14 Oct 10/14/18 “THE POWER OF VISION TO RESURRECT DEAD DREAMS”
“The Power of Vision” was initially the message title, but then I added “to Resurrect Dead Dreams.” We’re in Proverbs, Proverbs 29:18 (KJV): “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.“
But he that keepeth the law is happy. Happy is he. You know what, let me just stop for minute. I want to pray for the prodigals. Lord, I’m agreeing with all the parents right now in this place who are not happy with where their kids are. They know they have drifted from you, God. The enemy has a stronghold, but we know that hold is no match for the power of the Holy Spirit, so we ask, God, that you would release the hound of heaven, the Holy Spirit, on these children, you would draw them back, you would convict them, Lord, to where you get all the glory, all the credit. Begin to move, even now, Lord. Convict them. Draw them. Show them that the destiny that they’re headed to is not a good one, and they need to turn back. And we ask this in Jesus’s name. Amen.
Okay, so back to this. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” I wanted to show you the Amplified Version. When you interpret the Bible, you look at the original language. That word in the original there, perish, you can go back, and you can find it in Exodus, when the children of Israel were worshiping the idols, and they were unrestrained. It’s the same word there. So actually the Amplified gives a good definition here: “Where there is no vision,” (meaning the revelation of God and His word), when the people don’t have revelation of God and His word, “the people are unrestrained.” So you see what’s happening in our society? Are they not unrestrained? Why? Because they have no revelation of God and who He is. So that’s what happens. When the enemy begins to take vision from your life and begins to cloud that vision, and dreams begin to die, we become unrestrained. We begin to cave in to the works of the flesh and the deceitful enticements.
So where there is no vision—a God-given revelation for your life, or what He’s called you to do—people are unrestrained, but happy and blessed is he who keeps the law of God. Psalm 119:49 says this: “Remember your word to your servant; you have given me hope.” Anybody need that this morning? God, remember what you told me? Remember what you told me? You gave me hope. Remember, God, remember your word. How many of us have prayed that? God, remember what you promised. Remember what you told me. I need that to be revived. I need to see that. I need to have hope.
So I’m going to ask this morning, what dream is dead in your life? Your marriage? Hope for reconciliation? Maybe health issues? Maybe “I know God called me to do this, and I’m not even there. I’m doing this, I know He wants me to do this, but I’ve lost all motivation”? That dream—I don’t know if God’s ever given you a God-given vision. Not weird vision, “Oh I see this,” but what He’s called you to do. I believe that God created all of us as believers to do something for Him. There’s not somebody in here who God’s like, “Mmm, oh, Chris…” I don’t know if there is a Chris in here, but you know Chris is just going to exist. No, He’ll use you at work and in your family and in society. A God-given dream: this is what I gifted you to do.
And we get a glimpse of that, don’t we? We get a hope of that. And then the dream dies when it doesn’t come to fruition. What happened last week is He’s given me a vision of that eight years ago of what’s been happening, and there’s been ups and downs. I get defeated, and I get discouraged and just want to throw in the towel sometimes. But, God, you promised. You showed me this. How do we stay on track?
Well, I want to give you a quick disclaimer because my thoughts on this differ from others, because many will assume that a dream—meaning what God has called you to do, what you feel a sense to do—will always come to fulfillment. And there’s some truth in that. What God began in you, He will complete it. But I also see in the Bible a lot of conditions. “If my people do this…” “If they turn…” “If they seek…” So a God-given dream, to get back on track, many times you can’t just hope it works out. We have to fight. We have to contend. I believe that we have to pray according to God’s will. I believe that dream has to be according to God’s will. I remember, God, I thought I was going to be a professional baseball player. Well, those dreams ended a long time ago, and it was not according to God’s will, what is best for Him. Because sometimes we have dreams and what we want to do: I want to be this person, or I want to succeed in this business. But is it God’s will for your life? You have to seek Him to find that will. And also, is there besetting sin that keeps knocking us off course? And did you acquire the vision or the dream from God while praying and worshiping and seeking God and being grounded in His Word? Because many times, [we say], “So I think God wants me to do this…,” but it’s based on what the flesh wants.
