Robert Morris - Passing the Pride Test
Hey, everyone. Good to see you. Glad to be back. Thank you, thank you. I'm glad to be back. Thank you. And all the campuses, all the Gatherings. If you don't know, so every June and July, I take a vacation, then a study break. And so I've been studying now for several weeks, and I've already got a brand new series for the spring. I already knew what I was going to preach this fall, but just so you know, the first week that I'm back from study break, I normally preach about 3 hours. So if you don't... You might have wanted to bring a sandwich or something. But no, we'll be okay.
Hey, here's something I don't know if you noticed, but on vacation I lost 18 pounds. And Debbie lost 14 pounds, which she didn't have as much to lose as I did, but I told her I wanted to do it on vacation and kind of change some habits. And she said, "Why on vacation? Let's do it when we get back". I said "No, I really feel like I'm need to". And then I got confirmation from one of my grandchildren that I needed to lose weight. Grandchildren don't have filters. Have you noticed that? Children don't. Grandchildren don't. And so we went to a restaurant right before vacation. I won't say who, but anyway with one of our kids and their kids, and it was a hamburger and fries type place, and I just normally have water, and I just thought, I hadn't had one a long time. So I said, "I want a Diet Coke". And because this grandchild's parents don't drink Diet Cokes and things like that, he said to me, "Papaw, what's a Diet Coke"? And he said, "I know what a Coke is". I said, "Well, it's just like a Coke". But I said, "It keeps you from getting fat". And he said, "It's not working".
Anyway, so we're working on it, all right. We're beginning a new series today, and I thought Pastor Josh did a great job. You can tell he's a teacher. He's got that gift of teaching that he's just going along and he says something and it's so deep. And then he says something else and you're kind of like, "Hey, hang on, hang on. I'm still chewing on that". And obviously, again, but I thought it was one of his best ever, Pastor Tim Ross just hit it out of the park with The Miracles of Jesus. And I appreciated Keisha Russell. That was the first time we'd had her here for July 4th. We always try to do something patriotic and think about praying for our nation and all. And Jelani then Memorial Day before that. So anyway, it's been good.
So what I'm doing is I'm doing a series that I've done before. I want you to know that, but I feel so strongly about this series. And I told the team even last fall that I would do it sometime in this year because God just kept speaking to me. So the title of the series is Dream to Destiny. And so you may have heard the series before. I did it the first time in 2003, and so we're a little larger now. And then we actually put it in a book, and it became a best-selling book. And then I did it again in 2011. So that was eleven years ago, but God's Word is eternal. And so I'm going through studying them all, and these principles are for life. I mean, these are principles I promise you God is going to speak to you.
The first time I did this series in 2003, immediately the publisher heard the first two or three and called and said, "We've got to turn this into a book". But my son James, so this was in 2003, 19 years ago, but he said to me after one of the messages. He said, "Dad, I think you're making a mistake with the church". He's 18 years old, so I knew he had a lot of wisdom. And so I said, "So what mistake am I making"? He said, "Well, you're preaching all these good messages, and we know the church is going to grow. And I think you're going to run out one day". So I'm not preaching this because I've run out of good messages, I promise you. I just want you to know God's going to speak. When I start a series, I'll take about half the first message and lay the foundation. So just know that.
So when I get to point one, don't think that I am going to preach 3 hours, okay? We'll be okay. All right? But this is the way this message came about. It was actually 2002, because it was in 2003 when I preached to the whole church. But in 2002, I preached to the young adults, and there might have been six of them. I'm not sure, maybe a few more than that. But I was driving down the road thinking about it, and many of you know, I was an associate pastor at Shady Grove Church, which is our Grand Prairie campus now, before, and we started a young adults ministry there. I'm just trying to think how to say this because these were not bad guys, but some older guys at that time. We wanted it to be for the 20-somethings, but some guys in their 30s that had not gotten married yet were coming, I thought, for the wrong reason. I thought they were, not in a bad way, because if you want to find a wife, church is a good place, but that's not the reason you go to church. And then there were even some 40-somethings coming, and it was young adults.
And so we started thinking about putting kind of a, defining an age limit. At that time, Shady Grove Church was at 1829 West Shady Grove Road. It's moved since then to where it is now and where our campus is there. And so the young adults pastor said, "Hey, I've got a great name. I really feel good about it. Just call it 1829. And that way we'll just kind of define it's for 18 to 29 year olds. And I'll meet with some of these older folks that are coming..." Older, in their 30s and 40s. "...and just let them know, hey, we really want to do messages targeted at them, and then we're going to have something for over 30. We're going to start another ministry, and we'll do something to be targeted for your age group".
