Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #9: Honesty

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Today the value we’re talking about is honesty. The irony of honesty is that all of us make a big deal about it and we want it but really, in practicality, we give it very little value. 

It is amazing how many opportunities there are in our day to be dishonest. Every conversation, every phone call, every interaction we have dozens and dozens of opportunities to be dishonest.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness?  Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

When you tell a lie, you’ve got to commit to the lie. Then every time the phone rings, every time someone wants to talk you wonder, is this it? Is this when I get caught?

Dr. Leonard Keeler, inventor of the lie detector machine, determined after testing 25,000 individuals that human beings are basically deceptive. At the core of humanity there is dishonesty.

To those of us who have read the Bible, this is no surprise. We know that in the book of Genesis we’re told that dishonesty has plunged this world into the mess that it’s in. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful. We have wickedness that lives within us because of the fall of man, we have a resistance to truth. 

Lying is not only in our culture and nature, dishonesty is part of our spiritual structure. It’s much bigger than ourselves. There’s a struggle going on in the cosmos. Call it what you will, it’s light versus darkness, good versus evil, Satan versus God.

We are the object of this spiritual battle. It’s an eternal combat that is bigger than most of us are capable of understanding. Basically it comes down to this: truth versus falsehood. The Bible tells us that God is the father of truth. The Bible also tells us that Satan is the father of falsehood.

“He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NLT

The Bible doesn’t sugar coat it, God is on one side and Satan is on the other and we have a choice, do we follow the culture or do we follow the creator? When it comes to the Creator, God says He hates dishonesty. That is not  a word used very often in the Bible.

The word “hate” means it’s disgusting, detestable, utterly and thoroughly repulsive. Dishonesty is repulsive to God because He is the Truth and dishonesty is a perversion of His character.


Steps Towards an Honest Life

1. TELL THE TRUTH CONSISTENTLY

Being honest 80% of the time is not integrity. The little boy who cried wolf is a classic story. Eventually you don’t know whether the guy’s telling the truth or not so you don’t believe him at all. 

So you must tell the truth consistently, honesty is a lifestyle. Nobody has a good enough memory to be a good liar. If you lie you have to remember what you said to each person. If you tell the truth at all times you don’t have to remember anything because you’ve always told the truth.

“People who can’t be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty.” Proverbs 11:3 GNT

Every relationship is built on one word — trust. Truth telling produces trust building. Deception destroys trust. If you are a dishonest person pretty soon you have no relationships because nobody can trust you.

“Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” Proverbs 12:19 NIV

2. TELL THE TRUTH COMPLETELY

God says lying is an intention to mislead and when you’re just telling a half a truth you’re telling a whole lie. You can lie by falsifying or you can lie by concealing. When we deliberately hold back half the truth, we’re being deceptive.

You can lie without even saying a word. God says, in the end people appreciate honesty. God says tell the truth completely.

“In the end people appreciate frankness more than flattery.” Proverbs 28:23 TLB

It may be unpleasant at first. You have an employee that’s not fulfilling their job and you have to correct them. They may not appreciate it then, but if it helps them build their character it will help in the long run.

“Someone who holds back the truth causes trouble.” Proverbs 10:10 GNT

What kind of trouble can come from concealing the truth? You cause resentment, mistrust, and superficiality. You get into trouble by not saying what you mean and not meaning what you say. 

Marriages often get in trouble because during the engagement period, they lie to each other. Not overtly, but lie by not facing the issues. There may be major differences in the relationship that they just ignoring.

Once you understand the motivation behind your lying, then you can deal with the real issue.

Lying is not your real problem. It’s the symptom of a deeper problem.

“The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” – Jesus 

Jesus is saying the real problem is not our mouths but our hearts. What’s coming out of our mouths, these lies, are really an indication of what’s inside of us. If we are going to become people of integrity, we have to deal with what motivates us to lie. 

Why Do We Lie?

TYPE OF LIE MOTIVE
The Cruel Lie Resentment
The Cowardly Lie Fear
The Conceited Lie Insecurity
The Calculated Lie Greed
The Convenient Lie Laziness
  • The cruel lie – This is the kind of lie that is intentionally destructive and malicious. You tell it to get revenge. They’ve hurt you so you’re going to get even. You misrepresent them, this is called slander. Slander means when you make up something about somebody that’s not true with the intentional purpose of damaging their reputation. The Sadducees did this to Jesus. They brought false charges so they could hang Him on the cross. The cruel lie is an intentional mischievous lie.  The motive behind that kind of lie – resentment.
  •  The cowardly lie – This is the kind of lie you tell to escape consequences. You’re trying to protect yourself, prevent pain and avoid punishment. Adam told this kind of lie in the Garden of Eden, when he sinned and blamed his wife. The motive behind that kind of lie – fear.
  • The conceited lie – This is when you lie to impress. You’re trying to create an image or cover for a mistake. What may come off as pride and ego is actually a frightened, insecure person. The motive behind that kind of lie – insecurity.
  • The calculated lie – This is the kind of lie used to manipulate other people. It is a calculated lie to get what we want or think we need. The motive behind that kind of lie – greed.
  • The convenient lie – The convenient lie we tell because it takes effort to tell the truth. To not have to explain yourself or talk more, you shrug off the truth. Sometimes you don’t want to get involved with something or you’re too busy to check the facts so you tell something you haven’t really checked up on. This is often called diplomacy. This is the kind of lie you tell when you don’t want to offend anybody. The motive behind that kind of lie – laziness.

3. TELL THE TRUTH LOVINGLY

Don’t use the truth as a club. Don’t beat people over the head with the truth. People change easier and faster when you speak the truth in a spirit of love. People always perceive truth without love as an attack.

Truth without grace is mean.

It doesn’t matter if it is the truth. People don’t receive it if it is yelled and beaten over them. They resist it, become defensive against it, don’t want to hear it, because they perceive it as an attack.

“We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT

How do we know if we’re speaking the truth in love? Ask yourself the question, Who am I trying to benefit from this? Think through the motivation. Is it to change them so things are easier on you? Or is it because you care about them and want them to be the best they can be.

“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT

4. TELL THE TRUTH TACTFULLY

Being honest does not mean being brutal. Whenever you have a need to share a tough truth the solution is never deception. The truth sets you free. But, when you speak the truth you must speak it completely, consistently, lovingly, and tactfully. 

“Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.” Proverbs 12:18 GNT

You have an option with your words: you can either hurt people or you can heal them. Develop people or you can destroy them. Build them up or you can tear them down. Delight or you can devastate. He’s saying your words have tremendous power.

If you think about it, emotional wounds last longer than physical wounds. When you speak the truth in love and with tact you can learn how to make a point without making an enemy.

  • Plan your presentation

“The more pleasant his words, the more persuasive he is.” Proverbs 16:21 GNT

Planning your presentation doesn’t mean you come up with come backs to all the potential ways they might respond. Instead, write down the issue and a few points to that issue. That way when things get off track, you can keep the problem on the issue rather than the person or some other thing.

  • Choose the right time

“Intelligent people think before they speak.” Proverbs 16:23 GNT

Put your mind in gear before you put your mouth in gear. Timing is everything. Don’t try to start a tough conversation with your spouse late at night when you’re both tired, overwhelmed and frustrated. Plan a time to allow for constructive conversation. 


If you’ll do these four things, the Bible says you will begin to be an honest person.Speak the truth completely, consistently, lovingly and tactfully. The beginning of honesty is the confession of dishonesty. If you want to be a person of integrity, first admit to God that you don’t always tell the truth and ask Christ to forgive you.

He will give you the power to change and put a new heart in you. He will begin to replace the deception with truth as you begin to let Christ more and more control your heart. You do that by making a choice and saying, God help me to be more interested in character than in reputation. 

If you’re more interested in reputation you’ll lie to build your reputation. Reputation is what other people think you are. Character is what you really are. Character is what lasts for eternity. 


God Blesses Honesty

  • By guarding me – “He is a shield to those who walk with integrity.” Proverbs 2:7 NLT

That word means to be a bodyguard whose soul purpose is to protect you. If we’re honest, He’ll shield us. It’s not going to be easy but He will be our shield. 

  • By directing me – “The godly are directed by honesty; the wicked fall beneath their load of sin.” Proverbs 11:5 NLT

When we’re honest we see God’s way.  The direction becomes very clear.  That’s a reward.

  • By sustaining me – “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.” Proverbs 12:19 NLT

Honesty will outlast dishonesty. There was a story some years ago about a newlywed couple from Chicago. They had opened their presents before they went on their honeymoon, gathered all their cash, put it in a suitcase, loaded up the car, then left the cash on the top of the car and drove away — $12,000. It fell to the street and was found by an honest man. This man was unemployed.  But he returned the money. 

The city of Chicago went hysterical about this guy. When the story broke, this guy got job offers from Sony, Hilton, Hyundai, Motorola and more. He was rewarded for his honesty. 

In a kind of physical way this is an example of what God does in a spiritual way. God is in the business of rewarding honesty. Some people will receive a reward for their honesty in this life, and sometimes we have to wait for the next life for our reward. But, that reward will be more than we can imagine. Honesty will last for eternity. 


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about fairness and injustice. How has that message and discussion impacted the way you see the world and process injustice in the world?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

We would all probably agree that honesty is the best policy and a value worth building our lives on. But in practice, it’s often a different story. It’s easy to find an excuse not to tell the whole truth. Other times, it can be tempting to intentionally deceive people. But honesty is essential for the success of any relationship.

