
So I don't know what area is eating you for lunch. I don't know what area. Whether you're angry man. Whether you're someone who just so shy, can't get them out. It's just who I am. No. That's the fake you. And the fake you is still there because you believe it's the genuine you. And every time you tried to change into the real you. You feel, you know, discomfort. You feel, oh it's called transition. Talk to a woman. There's nothing fun about transitioning when you're having a baby. All right. Baby's in, baby's coming out. Okay, but there's nothing fake about this and it doesn't feel good.
There's going to be things in your life that are going to feel weird. They're going to feel awkward. It's not like you used to be. Is this me? And so today, I'm going to, I don't know how many message I'm going to do on this, but I've got to get you to have an aha moment. The way I was raised was like a lion being raised by a bunch of poodles. The lion never thought it was a poodle. He needs to know that's the fake you, dude. Come on. Get up and be a lion. Jesus is not the poodle of Judah. Jesus is a lion of Judah. Jesus is not some precious mementos little glass figurine wearing flipflops and a dress. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Read Revelations 1 in full armour, white hair, eyes. This is the Jesus we serve.
So you're gonna have to make a decision. Who am I? And don't give me some religious, "Well, you know". No. I mean, literally you see, most people, the reason that they're life isn't developing, and that character isn't growing, that emotions aren't becoming more beautiful and more manageable is because they're never deliberate about becoming who they really are. They're still hang up with this identity issue or they've never thought about it. But yet deep inside all of their upbringing, they feel it's genuine.
So you are going to let your parents decide who you are. Maybe your dad was a big poverty guy. So now your identity is poor boy. Maybe your mother was an angry person who couldn't control her temper and it was always this awkward low grade anger in the home. There was never a sense of peace. And so, you know, when you actually feel peace, you think something's wrong. That's not the real you. You know, I tried to be the best parent I can. I love my five kids.
Now, I got ten because they're all married and grandkids, and doing the best I can. But there is no way I can train them to be children of God. I can train them to be the children of Leon and Sally. But I can't train them to be children of God. God's got to get involved. I got to do things His way. So even when they're done growing up with me and they're adults. They're going to have to deliberately decide who they are, what their identity is, and what are the characteristics, values, and emotions of a Christ follower.
Now, if you stay stuck on the fake you. This is me. Then the Bible becomes a list of do's and don'ts. It's all it is. But if you make this change that I'm talking about today, who are you? And I'll show you this identity and you latch on to that. The Bible stops being a book. "Well, I have to do that, and I got to do that, and that too"? Or it's, this is the manual that goes with me. Who am I? "I ride upon the high places of the earth. Everything I put my hand to prospers. Give me the power to make wealth. I lay my hands on the sick and they shall recover. I walk in the joy and the peace of God. I, even my enemies are at peace at me. I wake up in the morning knowing that my steps are directed by the Lord".
You begin to look at these things and it's no longer, "Oh, how do I get there"? No, no. This is who you is. So until you believe your new identity, you're going to stay stuck in your old one. And this is why so many people backslide. They tried Christianity for a while. Now, the Bible calls that becoming discipline follower of Jesus or disciples.
Now, religion is telling us disciples, you know, they just have all this listed don'ts and they're so in control. No, no. A discipline follower of Jesus is a person who is submitted to the Lordship of Christ, yes. But it's easy to be like Him because His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. And once you said all the identity issue, you simply are transformed rather than changed. A guy came to us, came to me one time. He said, "Just give me a list of the rules that I can do.
So I know if I can come to your church. Give me the top 10. What can I do? Just let me know what I can't do". I said, "Dude, this is not about us all agreeing on the list. I think everyone has got a different list". I said, "It's not about you". He said, "I don't know what I can change. I mean, this is who I am. And so just like tell me what I can't do, and I'll just let you know if I can fit". See, that's not a good way of looking at it because he thinks that this addicted, fallen, angry, anti-social him that's been developed is the real him. But it's the fake him. It's like a little baby lion who's mama's dead being brought by this South African farmer and handed to the poodle and it latches on and grows up for a year thinking he's a poodle
So many people think, "This is who I am". And for the rest of your life you will live out the lies. The misbeliefs, the poverty, the anger, the low self-worth. That never be able to handle money, never be able to make friendships. This is just who I am. Who you? Well, I just, you know, me and people we just don't get along. I'm a loner. It's just, this is who I am. No, that's the fake you. You were made for relationship with God, with a spouse, with friends, with people around you.
So why do you keep saying, "This is the real me". You haven't got a hot clue who the real you is. And so we go to God's Word. And God's Word is very powerful. In Psalm 8:4-5, it says, "What is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him? Yet, You've made him but a little lower than god, and You have crowned him with glory and honor". I like one author. He brings up that when you look into this words glory and honor which we don't use today. He says, "You are crowned with dignity and worth".