Okay, so I'm driving down the road in 2002 thinking, and I remembered 18 to 29. So I'm thinking, 18 to 29. We actually used that as the age demographic when we started young adults here. This is for 18 to 29 year olds, even though we didn't call it that. So I'm thinking, "What do 18 to 29 year olds need"? 18, 29. 18 to 29. 18, 29. Literally, on 114, driving down the road, and all of a sudden, 18 to 29, I thought, I just backed up a year, and I thought of 17, and I went forward one year and thought of 30. And just like that, it hit me. Joseph was 17 when he got the dream from God, and he was 30 when he stepped into his destiny. And I started thinking about character tests that God takes us through after He gives us the dream to prepare us to be able to handle the destiny. Are you following me?
And immediately I thought of The Pride Test, which is the first message today. So today is called The Pride Test, all right? And I thought of the pride test because he went out and bragged about his dream. We'll look at that in a minute. And then I thought, "Well, he failed that test". And so then he went to the pit test, and then he went to the palace test at Potiphar's palace. And then at the palace test, he went through the purity test. And then after the purity test, he went to the prison test. And after the... You see what I'm saying? And I knew it was from God, because they all began with the same letter. So I knew I was getting a good sermon from God. And so I preached that one message in one night, ten tests to the young adults. And then I realized, everyone needs this. And here's what I want you to understand. You keep taking these tests for the rest of your life, because every time you get a promotion, you're going to take the pride test.
Every time you get a compliment, you might take the pride test, every time you get an award. One of them is the prosperity test. How do you handle money? Well, every time you get a raise, you're going to take another prosperity test. It's another level. So no matter how old you are, you're still there. And it's not just stepping into your destiny, it's fulfilling your destiny. And let me just let you know, if you're still breathing, you have not completed your destiny yet. You still have more on this Earth God wants you to do. So if the person beside you is breathing... and if they're not, raise your hand. Let's call 911, okay? That person still has a destiny. Does everyone follow me on this, okay? All right. So anyway, let's look at Genesis 37. Let me tell you the story about Joseph, now.
Genesis 37 verse one. "Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. This is the history of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old", there's where I got that from, "was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah..." These are two ladies, Bilhah and Zilpah. I'm sure they were lovely ladies, but anyway, "...his father’s wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father". I want you to notice, before he ever has a dream, he's already a tattletale. He already brings a bad report. See, we are going to see in a moment that God will give you a dream. And his dream actually wasn't his destiny. His dream was to work things out of his life so he could fulfill his destiny. So we'll see that very clearly.
By the way, Bilhah was Rachel's maid. Zilpah was Leah's maid. Just to give you a little background. Again, if you've forgotten this, Jacob was a manipulator, so God sent him to work for a bigger manipulator than he was. I want some of you to think about that if you think you're working for a manipulator. So anyway, I just think that's good, but you're not laughing about it because you think, "I don't really like that Pastor Robert". Okay, so he falls in love with Rachel. He works seven years to get her. Laban then gets him liquored up on his wedding night, and then he goes in the tent, and they didn't have, like, ceremonies and all. When you consummate the marriage, you're married.
So he goes to the tent and Laban slips Leah, his older daughter, in the tent on him, and he consummates the marriage. He wakes up next morning, sees Leah, and he's a little frustrated, obviously, and says to his father-in-law, Laban, "What did you do"? And he said, "Well, in our country, it's customary for the older daughter to get married first, and since she hadn't gotten married, you needed to marry her". But he said, "But if you'll work seven more years for me", I told you he was a big manipulator. He got 14 years free labor out of him. "If you'll work seven more years, I'll give you Rachel". Okay? So he loves Rachel. Leah then has six sons, and then Rachel gives her maid to Jacob, and she has two sons. Leah then gets jealous because she can't have any more kids.
So she gives her maid to Jacob, who has two sons. And then God opens Rachel's womb, and she has two sons. The only reason I want to share this with you is some of you might not know the twelve tribes of Israel came from four different mothers. People just don't think about these things sometimes when they read the Bible. Leah had six; Bilhah, two; Zilpah, two; Rachel, two. But Rachel's firstborn was Joseph, and it was his son of his old age. But then she actually had another one named Benjamin. Okay, everyone caught up now? Okay, verse 3, "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic", that's an Old Testament word for coat, "of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him".