Dishonesty has many different faces in our life but it has one common result. Dishonesty strangles life out of us. One of the main reasons it runs so fast through our culture is because dishonesty is present in our nature. It’s deeper than just our culture; it’s in our nature. There’s something about you and I that is so warped and flawed that we are drawn to untruth. There is a wickedness about our nature because of the fall and because of sin, but there is also a wonder about our nature. We’re created in the image of God and something deep down within us really wants truth.

“Would you like to enjoy life? Do you want long life and happiness? Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.” Psalm 34:12-13 GNT

Application

  1. Why do you think people tell “white lies” and then expect there to be no consequences?
  2. When we understand the motivation behind any lie, then we can deal with the real issue. Lying is just a symptom of something else. Here are five types of lies and the motivation for each one:
  • The cruel lie is motivated by resentment.
  • The cowardly lie is motivated by fear.
  • The conceited lie is motivated by insecurity.
  • The calculated lie is motivated by greed.
  • The convenient lie is motivated by laziness.

What motivation might be most tempting for you? Why?

  1. What kind of reaction would someone have if you spoke the truth without love?    What might the response be from someone if you spoke the truth with love?
  2. Proverbs 12:18 says, Thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal. Can you think of a time when someone spoke healing words to you? How did that person’s wisdom impact you?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to be honest with? Plan your presentation and choose the right time. How will you ask God to help you?

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #8: Fairness

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The Bible is very specific: this is not heaven, it is not a perfect world. There are things that are unfair. There is injustice. This is not the way God designed it or wanted it. It was created perfect. But, because of sin, the world is now an imperfect, broken place until Christ returns and redeems it.

If you ever want to do any in depth study on this subject, you need to go study the book of Ecclesiastes. Solomon had achieved wisdom and riches and many of the things we spend our life trying to achieve. He takes a step back and looks at everything in life. And he’s left wanting, He even calls it meaningless. Throughout that journey he gives five little snapshots of life that show typical, common occurrences of unfairness in the world. 


Life Is Unfair

First, he’s noticed that criminals go unpunished.

“Throughout the earth, justice is giving way to crime and even the courts are corrupt.”  Ecclesiastes 3:16 TLB

“When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.” Ecclesiastes 8:11 NLT

This could not be any more relevant than it is today. Given enough money, you can beat any inditement today,  all you have to do is hire the right attorney and they’ll find some technicality to get you off the charge. Solomon sees that criminals go unpunished while victims and their families suffer.

He also notices the oppressed are unhelped in the world.

“Then I looked again at all the injustice that goes on in this world. The oppressed were crying, and no one would help them. No one would help them, because their oppressors had power on their side.” Ecclesiastes 4:1 GNT

History is a record of the fact that it is human nature for human beings to try to dominate each other. You can see it throughout the history of the world. The powerful try to dominate the weak.

Even today, the wars we see in our society are basically wars of oppression. Many of these oppressed martyrs in the world are Christians. In certain places you can be killed for claiming to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Solomon observes that nobody seems to be helping these people.

Then he says, exhibit number three: politicians are unethicalIllegal fund raising, cover ups, scandals, lying about your opponent… it’s nothing new.

If you see… miscarriage of justice anywhere throughout the land, don’t be surprised! For every official is under orders from higher up, and the higher officials look up to their superiors. And so the matter is lost in red tape and bureaucracy. Ecclesiastes 5:8 TLB

“There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake when they give great authority to foolish people and low positions to people of proven worth.” Ecclesiastes 10:5-6 NLT

To be clear, there are some godly, political leaders. However, often times we look at the elections we have at the local, state and federal level and think, surely there’s got to be more choices than this…

We’re giving great authority to foolish people. The Bible says when ungodly people hold positions of authority they are going to abuse it and Solomon says that’s unfair.

Exhibit number four, good people go unrewarded while evil people often prosper.

“There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 8:14 NIV

Does it ever bother you that dishonest people get promoted while honest people are overlooked?  Have you ever been to a funeral of a good person, a young person and think, “Why did they die?” 

“Some of the good die young and some of the wicked live on and on.” Ecclesiastes 7:15

Another thing he notices is that capable people are often unsuccessfulJust because you’ve got talent doesn’t mean you’re going to succeed. The good guys don’t always win in this world. 

“The fastest runner doesn’t always win the race, and the strongest warrior doesn’t always win the battle. The wise sometimes go hungry, and the skillful are not necessarily wealthy. And those who are educated don’t always lead successful lives.” Ecclesiastes 9:11 NLT

We all know bright, educated, hard working people who barely get by financially. Yet we know about these bums who inherit millions and then aren’t even grateful for it. In our society, the biggest salaries don’t go to the smartest people. In our culture we pay unnecessary professions more than we pay teachers who train our kids.

Solomon says, the bottom line is life isn’t fair. Capable men and women don’t always rise to high positions. People sometimes don’t get promoted because of the color of their skin or their gender or their belief in Jesus Christ and that’s unfair and it’s wrong.

We all ask, why God doesn’t do something about the injustice in this world? The Bible says that there is injustice in the world, for a time, for some reasons.


Why Doesn’t God Do Something About Injustice?

1. Because God gives us the freedom to choose

In the very first chapters of the Bible we have the story of creation. God creates man in His own image. That means you, as a human being, are different from the animals. God gave you a spirit which gives you the ability to have a relationship with God.

Another way you’re made in God’s image is you have the freedom to make moral choices. You can choose between right and wrong. Animals cannot do that. Animals can choose only by instinct, between survival and death. They cannot choose morally between what’s right and what’s wrong.

“’I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!’” Deuteronomy 11:26 NLT

That’s the good news. The bad news is there are consequences to our choices, and we often make selfish choices. When we do that, innocent people get hurt and that’s unfair. 

There is an assumption with God. We think that in order for God to be good, he must never allow evil. But there’s fallout from that way of thinking:

  1. God would create nothing.
  2. God would create beings with no possibility for moral free will.

In order for God to create beings capable of love, He must also create a world where evil and suffering can exist. He could create a universe with no pain. But you know what else it would be without – mercy, love, compassion, true peace, significance, forgiveness, happiness.

God is putting a group of people together who choose to love Him, not are forced to love Him. You can’t say you love somebody unless you have the choice to not love him or her. You can’t say you are honest until you’ve had the opportunity to be dishonest.

There is injustice when we choose to not do the godly thing. It’s not on God. If we get drunk and get in my car and take the life of another driver, is that God’s fault? No. It’s our fault. God didn’t plan that. It’s the result of an evil choice that we made. 

2. Because God will settle accounts one day

God will do something about injustice. People may not get their justice here on earth, but they will one day. The Bible tells us in the book of Isaiah that God is a God of justice. If we didn’t believe that we would be in absolute despair.

The truth is today, evil people get away with evil things all the time. It would be a travesty if evil dictators who have killed millions just get away with it with no punishment. That is unthinkable. God tells us He is going to be a God of justice. 

“In due season God will judge everything man does, both good and bad.” Ecclesiastes 3:17 TLB

“In due season…” Today is not the end of the story. The final chapter has not been written. The scales of justice have not been weighed. One day there is going to be a judgment day where one day we personally stand before God and give an account of our lives including the good, the bad, and whether we trusted His Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior or not. Are we covered by the judgement poured out on Christ, or do we take that on ourselves?

3. Because injustice shows why we need a savior

Injustice shows what we’re really like on the inside. There is a very popular idea going around today that makes us think human beings are basically good its just environment that makes us do bad things.

Anybody who’s had children knows that we are born with a selfish nature. But we want to all think we’re basically good. We’ll admit we have some weaknesses, faults, areas we need to work on, rough edges, and personality quirks. But, we don’t want to call it what it is — sin. 

“God is letting the world go on its sinful way so that he can test mankind, and so that men themselves will see that they are no better than beasts.” Ecclesiastes 3:18 TLB

Human beings without God tend to start acting like animals. We hear the shocking stories of gang rape, abuse, senseless acts of violence in society against innocent people who have no reason to be hurt. There is no way to explain the horrific acts of violence and terror that have happened in our world if we believe human beings are inherently good.

One day when we stand before God and He’s looking at your life, you’re not going to want justice. You’re going to want mercy. Thank God He gives us an opportunity to be saved. None of us have a chance of getting into heaven on our own. Heaven is perfect and alive. We are imperfect and dead. Without the work of the cross, we don’t get into that perfect place.

4. Because how we handle injustice can build character

Not everything bad in life is ultimately bad for you. 

Pain is not without purpose.

It can build character. The Bible tells us many times, suffering produces character. However, suffering does not automatically produce character. It only produces character when you choose to respond to it in the right way. 

A lot of people who’ve suffered a tremendous amount have no Christlike character at all.  Rather, they’re bitter and cynical. Maybe you’ve gone through some things and wondered why God let it happen to you. You feel like you’ve been dealt a bad hand and it just isn’t fair. Everybody has their own story of unfairness, how does God say we can grow our character through those things?


Responding to Unfairness & Injustice

1. Accept it gracefully

Accept injustice with God’s grace in mind. Don’t be surprised when people treat you unfairly. Jesus told us it would happen. 

“‘My friends, do not be surprised at the terrible trouble which now comes to test you. Do not think that something strange is happening to you. But be happy that you are sharing in Christ’s sufferings so that you will be happy and full of joy when Christ comes again in glory.'” 1 Peter 4:12-13 NCV

You can’t choose whether or not you’ll be hurt in this life. But you can choose your response.

We try to accept it gracefully, rather than becoming bitter. You can’t become like Christ if you don’t have anything in common with him. Use it as an opportunity to have more in common with Christ.

2. Respond lovingly

Respond to the offender lovingly. When somebody hurts you, they expect you to retaliate and fight back. Jesus said it like this in Matthew 5:44 NCV,

“Love your enemies. Pray for those who hurt you.”