Don't think that the undignified lifestyle that you have or the indignities that you suffered. And that you think, "Well, that's just who I am, because my dad says I'm a loser. My uncle said I'm the black sheep of the family. And I've never been able to", Who says that's you? Because the Bible says you are crowned. When you give your life to Christ, there's a massive change in your spirit. And you get your dignity and your self-worth from God's love because He's crowned you with dignity. He's crowned you with worth. You don't need to be the best gifted, best looking. You don't need to be the badest guy in the room. You don't need to be the best looking dressed woman in the room to have dignity and worth. It comes from God.
And when you look at 2 Corinthians 3, I encourage you to read it on your own. But it basically is where we get the line for the song from glory to glory, He's changing me. He's changing me. Now, there's a difference between external change and internal transformation. The word transformation in Romans 12, metamorphoo, where we get our English word metamorphosis, is not talking about an external change. It's talking about an internal change where a caterpillar literally spins a cocoon and out comes a transform caterpillar. He's a butterfly.
And God is saying to you and I, that when you gave your life to Christ, that you are now genuinely you have an opportunity to be you. The righteous version of you. It's not that you have to become a different you. This is the righteous version of you, because the unrighteous version of you is making you sick. You're going to die young. You're going to destroy your marriage, your relationships. If you have kids, you're going to destroy them, too. You're going to destroy everything good in your life. Because to be carnally minded is death. But to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
And everyone of us including me is continually putting off that old because that's the fake me. I'm putting on the new. I'm putting off the angry temper because that is not me. This is me. And when you teach your kids that way, that hey, that's not you. No, that angry kid that just broke all that and got mad. That's not even you. So stop doing that. Not looking at him going, "You angry. I'm so sick and tired of you. You're always angry. You're just a little liar".
See, you're attacking his identity. And we also do the same with adults. So we need to make a decision. What is the genuine you? Well, the Bible says you are made in the likeness and the image of God. That you can have the thoughts, the feelings, and the purposes of Jesus. That verse in Corinthians, I think it says there that, that who can know the mind of God as to give Him advise. But we have the mind of Christ. In the Amplified version it says, and we hold His emotions, His thoughts, and His purposes.
You, you weren't designed to walk this planet with alcohol in charge. You weren't designed to walk this planet with porn in control of your life. You weren't designed to walk this planet with money in charge of your life or this need to impress everybody and... No. You genuinely are to function like Christ. As He is, so are we in this world.
Now, there's a ton of Christians who go through God's Word, look at what they should do. Do the best to their ability and thank God He forgives me for the rest. But they actually don't go on transforming. And so today, with just a little time I got left. Let me just say a couple of things you can work on. Most people don't change much because they don't become deliberate about it. They don't become deliberate about it. And because they don't become deliberate about it. They're not deciding who they are. They're not deciding.
And so we've got to make a decision as to, who am I? And then, what does that person look like? What are the traits that I am? Am I filled with joy or am I still struggle with depression and anger? And recognize that you cannot bring change externally very easily and it usually doesn't last. But you can bring change internally. Holy Spirit will help you and that's called transformation. Don't conform to this world. That's the fake you. Whatever you were raised in the world, with all your failures, addictions. The nuances that you hate about yourself that you want to change. And you're afraid, maybe that's who I am.
No. Listen to me. You are who Christ made you to be. And as you apply yourself and look into God's Word, meditate as to who you are because of Jesus. The Spirit of God goes to work on the inside. And when you identify with who you are, which is Jesus on the inside. It is impossible to stop the new behaviour. That's why the Bible says out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Psychology calls them Freudian slips. But you'll begin to speak differently, act differently. You'll begin to conduct yourself differently. And this heart where it's the control center of your life begins to attack the right people, the best business.
All these things they go, "Why is this so easy"? Because we labor to enter the rest. Meaning, we labor to make sure that we know what our identity is and what it looks like according to God's Word. As you labor to renew your mind with who is the genuine Leon Fontaine. Oh, I mean, my wife, my brothers, my family. They can poke at all of my weaknesses. But I'm so glad that that's the fake me that I keep moving back to once in a while. But the genuine me is made in the likeness and the image of God. You are precious. You are powerful with Christ on the inside. And if you stop laboring to change the outside, first change the inside by dealing with this identity issue.
And we'll talk about this more and to help you recognize wow, because this year will be stunning in whatever area you have lacked. Whatever area you are out of control. Whatever area that you just feel, you know, conflicted, down, bluesy, depressed about. People are struggling with identity issues and when those get resolved. In other words, you make the choice basically, "No, that's not me". Just listening to this message and taking it to heart is going to put you in a completely new track because some of you had been lied to. You believed a lie about who you are and what your identity is, etcetera.
And God is saying to us, "That's not who I made you to be". And by the way, God says, "I'm the creator". And so you were designed in heaven. You were made by God. And it's the creator of something that tells you what its purpose is and who and what it is. You make that decision today. And I'm telling you, you are going to have a year that begins to change. As you labor to enter the rest. As you labor to recognize who you are and what that looks like. It's going to come out effortless.