Notice it doesn't say that they didn't like him a little. They hated him. "Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more". And this is his dream. "So he said to them, 'Please hear this dream which I've dreamed: There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheath arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.'" Okay. He is talking to older, stronger, bigger brothers that hate him. Think of the wisdom to tell them this dream. Now, I don't mean this against any 17-year-old here, but do any of you remember how stupid you were at 17? I'm sure there are a lot of brilliant ones now, but I was a stupid one. Okay?
All right. Verse 8. "And his brothers said to him, 'Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?' So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words". In other words, the way he talked about himself. "Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers". This guy's got a lot of wisdom, was a very wise young man. "'Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon...'", that would represent his father and his mother, "'...and the eleven stars...'" His eleven brothers. "'...bowed down to me.' So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, 'What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?' And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind". Kind of like Mary "kept all these things in her heart".
And then just so you see the 30, Genesis 41:46. "Joseph was thirty years old when he stood before Pharaoh king of Egypt". So he's 17, and then he's 30. And I want to tell you again, these tests... By the way, some of these tests are going to be after he's 30. Some all the way up to when he's 45 years old. So they continue, and they continue the rest of your life. I promise you, please please, please hear me, we take tests because our character is the foundation for our destiny. You will never have a larger destiny than your character. Never. All right, so here's number one, first point: God has a dream for you. The first thing you need to know is, God has a dream for you. Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you'", in other words, God has a plan for your life, "...declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
God has a dream and a plan for everyone. He has a plan for your life. He has a plan for you. And I want you to know that God's dream is bigger and better for your life than your dream is. I promise you. Now, I could back that up with over 100 scriptures. That's easy to back up. But I'll just back it up with a truth that you can't argue with. The reason God's dream is bigger and better for you than your dream is is because God is bigger and better than you. And that's just a simple fact of theology. God's bigger and He's better than you. So His dream for you is bigger and better than yours, if you'll just get out of the way and let Him do what He wants to do. He can do it. So God has a plan for every person. Joseph's dream was from God. God gave him these dreams, but He gave him these dreams to prepare him for his destiny.
Now, this is the only test out of the ten that I think Joseph failed. Actually, let me rephrase that, just to show you something. God is so gracious, you actually never fail a test with God. He is so gracious that you just take it over and over and over again until you pass it. So you can move to another city, you can go to another church if you get mad at me, whatever. I'm just telling you, you're still going to take the same test until you pass it. He never puts F at the top of your paper. I saw lots of F's on my papers growing up. But God never puts an F. He just puts, "Retake". And so you're going to take it. So Joseph does this. But here's what I think about this. This is the pride test. God gives him a dream. And I'm telling you, God has a dream for you. But how can you know God's dream?
Well, let me show you a scripture. Numbers 12, verse 6. This is talking about, God is talking about Moses. "Then he said, 'Hear now my words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, make Myself known to him in a vision; and I speak to him in a dream. Not so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house. I speak with him face to face, even plainly", And we just, after Pastor Josh's series, we realize that was Jesus talking. And I thought, "Wow, what a great, Jesus, Before Christ. What a great thing to show us Jesus in the Old Testament". Okay, but Moses, God said, "I speak to others through dreams and visions, but I speak to Moses face to face". But we know again from that series, that was Jesus. Listen to me. Jesus would like to talk to you face to face. He wants to get to know you. If you want to get to know, here it is.
You say, "How can I know God's dream for my life"? If you want to get to know God's dream for your life, get to know God, because He's the one that knows it. Here's another one of my favorite scriptures, Psalm 103, verse 7. "He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel". Now, I don't know if you see the difference, but there's a big difference there. The children of Israel knew what God did, like parting the Red Sea and things like that. Moses knew why He did it. They knew His acts; Moses knew His ways. He knew Him as a person. Get to know the one who can reveal and fulfill your dream, and that's God.