Why do you do that? Because it keeps them from controlling you. Great American scientist Booker T. Washington has an amazing quote. As a black man years ago, he went through many injustices and unfairnesses of life. 

“I will never allow another man to control my life by allowing him to make me hate him.” – Booker T. Washington

We don’t have to hate.  That’s a choice. We can’t control the unfairness that happens to us, but we can choose to be a better person, not a bitter person. We don’t let others control our emotions, so we choose to respond in a loving way. 

When you respond to an offender lovingly, that does not mean you continue to allow injustice.  On the contrary, we are to lovingly seek justice. We are to work for justice in the world without retaliating, without getting revenge, without seeking to get even and without seeking to hurt the people that have hurt us.

We will return love to the very people who have done evil to us. That’s what it means to be like Jesus Christ. As Christians we have to fight for justice. We are to be more concerned about justice for others than for ourselves.

“Be fair-minded and just. Do what is right!  Help those who have been robbed; rescue them from their oppressors.” Jeremiah 22:3 NLT

3. Wait for God’s help expectantly

When you are going through an unjust period, God is on your side. All through scripture, God has a special heart for people who are treated unfairly. He is a God of justice.

“A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and stands the pain, God is pleased.” 1 Peter 2:19 NCV

God hears your cry and He sees your pain and He knows you didn’t get what you thought you deserved. But He has a plan. You can develop a beautiful picture with the light of God’s love in your life.

So what does God want me to do while I’m waiting for him?

“If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.” 1 Peter 4:19 NLT

You’re never going to get an explanation for a lot of things that have happened in your life that you feel are unfair — at least not in this life. When we get to Heaven and everything is made right, we will understand better. 

But even then, God does not owe us an explanation. The good news is, we don’t need an explanation to get on with life. All we need to know is God loves us. God is faithful. He will reward you if you have a right response to the unfairness of life and you continue to be fair no matter what anybody else does.

“These little troubles… are winning for us a permanent, glorious and solid reward out of all proportion to our pain.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 PH


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about moral purity. How is your path back to purity going? Have you made any adjustments to your life to have a pure mind and life?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

When everybody else is living for themselves, why should we live any differently? Practicing fairness is foundational to building values into our lives that last. But as we try to be fair, we notice all the injustice in the world. Criminals go unpunished. The oppressed are unhelped. Politicians are unethical. Good people go unrewarded. Capable people are unsuccessful.

We all ask this question at some point in our lives… Why doesn’t God do something about the unfairness and injustice in the world? Is He helpless? Does He not care? Is He unconcerned? No. The Bible says that God allows injustice in the world, for now, for a reason. One, Because God gives us the freedom to choose. Two, because God will settle accounts one day. Three, because injustice shows why we need a savior. Four, because how we handle injustice can build character.

How can we respond to unfairness and injustice? One, accept it gracefully. Two, respond lovingly. Three, wait for God’s help expectantly.

A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and stands the pain, God is pleased. 1 Peter 2:19 NCV

If you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:19 NLT

Application

  1. In what ways has God grown your character through an injustice you experienced?
  2. How can God use the pain from your past to help other people?
  3. When have you seen someone respond lovingly in the face of injustice?                                              What impression did it make on you?
  4. What injustices do you wish you had an explanation for?                                                                      How do you feel an explanation would help you?

Tell Someone Else

Prayerfully consider who you could share this message with. You could have a conversation with them around the topic using some questions from these Talk It Over Notes, or you could send them a link to message through rockbrook.org/sermons, the podcast or Rock Brook App.

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #7: Moral Purity

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Today we’re studying a value that as Americans we care a lot about in some areas of our life and in others we could not care less: the value of purity. For instance, we want pure air to breathe, pure water to drink and we want pure food to eat. But, we’re not as concerned about having pure minds. 

We will allow almost anything in our minds and we get desensitized to it. It used to be that you had to go to an “Adult Book Store” to get pornography. Today it’s all piped into our home and life every day. The temptations haven’t changed. Human nature hasn’t changed. But, how we view it and how we access it has changed.

“God wants you to be holy and pure and to keep clear of all sexual sin… For God has not called us to be dirty-minded and full of lust but to be holy and clean.” 1 Thessalonians 4:3,7 TLB

As we read that verse, we may ask, is that possible in today’s world? Here’s a reason we believe that it is. A fish in the ocean has lived its entire life in salt water.  It grows up in a culture where every moment of its life it’s surrounded by brine, water that’s so salty you can’t drink it yourself or you’ll get sick.  Yet, when you catch that fish and bring it home and prepare it for a meal you have to put salt on it. 

The same God that can take a fish and keep it in an environment of salt its entire life and yet not be affected by it, can keep you in a polluted world and keep your mind pure.

We normally fall into one of two extremes when dealing with purity: imitation or isolation. The answer is not imitation which says encourages us to be like the world and adapt to every perversion that’s out there.

On the other hand, isolation pushes us to completely stay away from the world. Let’s build a bunker or become nuns and monks to isolate ourselves.

The answer is not isolation or imitation. It is insulation. Just like God can insulate that fish and keep it in a briny environment and yet not let it get salty, God can keep you in a polluted world and keep your life, your mind, your heart pure.


How to Stay Pure in a Polluted World

1. Make a commitment to God’s standard

God says several things in His word that aren’t very popular. God says a number of things, particularly about sex, in His word that you may make you wonder why. The answer –  because He knows a lot more about sex than you do and He understands the implications far better. 

When it comes to sex, God invented it. And yet God has also put some parameters around it. His standard has never changed and is very clear regardless of opinion polls. Sex is far more than physical. It is a spiritual act and it has spiritual consequences. Not only that, sex has emotional consequences, social consequences, even has legal consequences.

The problem with sex education is not that they teach too much, it’s that they don’t teach enough. When we reduce sex to simply a biological function, we forget sex is so much more.

The Bible also says that sex is exclusively reserved for a man and a woman who are committed to each other in a marriage. Anything outside of that — sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage, anything else — will have profound consequences in your emotions, in your spiritual life, and physical life.

God puts these parameters in place not to restrict your freedom, but for your protection.

“How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9 NIV

Sex is not bad or dirty. It is holy and spiritual. That’s why it is to be used according to God’s standard. Making a commitment to God’s standard takes courage. It takes character to have conviction and do what God says is right. Once you’ve done that, regardless of mistakes you’ve made in the past, then you’re ready to move to step two.

2. Manage my mind

Anytime you see somebody really messing up their life, it didn’t start with the actions, it started with thoughts. They were thinking dumb thoughts before they started making dumb decisions. The way you think determines how you feel. You feel a certain way because you’re thinking a certain way and feelings are what motivate you to action.

“Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life.” Proverbs 4:23 NCV

If you want to change your action, break a bad habit, or change your life you don’t work on the habit, you work on what caused it —the thoughts that caused the feelings that caused the action. God says your thoughts control your life. 

This is how you fall into temptation. This is how affairs happen. Long before the actual physical act takes place, little decisions have been made that lowered the barrier. It happens like this:

  • First, it starts with accepting sinful thoughts in my mind. “What would it be like to go to bed with that person? I wonder if it’s so wrong?  Did God really say…” You start having doubts and you start fantasizing in your mind. You think it is harmless, but thoughts inevitably produce feelings. That’s why while you’re thinking it, it produces feelings of excitement.
  • Second, there is emotional non physical involvement. That’s where you start flirting. You start making gestures and comments — that say, “I’m available.”
  • Third, comes the physical involvement.
  • Fourth, comes rationalizing my actions. “Everybody’s doing it.  It’s no big deal.  We’re both adults.” 

The Bible shows us how to break these steps.

“Turn your back on the turbulent desires of youth and give your positive attention to goodness, faith, love and peace…” 2 Timothy 2:22 PH

The way you stop is by turning your back on what you’re thinking about. You have a choice. You don’t have to give in to temptation. It’s not a sin to be tempted.  But it’s a sin to give in to temptation. 

How do you break any temptation? Turn your back on it and replace it with something else. If my mind isn’t on it, I can’t be tempted by it. Change the situation.

One of the practical ways you can do if you want a pure mind in a polluted world is …

3. Monitor my media intake

What you feed your mind is just as important as what you feed your body. Could you live healthy on a diet of Dr. Pepper and Twinkies? No, you couldn’t. Yet the moral equivalent of a Twinkie is most things on Netflix and Prime. On television and streaming you’re taught, through exposure, that the only good sex is outside of God’s plan for sex.

Therefore, you have to monitor your media intake or your cornea is going to develop your character. The problem with television and media is it lowers your resistance to understanding what’s right and wrong. On television, sin is glamorized. Television doesn’t show the results of the sin.

“Keep me from paying attention to what is worthless.” Psalm 119:37 GNT

A way we often do this as adults is through the news. The news is often just a more sophisticated version of all the other junk. It’s worthless. Before you click on that headline or watch that news story, ask yourself if that is really what God has called you to think about that day.

“I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.” Psalm 101:3 NLT

4. Minimize the opportunity for temptation

That means don’t place yourself in a situation where you know you’re going to be tempted. If you don’t want to get burned, stay away from the fire. Here are three verses that can help you with minimizing temptation in your life.

“So be careful. If you are thinking, ‘Oh, I would never behave like that’—let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin.” 1 Corinthians 10:12 TLB

People tend to think the longer they have been a believer, the less they will be tempted. That is not true. The time you’re a believer has nothing to do with it. It really has more to do with how hard you’ve worked to develop conquering temptation.