So it’s so important to come back to the Word of God and say, “Okay, God, plant something fresh in me. Refocus this dream of mine,” my calling, if you want a term. I think most people are bored or disconnected because they’re not doing what God’s called them to do, what God wants them to do. So here’s, from the Scriptures, the power of vision. Here’s how to resurrect dead dreams.
- Vision comes from keeping the course.
Vision comes from keeping the course. He just outlined this in Proverbs. Happy is he who what? Keeps the course. Now if we had time, we would look at that word keep. The word keep means if you can picture a ship that’s keeping its course, does it follow the compass exactly, or do the winds kind of drift it off course, and you blow away from your destination? But the compass puts it back on course. You have to keep that course, saying, “God, here’s what you’ve called me to do. Here’s how you call me to live. I want to keep that course.” This is why trust is so vital. We have to—and this you have to get deep down in your spirit only by reading the Word of God—completely trust in God regardless of the feelings, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of “well, this didn’t pan out like I thought.” And I’ve had people say, “Shane, I thought God was going to restore my marriage, but He didn’t.” Or He didn’t allow it. We don’t know sometimes, but you trust in God knowing that He is still in command, He is still in control. So you have to make that commitment to keep the course.
- Vision comes from the prayer closet.
Vision comes from the prayer closet during deep devotional times. What I mean by that is if you want to refocus God’s calling on your life, you want to really know what He’s called you to do, that’s going to require some “knee-ology” in addition to theology. I borrowed that from Glenn Sheppard. I’ll never forget that. That is so true. See, many times, when I felt God calling me to plant the church or God’s calling me for the Sunday night service or God’s calling me to confess what I confessed last Sunday morning if you were here (if you didn’t, you can go back and watch the archives of the livestream), but it’s in the prayer closet. As you’re seeking God, He begins to plant thoughts that line up with His word. There begins to be a burden. There begins to be confirmation. You sit, and you pray on it, and you chew on it—does it line up with His will?
So if you’re not in the prayer closet, it’s going to be very hard to get vision for your life, because what we’re led by is what we’re feeding on. You see all these kids now want to be rock stars or YouTube people who have five million hits, and that’s how they want to make their money. Why? Because they’re feeding on the media. I want to be a professional athlete. I will tell you something that breaks my heart—I didn’t see it when I was younger, but it’s really catching on—is how our kids are so involved in sports, whether it’s volleyball, soccer, basketball, baseball, mountain biking, or gymnastics. Whatever it is, now this is taking center stage. And church is falling by the wayside. When I talk to dads at the baseball field, what’s the whole point? They want their child to be the next Mike Trout. That’s dangerous. What does God want? Because we want to live vicariously through our children sometimes and have them succeed where we didn’t. But I think God is saying, “No, no.” So get in the prayer closet. Make sure. Make sure you find out what His will is.
A person filled with God’s Spirit, praying, reading, and obeying, will have a targeted vision for their life, a targeted prayer life, like well-placed arrows in the heart of the enemy’s plans. My wife and I were talking this week, and this really—I don’t know what happened at the conference, but I heard somebody talking about this—and you know when you know something, but it finally clicks? Like “Yeah, I knew that, but boy, did it stick.” It’s when one of the speakers explained, “If you ask anything according to My will, and you’re filled with the Spirit of God, I will answer.” So if a person’s filled with God’s Spirit, they’re praying, they’re reading, they’re obeying, God places a step of prayer in their heart, and they begin to pray for that. They can believe that’s going to come to pass, because it is God who planted that prayer there. It is God who gives us the faith. It’s God who targeted that arrow. So you can pray for your prodigal if God gives you that. “God, I’m spending time with you, I’m in your Word, I’m filled with your Spirit.” Those are targeted prayers. That gets the heart of God, because we’re praying according to His will.