Now, not every dream we have is from God, and I'm going to use an example, okay? So all the campuses, all the Gatherings, everyone watching, all the prison campuses, everyone, okay? First, I'm going to say, "How many of you men are over 40"? But don't raise your hand yet, okay? But how many of you men are over 40, and you played football in school, either high school or college? Would you put your hand up? Okay, listen to me, guys. The Dallas Cowboys are not going to call. You could give up on that dream, okay? Now, possibly, if you've already played in the NFL 20 years, and you're in great shape, they might. But if you haven't and you're in normal 40-year-old shape, they're not going to call. Okay?
So, all right. But God does have a dream for you. Here's number two: Don't brag about it. This is how you pass the pride test. Don't brag about it. Joseph's dream was from God, but his bragging about it was not from God. Here's something that's really amazing to me. Have you ever wondered why God gave him this dream? By the way, I don't know if you noticed this, but his dream wasn't his destiny. His destiny was to feed multitudes of people. But when you're talking to a 17-year-old, that might not get him excited. But his brothers who hate him bowing down to him might get him excited. Why would God give him these two dreams? You know why? Because God knew pride was in his heart, and He knew he'd brag about it, and his bragging about it would get him thrown in the pit, which is next week's test. And some of your bragging has gotten you in some pits.
Some of my bragging has gotten me in some pits, some of our mistakes. So God did exactly what He needed to do to work in Joseph's life. But please hear me, the dream is not the destiny. The dream is just to get you started on your character test. God knows exactly what kind of dream He needs to give you to get you to start passing these tests. One of the tests is the prison test. And I just really felt strongly to say, because we're in 450 prisons, 45 states. I just wanted to say to every man and woman in prison, you have not forfeited your destiny. You have not forfeited it. And the reason is, God knew you before you were born, so He knew you'd make some mistakes, but you still have a destiny from God. And not only do you have a destiny from God, here's what else I'd like to say. You have a family, and that's called Gateway Church. You are part of our family. You're part of our family.
Remember, it said, his brothers hated him for his dreams and for his words. Pride always talks. It always talks. It always has to be heard. Pride interrupts. I've been studying this a long time because I've had to work through it myself many times. But when you interrupt someone, it means you think what you have to say is more important than what they have to say. Let me just show you. How can you know if you have pride in your heart? Let's say you and I were talking. How would I know if you had pride? You can't imagine how many times I've heard, "Well, Pastor, you don't know what's in my heart". Let me read you a scripture. This is Jesus talking.
Matthew 12:34, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks". Matthew 15:18 "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man". Okay, "Well, Pastor, you don't know what's in my heart". No, I don't know everything that's in your heart, but I know something that's in your heart, because you've been talking for about an hour now, and I'm hearing prideful statements. Joseph gets up, gets this dream, and brags about it. Now, I'm a person who thinks while I talk. There are people like that. You may be married to one, okay? Debbie knows that. She knows I think out loud. There are some people who think before they talk. I wish that I was more like that. I have worked on that for 40 years now, since I accepted Christ. There are people who think while they talk. There are people who think after they talk, and there are people who never think. They still don't know what they said because they don't even think about it after they said it. All right?
Okay. So you say, "Well, Pastor, I know I have a problem with bragging sometimes, so how can I stop bragging"? Okay, I've got to just be blunt with you, okay? For some of you to stop bragging, you're going to have to stop talking, because if your lips are moving, you're bragging, because it's just been part of who you are for so long. And I was this person. I said to Debbie one time in my 20s, after I'd come to know the Lord, and I was starting to try to work on to be more Christlike, and Debbie was so Christlike, and so I said to her, I said, "I need to ask you a question. I don't need an answer from angel Debbie right now, Mother Debbie Teresa. I need you to be just blunt with me, just brutally honest".
So she said, "Okay". I said, "I have two questions for you, actually. I need you to be brutally honest". I said, "Number one, do I talk too much"? She said, "Oh, yeah". I said, "I didn't need you to be that brutal, by the way. Number two," I said, "Do I brag"? She said, "Yeah, a lot". So I said, "Okay. So that I'll get the point, I want you to kick me in the shin under the table when I'm bragging or talking too much". I had bruised legs well into my 30s. I mean, it took a long time for me. I wish now I had used the word, "nudge". The word "kick" was the wrong word. But she did. She helped me. And I realized, I talk a lot, and I talk about me a lot. I'm saying this because I'm really trying to help you. You will never, never, never fulfill your destiny if you can't pass the pride test. So here's point number three: Deal with the root of pride. Deal with the root of pride.