Even Jesus was tempted. If you’re thinking, “I would never be tempted!  I would never give in to that temptation! I’m too old for that. I’m over that.” The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful.” Given the right circumstances each of us are capable of any sin. If you don’t think so, you’re already in trouble, because it’s going to get you in a way you don’t see coming.

“Bad companions ruin good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 GNT

Choose your friends carefully. It’s a well known fact that most affairs occur between couples who already know each other. That means you’d better make sure that your closest friends are as committed to their marriage as you are committed to yours or you may be setting yourself up for some unnecessary temptation. 

“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality…” Ephesians 5:3 NIV

You need some guidelines and guardrails in your life. Guardrails such as making a commitment that you won’t talk about your marriage problems, won’t be alone, won’t go out to eat, won’t travel alone, or won’t have late night phone calls with people of the opposite sex. Situations like these is where all that stuff begins.

5. Maintain my marriage

A growing relationship with your spouse will reduce the pull and attraction of adultery. Many people get tempted after they’re married because we stop dating in our marriage. We stop doing those things that keep the spark and romance going.

What happens is men tend to get married and think, “Mission Accomplished.” Now he, as a natural goal oriented guy, starts thinking, “What’s next?” He focuses on providing and turns to work and projects. The woman wonders what happened to all the dates and hours spent talking. She’s thinking, “Bait and Switch.”

“Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love.” Ecclesiastes 9:9 NIV

“The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs… Do not deprive each other of sexual relations… so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:3,5 NLT

For many of you, if you took the time you spent complaining about your marriage or fantasizing about something else and used that time to work on your marriage, it would be a whole lot better. You already have the time and the means.

6. Magnify the consequences of sin

The enemy tries to minimize the consequences of sin. Then after you sin, he condemns you.

“But the man who commits adultery is an utter fool, for he destroys himself.” Proverbs 6:32 NLT

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15 NLT

Nothing damages your emotions more than sexual sin. God made you to be a sexual being. And since your sexuality invades every single part of your life, it’s not just a physical act. 

Many people wish they could roll back the clock and undo mistakes they have made due to temptations they have fallen into. God wants to spare you this pain. That’s why God’s standard has never changed. 

Premarital sex. Living together without getting married. Adultery. Homosexuality. Pornography. All of these are unacceptable to God. They always have been and always will be.

If you have been guilty of one or all of these things, God says He wants to give you a chance to come clean and start over. He is the only one with the power to do it. He offers healing, forgiveness and restoration.


The Path Back to Purity

1. Repent

Repent means we change our minds and admit God was right and we were wrong, we have sinned. David did this in Psalm 51. He prays a prayer after he committed adultery.  The important thing is you do it nowIf you’re in the middle of an affair right now, this is it. It’s over. It’s dead. It’s done today. Quit cold turkey, right now! 

2. Receive forgiveness

God says He wants to release us from the shame, regrets and hidden hurts. God wants to forgive you and wipe the slate clean. The good news is once He’s forgiven you, you can forgive yourself which you’re having a hard time doing.

3. Refocus and replace

You make a commitment to live morally pure by God’s standard from this day forward for the rest of your life. That means having sex only with the person you’re married to. 

4. Request help daily

Commit your life to Christ and ask Him to help you manage what He has given you. Galatians 5:16 tells us to walk by the Spirit and we won’t gratify the desires of the flesh.

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about forgiveness. Were there any action steps you needed to take? Anyone you needed to forgive? If you can’t forgive in person, did you use one of the other techniques?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

We want pure air to breathe and pure water to drink, but some of us may be less aware of our mental or moral purity. Is it even possible to maintain purity in a world where we’re continually bombarded by media trying to rob us of our purity? The answer is yes!

How do you stay pure in a polluted world? Make a commitment to God’s standard; Manage your mind; Monitor your media intake; Minimize the opportunity for temptation; Maintain your marriage; Magnify the consequences of sin.

Application

  1. Of the six steps to stay pure in a polluted world, which one do you need to focus on right now?
  2. What is one temptation you have struggled with? What thoughts, emotions, or maybe even family history led you into the struggle?
  3. What are some voices you need to turn off in your life to live a pure life? This may be another person, or something from the sex-saturated media.
  4. A growing, thriving relationship with your spouse will reduce the pull and attraction of sexual immorality. What are some things you and your spouse did when you were dating that you both enjoyed? How can you start doing some fun things together again? (If you’re single, maintaining your marriage starts now. Commit to saving your sexual purity for marriage. Trust that God knows best and he has your best interest at heart. You can start honoring your spouse before you’ve even met them.)
  5. Regardless of what’s happened in your past, God offers you a new start today. Follow these steps…The path back to purity: Repent, receive forgiveness, refocus and request help daily.
  6. Using the “Personalize It” method of Bible meditation, put your name in place of the pronouns or nouns used in scripture. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)

Tell Someone Else

Prayerfully consider who you could share this message with. You could have a conversation with them around the topic using some questions from these Talk It Over Notes, or you could send them a link to message through rockbrook.org/sermons, the podcast or Rock Brook App.

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #6: Forgiveness

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It’s a fact of life that you’re going to get hurt. Many times intentionally by things people say about you or do to you. When we talk about forgiveness some of you instantly call to mind past hurts and heartaches that are still fresh because you have been hurt very deeply. You still wince at those memories.


Why You Should Forgive

In Matthew 18, Jesus told a story called the parable of the unforgiving servant. In that story, Jesus gives three illustrations, three reasons why we ought to forgive.

He says you need to learn to forgive other people when they hurt you:

1. BECAUSE GOD HAS FORGIVEN YOU

I have been forgiven so I need to learn how to forgive others.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

When you remember how much God has forgiven you, it causes you to want to be more forgiving to other people. On the other hand, if you don’t feel forgiven, you’re going to have a tough time forgiving others.

If you don’t feel forgiven, you don’t want others to feel forgiven. If you don’t feel grace, you’re not going to be very gracious to others. If you don’t feel set free from the things you’ve done wrong, you don’t want others feeling good about the wrongs they have done to you.

Have you ever asked God to forgive you of your sins? Have you ever received Christ’s forgiveness? If you have a hard time forgiving others, maybe it’s because you have never received Christ’s forgiveness. Maybe you need to do that today, right now.

If you receive Christ’s forgiveness and every moment of you’re day you’re living in God’s love and grace and remember your slate is wiped clean because of Jesus Christ, you will be more forgiving.

You will never have to forgive anybody else more than God has already forgiven you. He will always forgive you more than you forgive anybody else.

2. BECAUSE RESENTMENT DOESN’T WORK

Resentment is self-destructive and counterproductive. It always hurts you more than anybody else.

If anybody had the right to be resentful, it was a guy in the Bible named Job.  Job was a famous, wealthy, godly man who had everything he ever wanted. But one day he lost it all. Enemy nations came in and killed all his livestock. All of his children were killed. He lost everything he had. He got a terrible disease. He was living in poverty with incurable pain.

Things had gotten so bad that Job’s wife told him he should just “Curse God and die.”
Then Job’s friends came along and said, “Job, it’s your fault.”

If anybody had the right to be resentful it was Job. But three times in the book of Job we’re told that resentment doesn’t work.

To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do. Job 5:2

Would you agree that sometimes hate or resentment or bitterness make us do really foolish things ? We do dumb things to try to get even with people. We do stuff that makes us look stupid.

It’s foolish to hold a grudge. Ecclesiastes 7:9

It’s not only unreasonable, but you are only hurting yourself with your anger! Resentment always hurts you more than it hurts the other person. Resentment makes you miserable. No matter how resentful you are, no matter how bitter you are toward that person who hurt you, all the resentment in the world is not going to change the past.

Resentment doesn’t change anything. It’s just stewing without doing. All the resentment in the world will never solve the problem. In fact, all the resentment in the world never hurts that person, it just hurts you.

Maybe they hurt you years ago and now every time you think about it, it still causes pain in your life. They’ve forgotten the issue, but your resentment keeps the hurt alive in you.

When you hold onto a hurt it’s like holding fire in your chest. It’s like swallowing a self-inflicting poison. It’s like having a cancer that eats you alive. Resentment does not hurt the other person. It hurts you.

3. BECAUSE I WILL NEED FORGIVENESS IN THE FUTURE.

Forgiveness is a two way street. You can’t expect everybody to forgive you if you are unwilling to forgive other people.

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14

We cannot receive what we’re unwilling to give. If you are forgiving you will be forgiven.
But if you are unforgiving, don’t expect forgiveness from anybody else. But God says for your own sake you need to let it go. You’re not helping the situation by holding on to the hurt. When you hold on to a hurt you’re allowing somebody in the past to continue to hurt you.

If you can’t forgive a certain person, perhaps you don’t understand what forgiveness is. If you understood it, you would be more able to do it.

What you think forgiveness is and what forgiveness really is may be two different things.
There are a lot of faulty concepts, myths, and misconceptions about forgiveness out there.

Forgiveness is not minimizing the seriousness of the offense. When you minimize a wrong, you cheapen forgiveness. Forgiveness is not saying, “It was no big deal,” because it was a big deal. There’s a difference between forgiveness and acceptance.

Forgiveness is not the instant restoration of trust. Forgiveness is instant, but trust must be rebuilt over time. Forgiveness means you’re going to let go of the hurt but the person who hurt you has some things to do in order to rebuild the trust.

You may have been hurt so bad by a loved one that the thought of forgiving that person is almost unthinkable. However, here are four things you do in order to experience the freedom of forgiveness.

How to Experience the Freedom of Forgiveness

1. RECOGNIZE EVERYONE IS IMPERFECT

When you get hurt by somebody, you tend to lose your perspective about that person and dehumanize and demonize the offender. You forget that he or she is a human being too.

