Robert Morris - Simply Human
Alright, so we are finishing our series today, a four-week series called, "Perfect or Perfected". So, today I want to talk to you about, "Simply Human," and this is something God's been doing in my life literally for years, but especially the last three years, and that's why I want to help you today with this about being, "Simply Human," all right? So, I'm gonna read you a passage out of Philippians 2. It's one of my favorite passages. I'm not reading the whole passage. I memorized it shortly after I got saved. But, I'm gonna read it out of "The Message" version, because I really like the way, "The Message" says it.
So, Philippians 2:5. "Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of Himself. He had equal status with God, but didn't think so much of Himself that He had to cling to the advantages of that status, no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, He set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human"! Now, watch this phrase. This is one of the reasons I chose this passage. I really like this phrase, how "The Message" says it. "Having become human, He stayed human". "Having become human, He stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death - and the worst kind of death at that - a crucifixion". All right, so we're gonna go through these three terms, all right?
So, number one, we are not superhuman. Now, I know you would say, "I know I'm not superhuman". I'm telling you though, we act like it sometimes by the things we take on, but we're not superhuman. So, let's go back, look at Verse 6. "He had equal status with God, but didn't think so much of Himself that He had to cling to the advantages of that status, no matter what". Okay. If there ever was a superman, it was Jesus. Right? I mean, when I see the movies, they're about Jesus, you know? The guy is not from this world. He can fly. Some of you say, "I don't remember Jesus flying". In Acts 1, when He ascended into heaven... He did! He went up, right? Right in front of them, He ascended into heaven. He just didn't fly around all the time with a cape, but He can fly. He can walk on water. He can raise dead people, heal blind people from birth.
I mean, if there was ever a superman on the earth, it's Jesus. If there was ever a superhuman, it was Jesus, right? Although, "He had equal status with God, he didn't cling to it". In other words, even though He was superhuman, He became a human and He stayed human. Think about all the times He was a human. Think about when Satan, tempting him, took Him up on top of the temple, and told Him to jump off, and quoted Psalm 91 to him. You know, "The angels will protect you". He quoted Scripture back and said, "No, we're not gonna tempt God," but He also knew the laws of gravity. He knew he was a human. He became a human and He stayed a human. He lived within that, the limitations of being a human, although He had great power and great authority. Now, He used His power and authority though, but He only used His power and authority to help people.
When I was growing up, there was a TV show that I like a lot called, "Bonanza". Anybody remember, "Bonanza"? And I loved the Cartwrights because they were good people. And I loved Ben Cartwright because he had a lot of power, but he used that power to always help people. There was always an underdog, a guy that people were trying to drive off his land or something, and Ben Cartwright said, "No, you can stay on the land, 'cause Ben Cartwright says you can stay on the land," you know? There was something about Jesus that He's walking around, He knows He's a human, but He also knows that God has anointed Him with the Holy Spirit, He's got the power of God working through Him, and He can help anybody He wants at any time. I like that. But, He knew He was a human. Let me just show you a couple of Scriptures about His humanity.
Luke 5:16, "So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed". Why? Because He knew as a human, "I need prayer. I need to pray".
Matthew 4:2, "When He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry". Humans get hungry after fasting - normal.
Matthew 8:24, "Suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep". Humans sleep. He slept when He was tired, He ate when He was hungry, He prayed as often as He could - because He knew He was a human.
So, He lived on this earth 33-1/2 years as a human, although He was the only superhuman. But, He still lived as a human. Now, why is all of this important? Because of where we started, Philippians 2:5, "Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of Himself". How did He think of Himself? He thought of Himself as a human. Now, again, I know that we would say, "Pastor Robert, I don't have any problem thinking of myself as a superhuman," but I think we all do. I think we say, "Yes," way too much. I think we commit to way too much. I think we overwork. There are times in my life, there have been times when I've been sick, like even dealing with stuff this last week, but I've been sick on the weekend, very, very sick, and still preached, because I have to.
