Robert Jeffress - Becoming a Special K Christian in a Krispy Kreme World - Part 1
Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress, and welcome again to "Pathway to Victory". As Christians, many of us long for something more in our relationship with God. We get fired up during worship on Sundays, but the rest of the week, well, it feels like something is missing. Today, I'm going to share with you how to find long-lasting contentment in both your spiritual walk and all areas of your life. My message is titled "Becoming a Special K Christian in a Krispy Kreme World" on today's edition of "Pathway to Victory".
Recently, I discovered I was out of my breakfast cereal that was my usual habit, bran flakes, and so I ran up to the supermarket to pick up a new box, and I found out they, too, were out of bran flakes. The closest thing they had was a special K cereal, and I was about to make the purchase while standing there, and suddenly, I was approached by a temptress. She was very seductively dressed in a green, red, and white outfit. She was very, very appealing. I must confess to you. They say confession is good for the soul. I'll confess to you, I was very tempted to give into my fleshly lust at that moment, to surrender to her enticements. She was a box of Krispy Kreme Donuts.
As I looked there at that box of donuts, and then thought about the special K cereal, I had a choice to make in that instant. I had to choose between taste or nutrition, between health or happiness, between that short-term exhilaration that comes from a sugar high, that comes from that long-term satisfaction that comes from eating a bowl of cereal. You know, I thought about it for a moment. I thought about all the wonderful times Krispy Kremes and I had had together before. I thought about how when you eat one of those donuts, or in my case, it's usually half a dozen of those donuts, you know, that serge you get. Oh, you feel great for a little while, and then you hit that sugar thud and you crash to the bottom.
Did I want to go for that experience, or did I want to go for the long-term satisfaction that comes from cereal? You know, that's a choice that we all face not just in relationship to our physical diet, but our spiritual diet. In this series on the Holy Spirit, we've seen that all of us have a hunger for more in our relationship with God. Don't we all want more than what we're experiencing right now? We all have that holy hunger for more. The choice is, how are we going to satisfy that holy hunger? Do we go for taste or nutrition? Do we go for sugar or substance? Do we go toward that short-term exhilaration that comes from experiences, or do we go for that long-term satisfaction that comes from a relationship with God?
Well, today, as we continue our series and actually conclude our series on the Holy Spirit, we're going to talk about the difference between being a Krispy Kreme Christian, one who's out for the short-term fixes, and being special K Christian, one who finds that lasting satisfaction. If you have your Bibles, I want you to turn to Genesis chapter 25. Genesis chapter 25. The Krispy Kreme Christian is one who is looking for exhilaration. He focuses on short-term rather than long-term solutions, and if I were going to sum it up this way, I would say the Krispy Kreme Christian, put it on your outline, is one who focuses on spiritual experiences. He's always going from experience to experience, looking for new revelations, looking for new manifestations of the Holy Spirit of God. He is one who is looking for experiences rather than spirituality. The Krispy Kreme Christian focuses on spiritual experiences.
Now, what do I mean by spiritual experiences? Gordon McDonald lists four characteristics of a spiritual experience in contrast to true spirituality. Write it down. First of all, spiritual experiences require little discipline. They require little discipline. The person who is the Krispy Kreme Christian, he's always focused on the external, what other people can do for him. He's always looking for a new song that will give him that buzz that he needs or new preaching or a new revelation from God, and because he's constantly looking to the external for his satisfaction, the Krispy Kreme Christian never has to engage in mundane disciplines like reading the Bible or praying or obeying God. It's always focused on the external. It requires little discipline. Secondly, spiritual experiences focus more on emotion than on change.
Again, that Krispy Kreme Christian is looking for the new high all of the time, but finally, when the tears dry up and the shouting stops and the goosebumps subside, the Krispy Kreme Christian finds that he is just the same person he was as before the experience. He doesn't realize that the real lessons of spirituality is not emotion, but it's transformation. Thirdly, spiritual experiences, as wonderful as they are, are short-lived, just like my sugar-induced high from the donut. It's great while it lasts. The only problem is it doesn't last. And when you come down off that high, whether it's physical or spiritual, many times, you find yourself lower than you were before you had the high, and so you're constantly craving a new experience that will give you even more exhilaration.
And then finally, spiritual experiences focus on the participant rather than on God. For the Krispy Kreme Christian, it's all about him, how he feels about things, and so he's always looking for experiences that focus on him. Maybe he's focusing even on the Holy Spirit of God. You say, well, what's wrong with focusing on the Holy Spirit? Remember what Jesus said in John 16, verse 14. "He," the Holy Spirit, "Shall glorify me". The reason the Holy Spirit came was not to draw attention to himself, but to draw attention to Jesus Christ. J.I. Packer says that the Holy Spirit of God is like a floodlight. You know, a floodlight doesn't focus on itself. It doesn't illuminate itself. It illuminates the object on which it is focused.