The fact is that everyone is a sinner and capable of hurting others. Every one of us have intentionally wronged other people in our lives.

There is not a single person in all the earth who is always good and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20

2. RELINQUISH MY RIGHT TO GET EVEN

Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it. Romans 12:19

This is the heart of forgiveness, what forgiveness is all about. You know the offender deserves to be hurt back, retaliated against, and punished, but say you aren’t going to do it.

This might seem unfair, but who said life is fair? God never said life is fair. This is not heaven. This is not a place of perfection. This is a place where people make mistakes. Life is not fair.

There is not always justice in the world. In fact, there’s a lot of injustice. But, God says one day He’s going to settle the score. One day God is going to balance the books, call us to account, and make things right. Until then, the Bible says, don’t avenge yourself. Don’t try to get even. Leave it to God to repay those who deserve it.

One day God’s going to have the last word. In the meantime, you let go of your right to get the last word because it’s making you miserable. Your resentment doesn’t work. Your resentment keeps you from being forgiven. Your resentment keeps you unhealthy. It’s unreasonable. It’s unhelpful. Release your right to get even and ask God to give you His peace.

How often do you have to do that? As often as the hurt memory comes back. Every time you start to get resentful, you have to forgive again. You do it over and over. Forgiveness is not a one shot deal. It’s a repeated act of giving up your right to get even.

Jesus taught this. Peter asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” Peter thinks he’s being real generous here! “No,” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven!”

In other words, an infinite number. Don’t even try to count it. Every time you remember that hurt you must forgive them again and again until you know that you’ve released it.

3. RESPOND TO EVIL WITH GOOD

How do you know when you’ve fully released someone? When you can understand their hurt and when you can pray for them. In that process of yielding your right to get even
God changes your heart so you began to pray for good rather than evil.

Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for
those who mistreat you. Luke 6: 27-28

There is no way you can do that verse on your own power. Humanly speaking, you can’t do that 1000 times a day. You don’t have enough love, forgiveness, and joy in your life to continually forgive everyone who has hurt you.

It takes God’s power.

The only way you can do that is if you get Jesus Christ in your life and He fills you with His love and His peace and His forgiveness because human love runs out.

Love keeps no record of wrongs. When you’re filled with love you’re not keeping a record of wrongs. That means if you’re keeping a record of wrongs, you’re not filled with love at that moment. Instead, you’re filled with bitterness and resentment.

4. REFOCUS ON GOD’S PLAN FOR MY LIFE

Instead of focusing on the offense, the hurt, and the person who has offended you, refocus on God’s purpose for your life. God’s purpose is greater than any problem or any pain that you are experiencing.

Job had every reason to be offended and every reason to have resentment but he gives us the three steps for refocusing your life:

Put your heart right, reach out to God then face the world again, firm and courageous. Then all your troubles will fade from your memory, like floods that are past and remembered no more. Job 11: 13-16

Notice he says three things to do:

1. Put your heart right. Release and forgive the person who’s hurt you because you’re only making yourself miserable holding onto the hurt.

2. Reach out to God. Ask Christ into your life because you don’t have enough forgiveness on your own.

3. Face the world again. You don’t withdraw into a shell and build up walls. Instead  resume living know you are not a victim and with Jesus Christ’s power you are going to start living again.

When you do those three steps, notice what it says: “Then all your troubles will fade from your memory like floods that are past and remembered no more. The memory will fade.”

Wouldn’t you like that memory, that hurt, to stop hurting you? It will, if you do what God says.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about respect. Do you remember the memory verse? 1 Peter 1:18-19 TLB Have you had any opportunities to apply respect by being tactful, understanding, not judging, sharing your faith or responding politely?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

No one gets through this life without being hurt—that’s a guarantee. We live in a broken world, and none of us is perfect. That’s why the value of forgiveness is so important to build our lives upon. Without forgiveness, we’ll have a difficult time with conflict and unsettled issues in our relationships. 

Jesus told a parable in Matthew 18 about a gracious king who forgave a servant’s debt only to see that servant go out and demand repayment by those who owed him a debt. Have someone in your group read Matthew 18:21-35 out loud.

Application

  1. God has forgiven you. If you’re a follower of Jesus, you have been forgiven. So, the first question this week is, have you accepted God’s forgiveness through Christ for your sins? If not, what’s holding you back? Do you still believe lies like, “I’m an exception to forgiveness because I’m too bad,” or “You don’t know what I’ve done,” or “I need to prove I’m worthy?” In what ways have you found yourself living as though you have to earn your way into God’s good graces?
  2. Job 18:4 says, “You are only hurting yourself with your anger.” What hurts or wrongs have you had a hard time letting go of? What effect has it had on your heart and mind?
  3. It’s important to know what forgiveness is and what it is not. Forgiveness is not minimizing the offense, instant restoration of trust or resuming the relationship without any changes. Your forgiveness is not based on that person’s response or even on acknowledgement of wrongdoing. When you think of what forgiveness requires, what first comes to mind?
  4. The four attitudes of forgiveness are: 1) Recognize we’re all imperfect. 2) Relinquish your right to get even. 3) Respond to evil with Good. 4) Refocus on God’s plan for your life. Which of the four attitudes of forgiveness seems easiest for you to do? Which one is the hardest? What thoughts or emotions come up in the process?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to forgive? This week, tell them you forgive them. In some situations, it may not always be advisable or even possible for you to go to people who have hurt you. They may have moved, passed away or a conversation with them would make matters worse. When you can’t forgive in person, consider the empty chair technique or writing a letter you never send. These techniques can make forgiveness feel more tangible. (See page 136 of the personal study guide for more details.)

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #5: Respect

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Today we’re looking at one of those endangered character qualities. It’s the quality of respect. We live in a very rude world, people are becoming more and more rude. Common courtesy isn’t so common anymore. It seems that respect for other people, respect for property, respect the government, educational institutions, big business, law enforcement, and religious institutions is at an all-time low.

The Bible makes it very clear that respect is one of those values that a stable life is built on. Respect is the framework for a civilized society.  If there isn’t respect among each other, respect for rights and respect for responsibilities, then civilization decays.

“Show proper respect to everyone.” 1 Peter 2:17 NIV

The Bible is really specific about this: everybody is worthy of respect. We all want to be respected. That’s one of our basic needs in life.  There was an interview in which they were asking people who were poor what their greatest need was. The number one thing that came up above material possessions or money was to be treated with dignity and respect.

We all want other people to treat us with dignity and respect. So, how do you get respect?

The way you get respect is the way you give it.  


Why Treat Everyone With Respect?

The Bible shares with us four reasons we should show everyone respect regardless of their lifestyle, decisions, behavior or beliefs.

1. BECAUSE GOD MADE EVERYBODY.

“You (God) made (human beings) inferior only to yourself; you crowned them with glory and honor.” Psalm 8:5 GNT

Everybody is created by God and God doesn’t make junk. There are no worthless people. Now, we can agree that there are people who do worthless things and people who do wrong things, but all people are of value to God.

2. BECAUSE JESUS DIED FOR EVERYONE.

Let’s look at our memory verse for this week.

“God paid a ransom to save you… He paid for you with the precious lifeblood of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 TLB

We may not think much about somebody, but God does. He loves the unlovable. In fact, He says He love them so much they are worth dying for. The cross shows how much people matter to God. God loves people who don’t believe in Him, people who reject Him, people who choose to disobey Him.

3. BECAUSE RESPECT SHOWS YOU KNOW GOD.

“If a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 TLB

Love always treats people with respect. If we are filled with Jesus Christ’s love and if Christ’s Spirit is living through us, then we will treat other people the way Jesus did.

The number one test of our faith is our relationships.

It’s not what you believe or what you say you believe that matters. What matters much more is how your beliefs come out in your behavior.

“Love is not rude.” 1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV

What is rudeness?  We see it all around us but what really is it?  The bottom line is, rudeness is simply disrespect. If we are rude to someone it shows we don’t care, or that person is not worth much in our eyes.

4. BECAUSE YOU WILL GET BACK WHATEVER YOU GIVE OUT.

It’s the law of the harvest; the reciprocal rule. Whatever goes around comes around.  God has set it up this way.

You will get back whatever you give out. 

If you want to be respected, it’s simple — treat other people with respect. If you want to be treated with value with dignity, treat other people with value and dignity.

“A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows.” Galatians 6:7 PH 

Here is a little insight about the rule of the harvest. A harvest is for a season.  A farmer does not plant a seed one day and wake up the next day to harvest. Some of you may have planted grass seed this fall. You probably verticut or aeriated your yard then planted your seed and then watered it properly. Depending on the type of grass seed you planted it can take a week to four weeks before you start seeing the new grass pop up out of the ground.

So, don’t expect to go home today and start showing respect, or treating another person with dignity and expect them to respond immediately. It takes time. Especially if you are a person who is consistently disrespectful. It’s not going to happen overnight. Don’t get discouraged and frustrated. A little respect can start to make a difference. Over time you will reap what you sow.

Great people are just ordinary people who make people feel great.

The most respected people are the most respectful people.  They show it and they receive it in life. So, these are the biblical reason why we show respect to everyone. So how can we show respect? What does that look like?


Five Practical Ways to Show Respect

1. WHEN YOU SPEAK TO OTHER PEOPLE… BE TACTFUL, NOT JUST TRUTHFUL  

Gentle words cause life and healthgriping brings discouragement.” Proverbs 15:4 TLB

The primary way we show respect is with our words. This verse is talking about tactfulness. Tactfulness is a quality we don’t hear too much about today. It’s about watching how and what you say.

If you are tempted to say something rude you stop and T.H.I.N.K. Ask yourself:

T – Is this truthful?