So the first time I ever preached this in 2003, and then again in 2011, I made this statement: the root of pride is insecurity. And it's still a true statement, but I feel like God gave me two other words to help us understand it a little bit better. So the other words are that you might say, "I don't really relate to insecurity as much". Okay, here are two other words: inferiority or inadequacy. In other words, you can feel insecure around certain people, or you could feel inferior, or you could get a new position and feel inadequate. And here's the reason I'm saying that's the root because what happens then in our flesh is we try to build ourselves up, and we try to become more confident in ourselves, and that only produces pride. The way that you actually deal with pride is you become more confident in the Lord, not yourself. You begin to be more confident in God through you. And you know that God gave you this promotion, and so God will give you the wisdom to do this job just like... and you have to stay on your face before God.
So to this point, I have to stay on my face before God. So we've got to come that place where we begin to deal with the root. Here's what we've done for years, is we've dealt with the fruit of pride and not the root. I remember one time, I actually said, I was a young man speaking at a conference with all the big speakers on the front row. This was like a big, big conference. I was the youngest speaker. All the spiritual fathers were down there. And I was praying before, and I said, "God please help me", listen to my prayer, "to be humble today". And the Lord said to me, "I can't do anything about that". Just like that. He said, "You either are or you aren't". He said, "I can't help you be humble". And you know, the Bible never tells us to pray for humility? It tells us to humble ourselves. "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt you in due time". Humble yourself.
And so if you again, I'm going to give you these little hints. So you say, "Well, how do you humble yourself"? Well, it's really simple. Go into the presence of the Creator and Sustainer of the universe every day, and you will not feel so big about yourself anymore. You walk into His presence and you feel very small. But the longer you stay out of His presence, the bigger you feel about who you are. Now, I'm going to tell you a story. It's an analogy, okay? So it's a made up story, but I think it's been movies. I think it's mainly been animated movies. I think it's been male, female, both ways. But when I did this in 2003, I felt like the Lord gave me this. But now I'm sure I've seen this. After grandchildren, I've watched every animated movie that's ever been made, ten times.
Let me just tell you a story of how you deal with pride and insecurity, okay? It's an analogy. There's a prince, and he's looking out the window of the castle one day, and he sees this beautiful woman. And he says, "I've got to meet this woman". But as the Prince, he could have just called her and even told her to be his wife, ordered her, but he wanted her to fall in love with him, and he wanted to meet her and spend time with her and get to know her. Now, I want you to think about, again, the analogy is that Jesus left Heaven and came to Earth to get His bride. Okay? So he disguises himself, maybe grows a beard, puts on ragged clothes, goes out into the community, tells his parents what he's going to do, and takes a normal job, meets this woman, and over the course of months or a few years, he falls in love with her; she falls in love with him. He proposes, she accepts.
And then he says, "I need you to know who I really am. I'm the prince". They get married. Then the father, he succeeds his father, and he's now the king. She's the queen. Okay. How does she deal with insecurity, knowing she was born a pauper, without royal blood? She gets rid of her insecurity because she knows she's the queen. She knows who her husband is, and she knows that her husband loves her. But how does she deal with pride? She never forgets where she came from. See, knowing I'm a child of the King takes care of all my insecurities, inferiorities, and inadequacies because I'm a child of the King. If He calls me to do it, I can do it. But I never get prideful about it because I know I was adopted. I'm a child of the King, but I wasn't born into the royal family. I was actually born in the gutter, and He came and got me and rescued me. You have to pass. This is the first test.
You have to pass the pride test if you're going to fulfill the destiny God has for you. I want you to buy your heads and close your eyes. I want you to just do like we do every week, and this is the most important thing to me about the message is this question right here. I want you simply to ask the Holy Spirit what He's saying to you through this message. Just ask Him. Just take a moment, and you say, "Well, I don't even know how to hear the Holy Spirit". Just ask Him. He will figure out a way to put an impression in your heart or to speak to you with a scripture this week as you meet with Him. He'll figure out a way to tell you. So just ask the Lord, "Lord, what are you saying to me through this message"?
And Lord, I pray that You will put a confidence in every person's heart through this series, that You have a dream for us that is a good dream. You have a good future for us, and Lord, that You have a destiny for us to help multitudes of people. And yet, Lord, we submit to You and say, "Please help us as we go through these tests of life to build a large enough foundation so that You can build Your kingdom on this Earth through us," in Jesus' name, amen.