It's the same with the Holy Spirit. His purpose in coming was not to glorify himself, but to glorify, to illuminate the Lord Jesus Christ. The Krispy Kreme Christian is one who focuses on spiritual experiences but the special K Christian, the one who finds that lasting satisfaction focuses on spirituality. Now, what is spirituality? Remember a chief justice of the supreme court, Stewart potter was one time asked to define pornography and justice potter said, "I can't define it, but I sure know it when I see it". Same thing with spirituality. It's hard to define what real spirituality is but we know it when we see it, don't we? And one of the greatest illustrations of a special K Christian, one who focuses on satisfaction for the long-term rather than short-term fixes, is the character Abraham in the Old Testament.
If you have your Bibles, turn to Genesis chapter 25, if you haven't already. We're going to look at this character named Abraham. He had a holy hunger for more in his relationship with God, and he found that answer. He died satisfied in his relationship with God. How do I know that? Look at how Abraham ended his life, in verse eight of Genesis, chapter 25. "Abraham breathed his last and he died in a ripe old age, an old man satisfied with life, and he was gathered to his people".
Now, you know, my pastoral profession requires me to spend a lot of time in cemeteries, more time than I would normally like to spend in cemeteries, but a lot of times, when I'm waiting for the service to start, I'll walk around and look at the different tombstones and see what was written on them. In the thousands of tombstones I have seen in my lifetime, I've never seen this epitaph before. "He died satisfied with life". But wouldn't that be a great way to go out of this world? Wouldn't it be great to end your life satisfied? Wouldn't it be great that, when you drew your last breath, it was a sigh of contentment rather than a groan of disappointment? That's how Abraham ended his life, satisfied with life. What happened in his life that produced that satisfaction?
Now, we could go back and look at Abraham's life and see a great number of high points. He had some of those high points and spiritual experiences. When he was called by God to leave Ur of the Chaldees and was promised that he would be the father of a great nation, that was a high. Or think about the battle that he had with the kings of the east, and won that battle. That was a high, or when he prayed and interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah, that was a high. He had a lot of high in his spiritual life, but there is an episode in his life early on in his relationship with God that really changed the course of his life, and it best illustrates what a real special K Christian is all about. This experience was actually a real estate transaction that Abraham engaged in with one of his family members. But in this transaction, you see what gave Abraham that lasting satisfaction that characterizes a special K Christian.
So turn back to Genesis chapter 13. I said the Krispy Kreme Christian focuses on spiritual experiences. The special K believer, write it down, focuses on spirituality, and notice how this chapter begins in Genesis 13, verse one. "So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev". What was he doing in Egypt? We'll find out in just a moment. "Abraham and his wife and all the belonged to him: and Lot with him". Lot was his nephew. Now, skip down to verse six. "And the land could not sustain them while dwelling together: for their possessions were so great that they could not remain together. And there were strife between the herdsmen of Abram's livestock and the herdsmen of Lot's livestock. Now the Canaanite and the Perizzite were dwelling with them in the land. So Abraham said to Lot, 'please let there be no strife between you and me, nor between my herdsmen and your herdsmen, for we are brothers'".
Underline that. "'We are brothers. Is not the whole land before you?' Abram said. 'please separate from me: to the left, and then I'll go to the right: or if go to the right, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left'. So Lot lifted up his eyes and he saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, this was for the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of the Lord like the land of Egypt as you go to zoar". So what did Lot do? "He chose for himself all the valley of the Jordan: and Lot journeyed eastward. Thus they separated from each other. Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and he moved his tents as far as Sodom". Not a great idea, as we'll see later on, but that's where he went.
Now, what's going on here? After Abram and his family had a short stint down in Egypt, for reasons we'll look at in just a moment, they come back to the Promised Land. They come back to Canaan, and the first thing they notice is because their wealth has increased during the time they were in Egypt, the land wasn't big enough for both of them. Now, in Abram's day, the way you measured wealth was in terms of livestock, and so their livestock had multiplied where there wasn't enough land to sustain both his and Lot's livestock. And so they had a choice to make.
Let me point out here that this is the first time that wealth is ever mentioned in the Bible. When we get to this chapter, chapter 12, this is the first time, or chapter 13, this is the first time we see anybody who is truly wealthy, the first time we find somebody who had so much, they didn't know what to do, and I want you to notice, it's mentioned in a problem context. It caused a problem. Now, there's nothing sinful about being wealthy. Abraham was a friend of God, and he was wealthy. Moses was a servant of God, perhaps the most faithful in all the Old Testament. He was wealthy. We look at David, the man after God's own heart. He was wealthy. We look at job, perhaps one of the wealthiest men of his day as well. Wealth in and of itself is not sinful, but what I want you to see here is wealth does create its own unique problems. I see this as a pastor all the time.
Here are a husband and wife who struggled for years together in a marriage, and they struggled to try to build a business together, and once they reach a certain level of prosperity, what do they do? They decide they have irreconcilable differences and they split up and they go their separate ways because they can afford to do so now. I see it all the time with families, kids just fighting at each other's throats over their parents' estate. Nothing causes problems in a family any more than large estates or small estates, which is a great reason to leave your money the church, by the way. It's a great way to promote family harmony, to keep your kids together. Just give a big hunk of it to the church. They don't have anything to fight over.