H – Is it helpful

I – Is it inspirational?

N – Is it necessary?

K – Is it kind?

The way you say something determines how well it’s going to be received. You can say the same thing in different ways, and it will be accepted or rejected. Tact is the secret sauce when it comes to communicating to others. It’s the key to a happy home, a happy marriage, and strong friendships. It increases productivity in the workplace.

Learning how to be tactful and truthful at the same time is an absolute essential of being respectful.

People with tact often have a lot less to retract.

You don’t have to eat your words so often if you say them in a kind way. Some people today don’t understand tactfulness. Have you ever heard someone say, “I just tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may!” That’s not smart at all! Most often those chips land on disrespect and rudeness.

Before you even start to speak, ask yourself – am I about to destroy them or develop them? Build them up or tear them down? Make a point to prove I am right or find common ground?

2. WHEN YOU ARE SERVED BY OTHER PEOPLE… BE UNDERSTANDING NOT DEMANDING

One of the greatest tests of your character is how you treat people that serve you. When people are doing something for you are you understanding or are you demanding? Sometimes we forget those serving us are people too.

Those waiters and waitress have difficult bosses, co-workers who don’t show up for work, technical issues, a spouse or kid who is at home sick. Their cars break down just like yours does. It is possible they are having a bad day.

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they treat people who serve them. Jesus said…

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  Luke 6:31 NIV

There is a quote by Eric Hoffer, “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” It takes no intelligence at all to be rude. Rude people are rude because they want control. Rude people have often been wounded in the past, so they protect themselves by wounding others before they can be wounded themselves.

Some people are rude because of pride, they view others as inferior to them. Rude people often have a secret they don’t want you to know about. So, they keep people at a distant by being rude and disrespectful. It takes character, maturity and great strength to be understanding, not demanding, of people.

Common courtesy is just love in the little things.  

3. WHEN YOU DISAGREE WITH PEOPLE… BE GENTLE NOT JUDGMENTAL

As a believer there are a lot of things we disagree with in our culture. So how are we supposed to react to people we disagree with? When we disagree with our relative, neighbor, co-worker, or friend we need to remember two things:

  • Every will be accountable to God for their own attitudes, actions and behaviors.
  • You are not God – others are not accountable to you.

“Each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one other.” Romans 14:12-13 NIV

What does it mean to be judgmental? It is when you take the truth and you beat people over the head with it and you enjoy it.  It makes you feel morally superior. Being gentle is when we tell the truth to help people and to develop them rather than harm them or put them down.

4. WHEN YOU SHARE YOUR FAITH WITH PEOPLE… RESPECT THEM DON’T REJECT THEM 

If we are tactful, understanding, and gentle when speaking God’s Truth, His Truth will convict people in Love through the work of the Holy Spirit. Some of the rudest people you may have ever met were over zealous Christians.

Some are so committed to the truth, that they don’t really care that much about the people that Jesus died for. They beat people over the head with truth in a judgmental fashion. They are more interested in showing you what they know then showing how you can know God.

“If anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.” 1 Peter 3:15-16 TLB

You can’t argue people into heaven.  You don’t win them over by saying, “Turn or burn!”  God wants us to be a light in the world, not a blow torch.

5. WHEN PEOPLE ARE RUDE TO YOU… RESPOND POLITELY

Don’t retaliate by being rude back, that only adds fuel to the fire.

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil… overcome evil with good.”  Romans 12:17,21 NIV


Where Does Respect Begin?

Respect starts in the home. We start at our physical home, our church home, and our community. We’re to honor our parents — that’s the fifth commandment. One of the most critical lessons a child learns is how to relate to authority.  If a child doesn’t learn how to relate to authority and show respect, he’ll never be successful in his career, in school, in relationships, or marriage.

How do you teach your child to respect authority? By the way you treat others. The Bible says we are to respect parents (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:1-2), spouses (Ephesians 5:22-33, 1 Peter 3:1,7), church leaders (Hebrews 13:17), and anyone in authority (Romans 13:1-7). We learn respect at home, it starts in the family. Whatever you give out, you’re going to get back.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week about BALANCE. Do you remember the memory verse? Have you had any opportunities to commit your schedule to God?

“My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:15

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Good relationships depend on respect and one test of your faith is how you handle your relationships. It’s not what you believe or what you say you believe that matters as much as how that belief is expressed in the way you treat other people.

In Matthew 25 Christ tells us that we bless him when we feed and clothe the needy, when we extend hospitality to others, and when we visit the sick and imprisoned: He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.”

In your time together, read Matthew 25:34-45.

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31

Application

1. The Bible has a lot to say about why respect is so important. Here are just a few truths to reflect on. God made everybody. (Psalm 8:5) Jesus died for everyone. (1 Peter 1:18-19) Respect shows you know God. (1 John 4:8) You’ll get back whatever you give out (Galatians 6:7) Which one of these reasons to respect other people stand out to you the most?

2. Proverbs 15:4 says, “Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement.” I’m sure you probably know someone who is good at speaking truth with grace. They are often tactful and truthful. How do they do both?

3. Have you ever noticed that we can often be kind and respectful to people at school or the people we work with and the people we interact with in the community, but then go home and be rude to our family? Why is that? Why do you think that sometimes we are the most disrespectful to the people we are closest to?

4. Romans 12:17,21 says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil…overcome evil with good.” That kind of respect really begins in the home. This is one of the most critical lessons for a child to learn. Discuss with your group how you can model respect as an example for your children or young people in your life.

Tell Someone Else

Who can you show some respect to this week? Is there a coworker, fellow student or family member you could share this message with so you could help one another be respectful?

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #4: Balance

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Do you ever feel like everything is accomplished just as you’re running out of time? Does life feel like diffusing a time bomb? This week, we’re going to look at a value that is universally admired, and universally ignored – balance.

God established the universe with the principle of balance or equilibrium. For instance, the earth is balanced on an axis. Another example is architecture. Architecture is built on the principle of balancing stress load. If there is no stress it will collapse. If there is too much stress it will collapse.

If your life is not balanced it will collapse.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…” Colossians 3:23 NIV

The Bible presents a balance between work and rest. Good, hard, focused work is godly and biblical. It’s completely reasonable for your employer to ask for 40 solid hours from youIt’s right for them to ask for those hours to be focused, not doing personal projects or shopping or social media.

“It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night… God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.” Psalm 127:2 TLB

The Bible also talks about rest. God cares about your work, but he’s also concerned that you get the right amount of rest. The human body is built on the principle of balance. Your body is made up of many systems and functions properly when these systems are in balance with each other. 

When any one of these systems gets out of balance, we call that dis-ease or disease. When the systems are all in balance we call that health. Healing is the recovery of balance to the body. God’s interested in you living a balanced life.


B.A.L.A.N.C.E

B — Build my life around Christ

The only person who ever lived a perfectly God-honoring life was Jesus. Therefore, He defines what balance is. Think of your life like a wheel. 

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At the center of the wheel is the hub. Out of that hub are all the spokes of life which represent your relationships, your family, your career, your finances, your dreams, your goals and every other area of your life.

Many people put “God” or “going to church” as just another spoke on their wheel. But, that means something or someone else will be at the hub, because there is always going to be something at the center of your life. 

How do you know what your life is centered around? Simple — What do you think about the most? Every time we make a decision, we think about what that decision will affect. Do you think about how the decision will affect your relationship with Christ?

Whatever you think about the most is what you center your life around. 

The center of your life is very important. If you have a solid center, you’re going to have a solid life. But if you’ve got a weak, flimsy center you’re going to crack up at the edges. Only God is strong enough to hold you together, nothing else has the strength to hold all the pieces of life together. 

Not only does the hub create stability, the hub controls everything else. So whatever you put at the core of your life, is going to control and influence everything else. The center of the wheel is the hub, the hub is connected to the axle and the axle is connected to the source of power.

The power always emanates from the hub outward, not inward. If you have anything except God at the center of your life, at the hub, at the core, you’ve got a power shortage. 

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 NLT

If you put Jesus Christ at the center, He can direct, He can influence, He can empower, He can give stability to every spoke of your life whether it’s education, career, family, etc.

A — Accept my humanity

That means we stop trying to pretend that we have all the answers, that we can solve everybody’s problem, that we can meet every need and that we can fulfill everyone’s expectation. We must recognize that we have limitations.

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 40:28 NIV

We think, “It’s all going to crash if I don’t keep it going.” But we forget, we are not the general manager of the universe. And even God can’t even please everybody. One person wants it to rain, another wants it to be sunny. Only a fool would try to do what even God can’t do.

Not all the pressure in your life is coming from other people; we often put the pressure on ourselves. We think we need to add more extra curricular activities, remodel the bathroom, get another degree, start a side hustle, throw a huge birthday party… but this is uneccessary pressure we put on ourselves to try and measure up. 

“You made my body, Lord; now give me sense to heed your laws.” Psalm 119:73 TLB

L — Limit my Labor

Just like a bow and arrow, a bow that is constantly strung tight, loses it’s power. It has to be unstrung periodically. We can’t live under constant tension. This is not just pop psychology or good advice, it’s so important that God put it in the Ten Commandments.

“You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me.” Exodus 20:9-10 GNT

Up there on the list with, “Don’t make any idols.” He also says, “Take a day off every seven days.” God wired you up to be in a rhythm of work and rest.

Our best requires rest. 

This principle is called the Sabbath. Sabbath simply means “A day of rest.” God expects you to observe a sabbath every seven days.