I've thought to myself before, "Other people can be sick. I can't be sick. I have to be there. I have to lead this meeting. I have to do this". And then, all of these opportunities, saying yes to everything. It's...it's thinking somehow that I can be superhuman, and this is something God's had to work with and deal with, and I'm telling you, I guarantee you, you might not use the word, "superhuman," but you've said yes way too much to things. And we over-commit and we overwork. For some reason, every Easter I felt like I should preach all of the services live. And on Easter a few years ago, we would have two on Friday night, three on Saturday night, and then we had four on Sunday. In other words, rather than our normal three, we added a sunrise service. But, I preached, so that was two Friday night, three Saturday, that's five, and four Sunday, that's nine.
But then, I'm just telling you how I think sometimes of being superhuman - then I'd get on a plane on Monday and I flew to Australia, close to the ends of the earth. And I spoke for Planetshakers in a conference, and I spoke for Hillsong in a conference, and then I spoke for Hillsong for the weekend, and they have a whole bunch of services. By that week, I was getting a migraine headache, was getting worse and worse and worse, and by Monday, after speaking in two conferences and all weekend, plus nine services at Gateway the weekend before. The headache had gotten worse and worse and worse. And the medicine I was taking for it, and I had a doctor in the church come to the hotel room trying to help me, giving me shots, doing all of this stuff, but by then, an ulcer had developed and I started bleeding internally.
Now, that's not two years ago. That was not in my stomach, that bleeding problem, but this was in 2012, and I ended up in the hospital. We go into the hospital to check in, and I literally walk in to this little admitting room, and while they're trying to get my information, I pass out, and the buzzers start going off and all of that. Debbie's in the waiting room, and the next thing she sees is they're taking me through on a gurney, you know, through, putting an oxygen mask on. And they got everything and they got the bleeding stopped and all, but here's the point - superhuman. I can do it. I can preach all nine. I can get on an airplane and fly 24 hours. I can preach in a conference five times in a day. Two conferences? Oh, yes, I can do that. Yes, seven weekend services - yes, I can do that. You can't.
And the only reason I'm sharing a personal illustration with you is I don't have your illustrations, I don't live your life, but something's happened to you and you've burned out. You've worn yourself out. You've worn yourself down. And I just wanted you to know you are not superhuman. You can't do it. Jesus became a human. Having become a human, listen to this, He stayed a human. He stayed a human. So, number one, we're not superhuman. Here's number two, we're not subhuman, under or below being a human. Verse 7, "When the time came, He set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human". Okay, so He becomes a servant, and this word is "bondservant" in the "New King James". It's "slave" here, but it actually means slave, an enslaved person. It's unbelievable what this word means, and Jesus became that.
But, was He still a Son? He was. And did He ever struggle with knowing, even though He became a human and came to serve - He didn't come to be served, but He came to serve. Did He ever struggle with being a Son, knowing He was a Son? Never. He never struggled with it. Even the temptation, when Satan comes to Him, was, if you remember, "If You are the Son of God". Well, Jesus never even argued with him about it, because He knew He was a Son. So, when I talk about being subhuman, I am talking about that sometimes we feel like we're worse than others, but here's the main reason we feel like we're worse than others, or less than others. Here's the main reason - because we feel like we're less than a son or a daughter. That's the problem. The problem is not comparing yourself with someone else and feeling less than. The problem is feeling less than a son or a daughter of Christ, a son or a daughter of God. That's where the problem comes in.
When you begin to feel like you're less than someone else, then you're actually feeling like, "I'm less than a son or a daughter," because all sons, all daughters, are equal to God - all. There's no Jew or Gentile, there's no male or female, there's no free or slave in Christ. We're all equal before God. So, there's a problem because we begin to feel like we're worse than. What we do is we look at our performance. I've had this tendency my whole life to look at others and feel like I'm just not as good as. You know, I've told you all before, Debbie is this wonderful person, and I came into our marriage very scarred, and it wasn't very long into it I thought I'd married Mother Teresa. And I just always felt less than, felt not worthy. I'd get around other people, feel not worthy. Think about my past and I'd feel not worthy.