And as you know, I read about revivals, and obviously we experienced a lot of what God is doing. I’ve noticed that God answers prayer more readily during seasons of revival, during seasons of awakening. But why? The reason is because we are serious about prayer. We’re serious about seeking God.
- Vision comes from humility.
Vision comes from humility. I know I make this point often, but to truly get back on track, if you want to resurrect a dead dream, it’s going to begin with humility. And it’s going to begin with allowing all your plans to die, your schedule to die. Anybody get frustrated like me if things don’t go just like I want? We begin to fight against God.
I had this great thought this week that want to share with you. When people are asking about what God is doing here, and we have to stay humble, I kind of picture myself sometimes as the waterpipe. Twenty-four-inch ductile buried four feet underground. I’m just the pipe. You’re just the pipe. Who’s going to look at the pipe? We’re just here to transfer the water of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Holy Spirit, the flooding of God’s presence. We’re just that vessel. We are leaking vessels, we are broken vessels, and then God works through us. That’s what humility looks like. Who but God can get credit for something?
So we say, “God, I could have been wrong in this. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m humbling myself, and saying, ‘Oh God, we need to hear from you.’” Have you ever really said that? And I mean really said that? You get home, and you say, “God, I need to hear from you. I’m going to stay here in this prayer closet or in my office for an hour or two. I’m not going to eat. God, I need to hear from you.” Because we can read that Scripture: “Oh God, search me. Try me. Look within. Is there anything wicked in me? Is there anything wrong? Let me know. God, search me.” You know what that word search means? It means “ransack.” Anyone prepared to say, “Oh God, ransack me”?
Ransack—if I could show you, I would just flip this pulpit over. I would throw the drums on the floor. I would toss this piano. That’s ransack. “Oh God, would you disrupt my life and wake me up? Turn everything in me upside down that is not of you. Take full control. God, come in and search me completely. Empty me of self, and create in me a clean heart, a right heart, that I can seek you once again. Remove the dirt and the junk and the filth that has crept in of my own agenda!” We have to stop praying, “Listen, Lord, thy servant speaketh,” and start saying “Speaketh, Lord, thy servant is listening,” and humble ourselves.
But folks, there’s too much pride in the church. We have to humble ourselves. This is why I often say that some of you have truth but not much love. Your vision is cloudy. It’s obscured. And most problems, most issues, would be fixed with humility. Humility isn’t thinking you’re a doormat: “Oh, woe is me!” That’s false humility. Humility is saying, “God, I’ve got some issues, and I need you to clean house.” So many Christians have their own schedule, their own agenda. If God even seeks to disrupt that . . . we have our own plans, our own financial interest, and God says, “Just humble yourself, and I will give you vision for your life.”
- Blurred vision
Anyone have blurred vision? They’re not sure what God has called them to do. It’s corrected by opening the floodgates. Let me explain what I mean by that. Did you know—look this up online—tears are necessary for good vision? They keep your eyes healthy, they protect them from irritants, they remove irritants, they remove dirt. Tears keep the eyes healthy. Your tears keep your heart healthy. But you can’t manufacture tears. This has been one of the biggest revelations I think I’ve had. I’ve shared this with you; it’s not a surprise. But I was raised in a home where men don’t cry. Fourteen, fifteen, sixteen. Even broke my leg at fifteen and didn’t cry. Eighteen, nineteen, twenty. I didn’t cry until the day of my dad’s funeral. Then I began to weep, because I realized there was no relationship. And then you toughen up, and you don’t cry again. You don’t cry, you don’t show tears, you don’t show emotion.
We think it’s strong, and it’s actually arrogant, because you need to feel the sorrow and the pain of others. You can’t manufacture this. You have to say, “God, give me tears,” and that’s what I’m going to talk about tonight briefly, “The Pain of the Prophet,” on why this is so important. Here’s why it is. Because you literally feel the pain of the other person. You feel the pain of what they’re going through. God woke me up at 3:30 in the morning. I don’t want to call out names, but I began to pray for many in this room, that they would receive a baptism of love. They’re as hard as this pulpit, and God can’t move. “God, break them, would you? Break them.” I think I’m going to start a hit list and write down these names. I’ve never cried this much in a week than I have all year, and I don’t like it, to be honest with you. It’s not tough, supposedly. Like, “Come on, Pastor, keep it together.” I’ll explain tonight what I think is happening, so if you’re here, I’ll explain more on that.