“Then Jesus said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath.'” Mark 2:27 NLT

They were creating extra rules for the Sabbath to the point where the Sabbath wasn’t a relief, it became just another burden. The book of Colossians in the New Testament says God doesn’t care which day your Sabbath is. We get concerned about all the rules but He wants us to catch the principle of balance, not get so wrapped up in the law. 

If the goal of Sabbath is rest, then there are three types of fatigue we need to tend to. 

  • Physical fatigue: when your muscles and your body get tired.
  • Emotional fatigue: when your emotions get tired.
  • Spiritual fatigue: when your heart dries up and you just don’t feel close to God and you feel like when you pray, nobody’s listening.

So what three things do we do on a sabbath?

1. Rest my body

If you don’t take time off, your body will take time off for you. Your back will go out, you’ll get a headache, you’ll get the flu… We are not designed to go without rest.

2. Recharge your emotions

This takes different things for different people. You can recharge yourself emotionally through quietness, through recreation, through relationships.

3. Refocus your spirit

The Bible word for that is worship. Worship is when I focus on God instead of all my problems. One of the things worship does is put everything else in perspective. It shrinks your problems. Too often when people are tired and overworked they look for peace & quiet when they really need the Peace of Christ.

A — Adjust my values

The real reason our lives get out of balance is because our values get out of balance; we start majoring on the minors. The Bible says that one of the reasons we overwork is materialism, but you can’t keep up with the Jones’ and live a balanced life at the same time.

“I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have.” Ecclesiastes 4:4 GNT

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:36 NIV

One of the reasons why Americans have a hard time relaxing is because we often confuse our work and our worth. We think that what I do is the same thing as who I am and my net worth determines my self worth. That’s all a lie. It’s just not true.

Your identity has nothing to do with your career or how fulfilling the job is. It has to do with who God made you to be. We think if I achieve a lot then I’m worth a lot. But, we need to remember, the greatest things in life aren’t things.

“It is better to have only a little with peace of mind than to be busy all the time.” Ecclesiastes 4:6

N — Nourish my inner life

God puts an inner fire within each of us that gives us a passion and zeal and a reason to get up in the morning. If you don’t tend it, if you don’t nourish that fire, you will find that it goes out eventually. Then, you are then trying to live your life and meet other people’s needs from very cold embers rather than a blazing fire.

Our society encourages us to live externally, to live from the outside in, to make sure that everything looks really good on the outside and hope somehow we can cover up what’s going on, on the inside. But what does it matter if you’ve got an immaculate yard, every weed picked, every blade of grass is where it should be, and your house is decorated flawlessly your car is washed and your desk is clean if on the inside there is death, bitterness, rage, frustration and unforgiveness?

God tells us we are to live our lives from the inside out not from the outside in. That has to do with tending that inner fire. What is it you have stopped paying attention to or stopped doing because you are just too busy?

Charles Swindoll says in his book, “Growing Strong Through the Seasons of Life” that one time he went to a beautiful home and there was an amazing stone fireplace with a large wood mantel. He walked up close to see what words were on the mantel. It said, “If your heart is cold, my fires cannot warm you.” 

A three car garage cannot warm a cold heart. A promotion at work cannot warm a cold heart. A two week vacation cannot warm a cold heart. A successful business cannot warm a cold heart. What will warm a cold heart is contact again with the living God.

“I will delight in your decrees. I will not neglect your word.” Psalm 119:16

If you’re finding the fire in your life has gone out, get back in contact with the living God and let Him begin to warm up your heart again.

C — Commit my schedule to God.

Each day, we have to commit our schedules to God, knowing for an absolute fact, that life is not going to cooperate with our schedule. Have you noticed that life doesn’t really care about what is on your to-do list?

“My times are in Your hands.” Psalm 31:15

When we live by that verse, our stress level goes down. We can make a list, but also commit it to God, knowing that He alone knows what we are supposed to be doing on any given day. 

In Matthew 9 is the story of Jesus on His way to heal a dying child. On His way, a woman who has had a chronic illness for over 20 years stops Him and He stops and heals her. That it tells me Jesus understood this principle. He understood that the Father knew where He was supposed to be and He was willing to be bendable and flexible to let God show Him where He was supposed to spend His time. 

E — Enjoy each moment

“All of us should… enjoy what we have worked for. It’s God’s gift.” Ecclesiastes 3:13 GNT

Balanced people learn how to be happy while they’re working on goals. It’s okay to have goals, God even says to work on goals. But you need to understand that the goal of life is not accomplishments.

The goal of life — the reason you were put here on this earth — are two things: to get to know God personally through His son Jesus Christ, and to become more like God is in character using the gifts He gave you to serve other people.

We can’t do that if we’re not thankful for the moments he gives us. You can get everything else right. Your schedule. Time management. Money management. Days off. Vacation time. But it still won’t meet your biggest need.

Your biggest need is salvation.

You need to get plugged back in to God’s power. Physical fatigue can be cured by rest. But it takes more than physical rest to rejuvenate emotional and spiritual fatigue. If your spirit’s dried up, a two week vacation isn’t going to do anything for it. You do that by putting Christ back at the center, at the hub of your life. 

“Jesus: ‘Come to me, all of you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest… the load I give to you to carry is light.'” Matthew 11:28,30

He tells us He will give us rest, not give us a whole lot more to do. Some of us may be afraid to really sell out to God completely because we are afraid God’s going to load more on us than we’ve already got. The myth is, if I live God’s way He’ll give me more to do. The fact is He will exchange our pressure for His peace and His power. 

He wants you to be balanced. He’ll give you a life and values that are going to matter for eternity. If you are carrying a heavy load, it’s not from God. God will never put more on you than He puts in you to bear it up.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions about the message on Self-Control? How did it go writing out your own prayer from Psalm 13, 43, 51 or 140?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook App

Hear the Word

Are you managing your schedule or is your schedule managing you? Have you ever considered how your schedule and the way you use your time could impact your values?

We all desire a balanced life, and for good reason: It’s part of God’s plan for us. Every nook and cranny of the universe is built on this principle. The earth is balanced. Your body, when it’s healthy, is balanced. Our life and our schedules are healthy when they are balanced.

“It is senseless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night… God wants his loved ones to get their proper rest.” Psalm 127:2 TLB

B.A.L.A.N.C.E

Build my life around Christ. Accept my humanity. Limit my labor. Adjust my values. Nourish my inner life. Commit my schedule to God. Enjoy each moment.

Application

  1. What does your life revolve around right now? Work? Family? School? Is Jesus Christ one of the spokes, or is he the hub of your life? You’ll never be at peace and never be balanced if Christ is not at the center. When Christ is at the center he gives you stability, control and power. What spoke of your life is currently competing to be the hub of your life?
  2. If you’re wondering what that looks like, here are a few ideas. Have a day that you rest your body, where you recharge your emotions and where you refocus your spirit by focusing on God. With that framework, what would a day of rest look like for you? What would be a successful sabbath for you? What activities? What people?
  3. What are you neglecting in your life right now that normally fuels your passion? What have you stopped paying attention to or stopped doing to nourish your inner life because you’re too busy?
  4. How often do you enjoy time and experiences with God and your family and your friends? If you want more of that kind of time in your life, get it on your schedule.

Tell Someone Else

Who can you share this message with? Maybe you could give them a break and use it as an opportunity to share this message with them. You could send them a link to the message at rockbrook.org or share the podcast with them. You might consider giving them a Building Your Life On Values That Last study guide.

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Value #3: Self-Control

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Today we’re going to look at the value of self-control, specifically what God says about controlling your anger. Self-control is not just for those who blow up in anger, it’s also for those who clam up in anger. Most people are either a skunk or a turtle when it comes to anger. When a skunk gets angry he lets it rip, and everybody knows when the skunk’s upset. On the other hand, the turtle pulls into its shell. They don’t blow up, rather they clam up. Both of these are inappropriate forms of anger.

In our society today anger is on the rise, profanity is on the rise and violence is on the rise. Half of all murders actually occur between family members. There are 342 children arrested for violent crimes every day. 14 children are murdered every day. People get angry about little things. It comes from the fact that we live in a fast paced society. We live in a hectic, urban world where people get stressed out. We’re always on the go and burning the candle at both ends.

Anger is not evil in itself. God gets angry. Jesus got angry. When God made you He wired you up in such a way that you could get angry. It’s how you express your anger that is the key. And, if you don’t learn how to express it wisely, it will destroy you.

“A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.” Proverbs 25:28 NLT

Anger used in the correct way can actually become an asset. There are some things in life that the only proper response is to get angry. There are times when you see somebody taken advantage of, when you see injustice, or your children were hurt by someone. If we don’t get angry in such situations it means we don’t care, we’re apathetic and don’t really love anybody. God does not say to get rid of all anger. God says to learn to manage your anger.


7 Steps to Controlling Your Anger

1. RESOLVE TO CONTROL IT

Quit saying you can’t control your anger and start realizing you can. The Bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” So let’s stop making excuses and start accepting responsibility for our anger.

A fool gives full vent to his anger but a wise man keeps himself under control” Proverbs 29:11 LB 

Notice the word “keeps”. This is an act of the will, it is something you choose to do. We have more control over our anger than we want to admit. Have you ever been in a fight with a someone and it gets loud, your yelling and then the telephone rings? And you say, “Hello. May I help you?” How did that happen? You chose to control your anger.

We have more control over our anger than we think we do.

Resolve simply means to decide in advance. You start controlling your anger before you hit the boiling point. Start by developing some strategies and procedures in advance of the crisis. That’s what it means to resolve to control it. You decide in advance you’re going to control your anger with God’s help.