I just want you to think about this. I've been saved, this February it will be 40 years now, and yet, every now and then the enemy still reminds me of my past. I'm just being vulnerable with you. What about you? There's a tendency in all of us to feel like we're worse than others. Do you remember the story in the Bible of the Pharisee and the prostitute? A prostitute comes and she anoints the feet of Jesus, the Bible says with her tears, and she wiped His feet with her hair - dried her tears with the hair of her head. So, she's washing His feet with her tears, and the Pharisee looks down on her and thinks, "Who is this woman? I mean, if this man were really a prophet, you know, He'd know what kind of woman is touching Him".
And of course, Jesus says... the guy's thinking, "Boy, if He were a prophet," and Jesus says, "Hey, I want to talk to you". He was a prophet, you know. But, here's the point. The Pharisee thought he was better than, superhuman. The prostitute thought she was worse than, subhuman. And Jesus tells a parable to say, "Nope, they're both the same. Y'all are both the same. You're both lacking when it comes to My Father, and you're lacking the exact same amount, actually, even though you think it's more and you think it's less. You're lacking the same".
Okay, so I want to say something that it's one of those statements that I hope stays with you and you never forget this statement. There's a Pharisee and a prostitute in all of us. There are times when all of us think we're better than other people - people who aren't like us, people who don't vote like us, people who don't have the same values that we have, or maybe not even a Christian worldview. We think we're better than. Now, we try to push that thought out immediately, but I'm just telling you the thought comes in our minds.
But then, there are other times we think we're worse than. The whole point of this message is, I want to keep driving it home, we're not super and we're not sub, we're simple. We're not superhumans, we're not sub-humans, we're simply humans. We're just humans. We're all on the same level. Here's point number three, we are simply human. We're just simply human. Philippians 2:8, "Having become human, He stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life, and then died a selfless, obedient death - and the worst kind of death at that - a crucifixion".
Okay, so what's the key to just being a human? Well, the key's right there, to live a selfless, obedient life, and to die a selfless, obedient death, even crucifixion. In other words, die to self. How many times did Jesus say, "If you're going to follow Me, I need you to take up your cross and follow Me". Take up your cross. See, we think, you know, Jesus went to the cross so I wouldn't have to. I don't know why though, He says, "Yeah, but you've got a cross, too. I need you to die also, and I need you to die every day". So, for me to be human means that I'm gonna make mistakes. I'm not gonna beat myself up when I make a mistake, 'cause I'm not subhuman, I'm not worse than other people. I'm going to allow myself to make mistakes. I'm not gonna strive for perfection. I'm going to just trust that I'm just a human. I know this seems almost so simple, oversimplified, that some of you are thinking, "I've never had a problem, Pastor Robert, knowing I was just a human".
I was talking with a couple a while back and they were going through some marriage difficulties. And we were talking about it and I said to them, "You know what kind of people go through the problems that y'all are going through"? And one of them said, "Outgoing people"? I said, "No". One of them said, "What about High-D people"? "No". "What about overachievers"? "No". "Entrepreneurs"? "No". I said, "You know what kind of people deal with the problems y'all are dealing with"? They said, "No". I said, "Humans. Humans do". So, we've got this thing in our minds that somehow we're superhuman, but we're not superhuman. As Christians, we struggle with things. I've got to come to the place where I rest in grace.