But you have to feel the pain; you can’t manufacture it. And God will do that through service. I think it was yesterday or Friday, we were coming home—my mom’s in UCLA Hospital. We were going to eat at a healthy place, Whole Foods, and there’s this guy out there holding a sign just like this, you know, “Homeless. Will work.” I say, “Hey, I’ll buy you a sandwich. Why don’t you come sit with us outside?” We begin to hear story, a Marine who lost his job, divorced. And I could feel it inside: “Shane, don’t lose it.” Like, where is this coming from? But see, that’s why I had to talk to him. I felt like just weeping for this guy, because “Lord, wreck me. Wreck me. Wreck me. Break me.” That’s where real ministry comes from. Without that, you’ll just try to tell people off: “You need the gospel; you’re going to hell.” Maybe they just need to be listened to and heard, and then bring the gospel in.
And I guess being in church—you can probably agree to this—those without a soft, broken heart don’t do very well at evangelizing. They turn people off. They hurt people. They push them away from church. Why do the majority of people in America not want to go to church? Because of how other Christians have treated them or act. Now of course we can’t be perfect. I’m sure I pushed away more than all of you combined with preaching and different things. But again, the truth will offend them; the heart shouldn’t. You have to be broken, and God will give you that. Because once He says, “Now they feel My pain, now they’re broken, now they’re contrite, now they sacrificed themselves on the altar of brokenness, now I will begin to give them My vision for their life, how I want them. Because if I send you out to do My will, you’ll hurt people. You won’t help them.” So brokenness and pain has to come in.
- Foggy vision is cleared when you lay everything at the foot of the cross
Foggy vision is cleared when you lay everything at the foot of the cross, and you are fully transparent. Fully transparent. Carrie, we were so blessed listening to your—I’m going to cry now—but listening to your testimony on Wednesday. I’m encouraging you to listen to Wednesday night testimonies. Morgan and I were driving, listening to it, and it’s just unbelievable what God can do with humility. You have to lay it at the cross. And you say, “God, who is perfect in this room? Please, would you stand up?” I mean lay it at the cross and say, “God, I don’t have a God-given vision. I want to resurrect that dream, and I’m laying it at the foot of the cross. I’m being fully transparent.” Because we put on an image, don’t we? We have a Christian image, and we want people to think we’re more Christian than we really are. We have to lay those things at the foot of the cross, because at the heart of that is pride.
There’s a box of books I ordered. I’m going to give it out to those who are serious. The title is Full Surrender by Edwin Orr. He said, “The penalty of trifling with the Holy Spirit (that means playing games, tricking the Holy Spirit, as if we could trick the Holy Spirit) is a breach of fellowship. There is a loss of vision.” So anytime we’re playing tricks, games, with the Holy Spirit, it will deflect you from God’s will. Your vision will become cloudy. Again, I don’t know why, but I always want to clarify this because people could get the wrong impression. I’m not talking about anyone being perfect. Nobody can live up to that standard. But there’s a big difference between somebody following hard after God and getting back up and saying, “Come hell or high water, I’m going to humble myself. I’m going to follow Him,” and somebody just continually missing the mark on purpose. That’s what God is looking for. God in the Scriptures says, “I’m looking for a broken and contrite heart.” If I’m not mistaken, that doesn’t just happen once. That happened once to me in 1999, then I found myself again a month later, again a month later, again a month later, humble, broken, contrite, humble, broken, contrite, laying myself on the altar daily, even this morning laying myself on the altar, “God, break me. Let me present my body as a living sacrifice, something that is holy and pleasing to you.” Orr said, “Vision is cleared up when Christians begin to confess their sins to one another.” “He that covers his sins shall not prosper, but he who confesses them shall have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Now I want to clarify here, because people get the wrong impression sometimes. You don’t have to just go blab everything. You don’t have to confess. But it looks often like this: somebody can say, “You know what? I just had a mean spirit this week. Please forgive me,” and it’s kind of the easy way out. But when you go to somebody and say, “I’ve treated you wrongly, I belittled you, I spoke behind your back, I’ve gossiped, and I need forgiveness,” watch out—God’s Spirit is going to fall on you, because the Spirit corrects deficiencies in our own heart. We like to gloss over and say, “Yeah, I could’ve done better.” No, confess. It is very healthy to say, “You know, I’ve had a prideful, arrogant hardened heart. I need to expose it. I need to bring that to the surface.” Or to say, “Church has been dry. Church has been boring. It’s been dull.” And we confess these things.