2. REALIZE THE COST

An angry person causes trouble; a person with a quick tempter sins a lot.Proverbs 29:22 NCV

Hot tempers cause arguments.” Proverbs 15:18 GN

“A hot temper shows great foolishness.” Proverbs 14:29 NLT

“People with hot tempers do foolish things.” Proverbs 14:17 GN

The fool who provokes his family to anger and resentment will finally have nothing worthwhile left.”  Proverbs 11:29 LB

There are all kinds of costs involved with uncontrolled anger, you always lose when you lose your temper. You may lose your reputation, your job, the love of your husband or wife, or your children. There’s a price tag to uncontrolled anger and it’s not worth it.  As parents, we may be tempted to use anger to motivate our kids. Anger can get a kid to do what you what in the short term, but in the long term you’re going to lose them. The end result of anger is alienation. You alienate the very people that you love the most. Alienation leads to apathy. If you’re always angry people think you’re unpleasable so they don’t care what you think anymore.

Alienation and apathy are the high cost of anger.

3. RESTRAIN MY MOUTH

If you keep your mouth shut you will stay out of trouble.” Proverbs 21:23 NLT

Anger control is mouth control. You cannot put your foot in your mouth when it’s closed. Sometimes, The more we talk the more we say the wrong thing. In the book of James we are given a formula for controlling anger.

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” James 1:19 NIV

 If you do the first two, open your ears and close your mouth, then you have a shot at controlling your anger. One of the myths about anger is that everybody has a reservoir (like a bucket) of anger and when that bucket gets filled up you need to pour it out. Then, once you pour it out you’ll feel better and you’ll be peaceful again. The problem with this way of thinking is you don’t have a bucket of anger in your heart, you have an anger factory. Study after study shows that releasing anger only creates more anger. Being aggressive, loud and angry only creates more anger back at you which leads a cycle of more anger.

4. REFLECT BEFORE REACTING

“A rebel shouts in anger; a wise man holds his temper in and cools it.” Proverbs 29:11

Delay is a tremendous remedy for anger. This doesn’t mean delaying indefinitely. If you’ve got an issue with someone you need to deal with it. Anger delayed indefinitely becomes bitterness and that’s worse than anger. Bitterness is always a sin, anger isn’t. If you respond impulsively, you’re going to respond in anger. But if you hold on to your anger too long it turns to bitterness. The key is to not respond to soon or hold it in too long, rather use wisdom to determine when the right time to respond is.

While in the stage of delay, you can ask yourself these three questions:

  • Why am I angry?
  • What do I really want?
  • How do I get it?

Anger is always the symptom of the real problem. It is a warning light or an alarm bell letting you know something is wrong. Anger is a secondary emotion caused by something else. There are three basic reasons for anger: hurt, frustration or fear.

When we are hurt or wounded, physically or emotionally, we get angry. When you stub your toe, that reaction is anger and the emotion comes out. Hurt turns into anger. This is very important to know if you’re married. A lot of times when your spouse is angry it’s because they’re hurt. If someone comes up to you and says, “I’m really angry with you!” Your reaction is to put up a wall and become defensive. But if they say, “It hurt me when you said that and here’s how it hurt me.” You’re more likely to be sympathetic toward that.

Frustration also causes anger. When we have to wait, when something is out of our control, when something seems unreasonable or impossible, or when things don’t go as planned we get angry. If you understand the source of the frustration and can communicate it, it makes it easier to eliminate the anger.

We also can get angry when we are afraid. The more insecure a person is, the harder time they have with their temper. People who are self-secure in Christ and have confidence in where they stand with God are not as likely to be angry at things. But when we’re insecure and feel threatened we become angry.  It is an emotion that God gave you that’s appropriate at certain times, but it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference.

5. RELEASE MY ANGER APPROPRIATELY

If you become angry, don’t let your anger lead you into sin.” Ephesians 4:26 GN

There is a way to be angry and not sin. Let’s look at three ways not to deal with anger:

  • Don’t suppress your anger – Don’t store it up inside. When you swallow your anger, your stomach keeps score (or your back, or your headaches, or your joints). If you don’t talk it out, you’ll take it out on your body.

 

  • Don’t repress your anger – Don’t deny it. Denial and repressing your anger leads to depression. Sometimes those who are depressed are actually dealing with repressed anger, but because they are a Christian they think they cannot express anger. This leads to them freezing it instead, and frozen anger causes depression. When you deny you’re angry and claim you’re fine that’s being dishonest. There are honest examples of anger are all through the Psalms. David just tells it like it is.”God, life stinks! Life is unfair. My enemies are all against me. And God so are You!” God is not shocked by this. He can handle your anger. And after he gets it all out, David says, “God, I know You’re going to help me with this. Where else can I turn but to You? Nobody else has the answers.”

 

  • Don’t express it in inappropriate ways – Don’t express your anger as pouting, sarcasm or manipulation. If you pout everyone has to baby you and walk on eggshells because you are upset. Sarcasm may feel good and witty at the time, but it will come back to haunt you. You hurt people with your words and destroy relationships. Manipulating the situation isn’t a healthy option either. Trying to get even to express anger leads to dumb decisions and regret.

“Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.” Proverbs 22:24-25 NLT

Anger is contagious. When people get angry and shout in your face, it’s easy to catch it. When somebody else gets loud, you get louder. This verse explains that how you express your anger is a learned behavior. Whether this was from kids on the playground, your parents, your brothers and sisters, or whoever else – the inappropriate ways of anger that you’ve used all these years, you learned every one of them. The good news is, it can all be unlearned. You don’t have to go through the rest of your life expressing anger in unhealthy ways.

You can learn to express anger appropriately and God says He will give you the power to do it.

6. RETURN GOOD FOR EVIL

Booker T. Washington once said, “I will never let another man control my life by making me hate him.” When you say, “You make me mad” then you’re admitting “they control me.” You have given them that power to control your emotions. The Bible says the way you show that you’re in control of a situation is by returning good for evil. It’s easy to retaliate but when you try to get even you’re just on the same level as them. But when you respond with good it puts you in a higher position.

Never pay back evil for evil to anyone… Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God… Overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21 NLT

You’re going to be hurt and disappointed at times in life. People are going to do bad things to you. You can either spend your time and energy retaliating or you can let God settle the score. God is going to settle the score for the injustices in life, not just here but in eternity. When someone has hurt you who can do a better job of settling the score, you or God?

Now, all these steps we’ve talked about are helpful but unless you get a power beyond yourself you can’t do them. In and of yourself you don’t have enough will power to tame the tongue. The tongue is uncontrollable from a human standpoint. That’s why the seventh key this is the one that ties it all together.

7. REQUEST GOD’S HELP

“Lord, help me control my tongue. Help me to be careful about what I say.” Psalm 141:3 NCV

“Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.” Matthew 12:34 NLT

God helps us manage our mouth and control our anger by going right to the source – our heart. When the world puts pressure on you, it’s what inside you that gets squeezed out. If you’re filled with irritation, then irritation is what comes out. You can’t clean up the well by simply painting the pump. If the water’s contaminated you’ve got to get to the source. And the source is not my mouth, it’s my mind and heart.

My words demonstrate my heart’s condition:

A harsh tongue demonstrates an angry heart.

A boastful mouth demonstrates an insecure heart.

A talkative mouth demonstrates an unsettled heart.

A judgmental mouth demonstrates guilty heart.

A critical spirit demonstrates a bitter heart.

On the other hand, encouraging words demonstrate a happy heart. Gentle words demonstrate a loving heart. Kind words and comforting words demonstrate a heart at peace. When God changes us, He doesn’t just paint the pump. He gives us a new, clean heart.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Psalm 51:10 NLT

All the self-help books in the world can’t do that. All the therapy in the world can’t give you a new heart. Only God can do that. When Jesus deals with your anger, He deals with the root. He recognizes we are angry because we are hurt and He offers to bind up our wounds and heal us. He sees when we are angry due to frustration and He guides us through peaceful valleys. And when we are afraid He pulls us near to help calm our fears. When we trust in Christ, we don’t have to be angry anymore


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Any more thoughts or conclusions about the message on trust? Have you had any opportunities to move against what’s holding you back from trusting God?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Many people think they want to build their lives on values that last, but they have a hard time talking about and working on their self-control. But anything that’s uncontrolled eventually will destroy you. It could be eating, drinking, TV, Chocolate, overspending—even good things that God created can destroy you if you let them go uncontrolled.

For instance, God has a lot to say about one area of self-control that we all face in one way or another: controlling anger. Anger is not evil in itself. It is not a sin. Even God gets angry. The issue is how you express your anger. So learning how to control anger is an area in which we all can learn and grow.

“A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.

Proverbs 25:28 (NLT)

Application

  1. Before we go any further, we have to remember that dealing with anger is not just for those who lash out. Anger can be dealt with in many unhealthy ways. We’ll say it this way… Self-control is not just for those who blow up; it’s also for those who clam up. What is your tendency?
  2. Proverbs 29:22 says, “An angry person causes trouble; a person with a quick temper sins a lot.” Proverbs 15:18 says, “Hot tempers cause arguments.” Proverbs 14:29 says, “A hot temper shows great foolishness.” There’s always a cost to anger. What has moments of anger cost you?
  3. If you are to let anger grow out of control, what people would be affected by it? Let’s ask it this way… Have you ever been impacted by someone else’s anger? What about your parents? How has their anger impacted you and how was that anger flowing from hurt, frustration or fear?
  4. Read through Psalm chapters 13, 43, 51 and 140. Then, choose one of these chapters as a guide to write your own prayer about self-control before you meet again next week.

Tell Someone Else

Who can you share this message with? You could send them a link to the message at rockbrook.org or share the podcast with them, or you could share with them a truth from this message yourself. You might consider giving them a Building Your Life On Values That Last study guide.

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