A lot of people do that. They fight over estates. I see it as a pastor. Pastors tell me that the biggest fights they've ever had in their church is not when the church was running a deficit in their budget, but when they were running a surplus. What do we do with all the extra? And church members begin to fight over it fortunately, we never had that problem at first Baptist, Dallas, but it'd be a great problem to have. Maybe not. Wealth creates its own unique problems. And so, because of this, there was strife between Abraham and Lot. How are we going to sustain our flock? So Abraham says, "Lot, here's the deal. You choose which land you want, and whatever land you want can be yours, and I'll take what is left over".
Why was Abraham willing to surrender his right as the patriarch in the family and let Lot get the best of him? The reasons really illustrate what a special K Christian is all about. I want you to notice here, the three ingredients, if you will, of a special K Christian, as opposed to a Krispy Kreme Christian like Lot. First of all, the special K believer has a greater purpose in life. He has a greater purpose. You know, every life is either God-focused or it is self-focused. Every life is either live to meet a need in others or fill a greed in ourself. It's one or the other. It can't be both. By the way, what is the focus of your life? Is your life God-focused or is it self-focused? Is your life about getting all that you can? Is it about filling a need, or meeting a greed in your own life? Unfortunately, many people like Lot, the Krispy Kreme Christians, it's all about themselves.
It's the old philosophy, get all you can, can all you get, and sit on the can. That's the way Lot was living his life. He was already a wealthy person when he came back from Egypt. He had plenty, but he wanted more. Look at verse 10. The Bible says that Lot saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere. That Hebrew word saw means to long, to gaze with longing in your heart, to look at something, to long for it in your heart. When Lot looked out over that land, he said, "This is what I want. If only I could have that piece of land, then I would truly have everything I need in life".
Listen to me this morning. Do you know what it is that wars against contentment in your life? You know the greatest enemy of satisfaction in your life? It's what I call the oasis syndrome. It's the belief that happiness is somewhere other than where I am right now. If only I had that job, if only I lived in that city, if only I had that house, if only I drove that car, if only I had that amount of money, then I would truly be satisfied. The oasis syndrome, looking for happiness other than where you are right now. Years ago, I was being interviewed on a program by a well-known minister whose name everybody thinks about when they think about positive thinking, and I was talking on this program about this oasis syndrome. I kept talking about it, kept talking about it. Finally, this minister couldn't contain himself. He blurted out, "What's wrong with looking for the oasis"? After all, the toll-free number for our ministry is 1-800-oasis. That's what his whole ministry it was built on.
Here's what's wrong with looking for the oasis. The oasis is a mirage that will always out-distance you. Once you get there, you find out that's not where it is. It's just a little bit further down the road. That was Lot. His whole purpose was living for himself, that immediate self-gratification. The problem with the oasis is you never arrive there. Now, contrast that to Abraham. Abraham had a greater purpose in life than his immediate gratification. Why was he willing to surrender this land to Lot? First of all, he was concerned about his own family's wellbeing. Notice in verse eight, he says, "Please let there be no strife between you and me, for are we not brothers? Are we not from the same family"?
You see, Abraham realized that once they got back to Canaan, the problem with Canaan was it was filled with Canaanites, people who hated God and hated the people of God, and Abraham knew that if these Canaanites sensed that there was strife between Abraham and Lot, they would see that as weakness and use that as an opportunity to attack and obliterate God's people. So Abraham was saying, "For the sake of our family, let's stick together". Now, we either hang together or we hang separately. That was the idea of, "Let there be no strife between you and me".
By the way, we would do well to remember that as a church family as well. You know, one of my pet peeves as a pastor is church members who have a commitment to the church that is about a thimble deep. You know, they're here, they're with ya pastor. We'll stay here, pastor. We're with you all the way, unless we hear a song in the worship service we don't like, or you preach a sermon we don't like, or a decision is made that we don't agree with, or there's a better show down the street. In that case, we're out of here. Do you know people like that? They're in churches everywhere.
Contrast that to what Paul says should be our devotion to one another in Romans 12:10. He said, "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love: give preference to one another in honor". That word devoted is a word that refers to the natural affection that occurs between brothers and sisters, based on the fact that they are from the same womb. That's what the word brotherly means. Literally, in Greek, it means to be from the same womb. The reason we as a church family are to have a rock-solid commitment to one another and this body is because we are from the same womb, the womb of Jesus Christ. Because of that, we not only are devoted to one another, we give preference to one another.
Far too many churches are kind of like that mother pig that has all the piglets around it, screaming and squealing and pushing one another away to get at the milk, and they don't care about anybody's needs except their own. Many churches resemble that, everybody concerned about himself, not thinking about the other person and what the other person needs. You see, ladies and gentlemen, when you are born physically, God puts you into a family. You need a family for nurturing, but you also need a family to learn the character lessons that are important for life. In the same way, when you are born again, God places you in a spiritual family, a church. A lot of Christians out there are orphans. They don't have a family. But God wants you to be in a spiritual family, a church, and the reason God places you in a church is not only so you can receive the nurturing that you need, but so that you can learn what it truly means to put the needs of other people above your own.