Also, I don’t know why, but I put this down here. We have to be careful with anger. Anger knocks vision off course every chance it gets. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “Well, I’m not angry like my dad.” Well, remember anger can involve irritation and impatience. Oh, there we go. Impatience. Irritated. We have to bring these things to God.
So something I want to leave you with because it’s rich in application. I found myself there a lot this month. I’m not going to spend a lot of time here, but it’s from Habakkuk 2. It’s rich in application. Now many people use this verse, which I’m going to get to in a minute, when God says, “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.” People can kind of tie it into God giving you a vision, and that’s true, but the context is that the Babylonians, Chaldeans, have annihilated Assyrian Egypt, and now they’re coming for you, Judah. They’re coming for you. But God says, “I’m going to judge that wicked nation eventually, for the vision will come to pass.”
But it’s so rich in biblical principles that I want to share it with you. Habakkuk, who was one of the Old Testament prophets, said, “I will stand my watch, and I will set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected” (v. 1). Can you imagine going into prayer and saying, “Lord, will you correct me? Will you correct me and show me if there’s any error in my way?” Matthew Henry said this about this first verse: “Those that expect to hear from God must withdraw from the world and get above it, must raise their attention, fix their thought, and study the Scriptures. They must continue instant in prayer and thus set themselves upon the tower.” We have to set ourselves upon and high up, and he says here, “I will stand as a defense. I will wait to see what God is saying to me.” So you have to say, “Okay, I’m going to stand for my family, I’m going a stand for this dream God has given me, and I’m going to contend for it.”
And then verse 2: “Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” Now this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to read this vision and go, “Oh my goodness, I’m going to run and get out of here.” You know, there’s application there we could talk about at some point, but the thing is, if you look at the first sentence, “write the vision and make it plain on tablets”—a tablet you would put out for others to see—that they may run, that they may read through it quickly, those who may read through it quickly when they see it.
And here’s the part I enjoy: “For the vision is yet for an appointed time” (v. 3). In other words, God says, “I will give you a vision. It’s for an appointed time, but at the end, it will speak, and it will not lie.” “Though it tarries,”—in other words, though what God has said tarries. It tarries. I’m waiting. It’s in the waiting time that you’ll get distracted, Samson. It’s in the waiting time that discouragement comes in. It’s in the waiting time that we fall back. It’s in the waiting time that our flesh is exposed to the works of the devil. It’s in that waiting time. So as God says, it will tarry: “Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come [to pass]. It will not tarry.” What God says will come to pass.
Then verse 4: “Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him,” talking about the Babylonians. “But the just shall live by his faith.” In other words, they see this judgment on the tablet, people are going to see it, and God says, “No matter.” It’s tarrying. Lord, it is taking longer. It’s tarrying. “But I’ve said it. It will come to pass.” That’s why you need to get into the Word of God, get your heart aligned with God, and see what God is planting in your heart, because when God says it, it will come to pass. God says, “Though it tarries, it will come to pass. No devil in hell can stop My plans. No witches.” I see all the stuff on the news—witches are going to hex [Brett] Kavanaugh, witches are going to hex churches. Who cares? They don’t have the power of God! I’ll sleep. I told my wife, “I’ll sleep in the desert next to a pagan altar where they’ve done sacrifices, and I will sleep soundly because that has no authority over me or you. That’s nothing compared to almighty God.” He says, “When I speak, it will come to pass.” Though it tarries, don’t view it by what you see. The just shall live by faith.