Now, I'm gonna make another statement that might blow you away. Guilt and shame take more people out than sin does. Guilt and shame make more Christians out than sin, because it's the way we think of ourselves. And if you're ever going to overcome any weakness or any sin, you're only gonna overcome it through grace. It's got to be done through grace. There are 1.189 chapters in the Bible. Moses took up two chapters of the Bible, arguing with God - two chapters out of 1.189. He takes up two chapters arguing, telling God he's not good enough to do what God needs him to do. Exodus 4:1, "Moses answered and said, 'But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, "The Lord has not appeared to you".'" Exodus 4:10, "Then Moses said to the Lord, 'O my Lord, I am not eloquent,'" I love this, "'neither before nor since You've spoken to Your servant'". "I couldn't talk before and I can't talk now". "I am slow of speech and slow of tongue". Exodus 4:13, "But he said, 'O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send.'" In other words, "Send anyone else but me".
And then, I love this one, Exodus 3:11, "Moses said to God, 'Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?'" "Who am I that I should do this"? Now, let me just tell you in essence what God said. Here's what God said. "Who are you? Who are you? Son, the question is not who are you, the question is who I am". And that was His answer, by the way. You remember Moses said, "Whom shall I say sent me"? He said, "You tell them I Am sent you. I Am that I Am. The problem is not who you are, the problem is who I am, and there's no problem with Me. All I need you to do is just take that stupid stick and pick it up when I tell you to. That's all I need. I just need someone to carry a stick! I can part the Red Sea. I can turn the water into blood. I can do it all, Moses. I really don't need you that much, I just need you to show up, and I can take care of it".
So, I'm gonna tell you about another conversation I had with this consultant, and I said to him one time... now, so every stupid, insecure thought I have, I talk to him about, 'cause I want to get it out if there's a root there, you know? So, I said to him one day, I said, "I've been wanting to ask you about the way people see me". And he said, "I've been wanting to talk to you about that". And I thought, "Well, that's good, I think". So, I said, "Well, some people don't know me at all. They don't even know me. Some people see me as a pastor. Some people see me as a pastor of a large church, or influential church". But, I said, "Some people, and this is hard for me to understand, but some people see me as a famous person, and some people even see me as a celebrity, and I don't know how to deal with that".
And then he said to me, "Well, that's something we really need to dive into and it's gonna take us a while, and we're almost out of time". He said, "Let's start here next time we meet". Okay, here's the problem. Here's what you need to know. We meet every three months. So, I have to wait three months. We get back together. We're doing some small talk. I'm thinking, "Yeah, yeah, I don't care about your dog. Let's talk. Let's talk! Let's get into our session here, okay"? So, I said, "Hey, I want to start where we left off last time," and here's what he says. "Where did we leave off"? "You haven't been thinking about this for three months"? So, I said, "I was telling you that I'm having a problem, and I don't understand why it affects me how people see me. I need to know what does it matter how people see me? How does it affect me? What does that matter"? Just like that, and he said, "Oh, it doesn't matter at all how people see you".
I waited three months for that? That's what we didn't have enough time to cover? And this is what he said to me. "Robert, it doesn't matter at all how people see you, it matters how God sees you and it matters how you see yourself". He said, "I just want to ask you a question. You're the theologian. How does God see you"? And this was about two or three years ago, before I even thought about this series, and I just said to him, "He sees me as perfect". He said, "Uh-huh, and how do you see you"? And I said, "Extremely flawed". And he said, "That's why it's gonna take us a while to talk about this". I'm telling you, don't try to be a superhuman. Don't see yourself as subhuman, worse than others. You're just simply human - and listen, and that's good enough for God. It's good enough for God. That you're just a human.
When I shared this message with our church, I had so many friends text me and say, "Man, you read my mail". How many times do we see ourselves as superhuman and commit to more than we can handle, and how many times do we blow it and see ourselves as subhuman? We're not super, we're not sub, we're simply human. And here's the great thing, God understands. Our Lord and Savior became a human. He knows what it's like to be a human and he sympathizes with our weaknesses. So trust the Lord because He knows we're just human, but His grace is sufficient. That's what He told Paul when Paul talked about His weaknesses. He said, "My grace is sufficient". And God's grace is sufficient for you today. I love you guys so much. I'll see you next time.