And God loves faith. Oh, God loves faith. When you say, “Lord, I don’t see it, but I’m trusting you,” you’re in a good spot. But here’s what most people do: “I don’t see it. I’m getting bitter and resentful at you.” That’s actually what happened to that homeless guy. He was bitter at God. I said, “You need to give your life to God.” That will sidetrack you every single chance. I truly believe one of the greatest tactics of the enemy, one of his opportune times, is during discouragement. During discouragement—waiting, waiting for that prodigal, waiting for that “Oh, forget it! God’s not going to answer. Forget it. God’s not going to awaken me or bring revival. Forget it.”
Some of you know what I’m talking about. If God plants something in your heart, and you know it’s God, you better just hold it, because it’s coming to pass. God says He will do it. “I will answer,” says the Lord. And He says about the proud, “He doesn’t sit up straight, but you, you shall live by faith, that what I’ve spoken I will bring to pass.” In other words, get on your face today. Get on your face tonight, and again seek almighty God. See the death in going your own direction.
Do you ever look and see the death in going your own direction, going against God? There’s a pastor, Pastor Steve Shell, and I’ve given this analogy a couple years ago. He talked about seeing the death in something, how it can really redirect your course. For example, I think he was fasting and gave this analogy. If you see this chocolate cake in the refrigerator. Have ever you not eaten for a while? After a meal, no big deal, but come five, six, seven hours, the chocolate cake begins to call your name. That’s why I don’t have stuff in my house, because it will knock at midnight. How do you remember it’s there? I’m sleeping. Remember those brownies? I’m telling you the truth. I have to be “out of sight, out of mind,” because my flesh is sneaky. So you try to forget it, but your flesh says, “Just one bite. Just one piece.” So you bring it out, and you turn it around, and you see little note there: “Use caution. This contains rat poison.” So this thing you had to have, now you’re not going to have. What changed? You saw the death in it. And you have to see that in your own life: this is not going in a good direction. You see the death in something, and your vision begins to clear up.
David Guzik said this about pride:
Pride is everywhere, and it takes all manner and shapes. Here is the rich man proud of what he has. Here is the poor man proud of his honor in having less. Here is the talented man proud of what he can do, and here is the man of few talents proud of his hard work. Here is the religious man proud of religion. Here is the unbeliever proud of his unbelief. Here is the establishment man proud of his place in society. And here is the countercultural man proud of his outcast status. Here is the learned man proud of his intelligence and learning, and here is the simple man proud of his simplicity. In a nutshell, pride can be especially dangerous among the people of God.
So my point this morning was really this. The closing is what God said earlier: “But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.” This is how you resurrect dead dreams. You get back on track, you get your focus back on what God says. You spend time in his Word, and you even ask, “Lord, if this is not of you, will you show me?” Be ready for the answer though. Remember? “Speak, Lord, speak. Your servant listens,” is what it needs to be. “I’m listening, Lord, speak.” So God says, “Turn and see again where God wants you to be.” Wipe the tears away and get up and fight. Pull yourself up from the ashes of despair, and let God rebuild and renew.
Also though, I want to throw this in, if you don’t know Christ, this is going to be pointless. The only way to get a good vision for your life is turn and repent and believe in the gospel. Without that you’re just following all these motivational speakers out there. “Oh, get a vision, just think positive, put a Lamborghini on your refrigerator, and eventually you’ll have it. Put this big house on your refrigerator, and eventually you’ll have it. Oh, follow your vision.” The danger there is you’re following the flesh, and that gets you nowhere. So if you don’t know Him this morning, turn and repent and believe in the gospel.
This amazed me, the Chinese Christian who came here who was persecuted, [said] the Chinese church views America as a mission field. Let that sink in. “What are you doing here in America?” “It’s a mission field.” Don’t we go there? No. Chinese brethren, she said, coming over here. America’s a big mission field. What? Why is that? Because our freedoms have become a curse if we’re not careful. Because people have religion. You hear it all the time—“Well, I’m Catholic,” or “I’m Baptist,” or “Oh, my dad was a Christian.” Oh, well good for you. “Well, I think I’m a Christian,” and it’s like if you’re living in India, you’re Hindu; you live in the Middle East, then you’re Muslim; you live in America, you’re Christian.
So there are many people in the church who have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof. And that’s why you have to be careful. If you look just like the world, except on Sunday, but if you look just like the world, is there any change? If there is no change, no difference, have you truly changed? I’m working with a guy right now (I don’t want to say too much) or reaching out to him, I should say, and he just loves this dark and Gothic demonic music, but he’s a Christian. “I like this. I’m not going to just turn this off.” But you don’t understand. That shouldn’t entertain you. That’s something that should be grieving you, like, “I hate that. I hate that.” I don’t even like the Halloween decorations at Home Depot. I mean, something in our spirit should grieve us. I don’t like darkness and death and the demonic. It shouldn’t entertain me, and I shouldn’t find enjoyment with that. Why? You’ve got to be careful because you might have the wrong spirit in you. Because people say, “I like the idea of heaven. Sure, I’ll check off ‘Christian.’” But a Christian is a Christ-follower. They have a renewed nature; they’ve been born again. So they won’t look like the world.
Now I’m not talking about a struggle. We all struggle. But there shouldn’t be an appetite for the things of the world. Actually, the Bible is pretty clear. “He who loves the world does not have the love of the Father in them.” What we love is what we gravitate towards. Do heart examination this morning. Have you truly been converted by the power of the Holy Spirit? Do you truly know God? Can you cry out, “Abba Father,” or do you say, “Get away from me, Father. Get away from me, Church”?
It’s amazing how you’ll see so many people go to church once a month. They check it off. They’re not hungry for more of God. Take a look at your spiritual appetite. Are you hungry for more of God? Oh, I just can’t wait to be in His presence. I can’t wait to be among believers. I can’t wait to hear this worship song. I’m ready to hear ‘Let It Rain’ again. I’m ready. I’m telling you, the hunger. I’m ready. See, why is it not that time already? You know?
Now, as a word of encouragement, you think I go through that every day? No. Often, when God is working so is Satan. You don’t know spiritual attacks until you’ve been awakened by the Spirit of God, and that’s why trust is so important. “Lord, even when I don’t feel like it, I will worship you.” Here’s what happens: “Oh God, I wish the sermon was on this,” but when you begin to just submit your flesh, and “Lord, I don’t feel like it, but I’m worshiping you. Lord, I don’t feel like praying, but I’m going to pray. I’m going to pray right now for my children. Lord, help me in my unbelief. Come against this flesh. God, I’m just trusting.” And you begin to pray, “God, would you fill them with your Spirit? God, would you watch over them? Would you keep them away from this sick and perverted culture? God, would you keep them away from addictions? God, would you fill me with your Spirit, oh God?”
And something begins to break inside of you. The flesh begins to lose its kryptonite grip, and you begin to be filled with the Spirit of God, and you want to put on worship. You want more of God. And something is happening because you are conquering the flesh. And the Spirit of God is saying, “I was once grieved, I was once quenched, but because of your faithfulness, because of your trust, because of your faith, I will like that fire again, and I will not only give you a flicker, I will give you a blazing light that whoever you come in contact with, they will see the power of the Holy Spirit in your life.”
Church, stop trusting your feelings. Stop trusting your feelings, because your feelings often will not lead you in the right direction. Your feelings will keep you at home. What does your flesh say sounds better tonight—Netflix or knee-ology?