Nudged Part 5
So here's something that we all have in common. This isn't like a religious thing or a Christian thing, or non-Christian thing, this is just a thing thing, this is just a human thing. We all have this in common, our worst decisions, my worst decisions for sure, Our worst decisions, were fueled by a nudge with strong emotional appeal.
Our worst decisions were fueled by a nudge with strong emotional appeal.
You ate it.
You drank it.
You leased it.
You dated it.
You moved in with it.
You applied for it.
You employed it.
You invested in it.
There is a breakthrough thought, right. Duh, right. Your worst decision, my worst decisions, that weekend you wish, that first marriage, that purchase, that lease, that whatever it was, the reason you made that decision, the reason I made that decision or that series of decisions, was whatever it was that caused me to decide had strong emotional appeal, it was so appealing you bought it, it was so appealing you ate it, it was so appealing you leased it, it was so appealing you moved there, it was so appealing you dated it and moved in with it, [laughter] it was so appealing you took it, it was so appealing you smoked it, it was so appealing... I could go on and on and on. The reason you have regrets, the reason we look back on that, "Oh my gosh, what was I thinking?", there was something on the path that had strong emotional appeal, right?
And then something very strange happened, It lost its appeal.
It lost its appeal.
In fact, you don't even know where it is anymore, in fact, you couldn't wait to sell that thing, you couldn't wait to get out of that lease, you couldn't wait for him to leave, or her to leave. It was like, "What was I thinking?" It was so appealing at the moment, and then it lost its appeal. And then for some of you, if you're honest, and today is gonna be a little bit heavy, so buckle up. For some of you, what began as appealing over time became a prison. What started off as just a past time, you discovered, "Uh-oh, it's a pathway, and I can't get off this path."
What was once an attractive pleasure became a toxic poison.
And what began as just appealing became a prison for you, it turned out it was poison to you, and now there's a habit you can't break, or an addiction that you're struggling with.
So I've got an idea, we'll keep this short. Let's not do that any more, okay? Alright, let's not do that anymore. You're dismissed, okay, take off. We just won't do that anymore, right? Don't you wish it was that easy? But it's a common experience to all of us, right? The nudges that get our attention get us off track, create the most significant regret, are always emotionally appealing.
The nudges that get our attention get us off track, create the most significant regret, are always emotionally appealing.
So let's not do that anymore. And that's what we're gonna talk about today, but before we get to that, a quick review of where we've been.
And the principle that drives this entire sermon series
The right nudge from the right source at the right time can get you to the right place, but the wrong nudge from the wrong source at the right time will take you to the wrong place.
And we know this is true from the lifetime of experiences you and I have. That nudge to spend to much, to eat too much, drink too much, to forsake what is right for what is expedient in every arena of your life you can relate a nudge you wish you would not have given into.
The nudges you pay attention to will ultimately determine your destination. You always end up where your nudges take you, regardless, of your intention. I know plenty of people who intended to keep a diet until they were nudged by Tiff’s Treat cookie. I know plenty of people who intended to get out of debt until that thing they really wanted dropped in price and they were nudged to swipe, swipe, swipe. I know every couple intends to stay married but someone, at sometime was nudged away.
Good intentions will not stop powerful nudges.
That is why in the second week, we talked about the expediency of foolish life building versus the long principles path of following Yeshua. And oftentimes, there is a big disconnect between what we intend to become, where we intend to end up, and the nudge that puts us on the path that we're on.
Now, this explains why parents can't help but overreact. So if you're a student, teenager, or you're listening to your parents and your parents are kind of interfering with your business, and you're like, "What? Chill out." Here's the reason parents can't help but do that. Parents react, and I think we're supposed to,
Parents react to where their kids' nudges will take them, not where their kids are.
To where their children are headed, not where their children are. That's why we ask ridiculous questions like, "Well, does he have a job?" "Well, it doesn't matter, I'm in love." "Great, you're in love now, but I wanna know what's gonna happen later. Is he in school? Is she in school? What's her family like?" It's like, "What's with all these questions?" Because parents know it's not about now, it's about where this is headed, and if you don't get anything else out of this talk today, please don't miss this. Relationships are dynamic.
Every single relationship you're in is headed somewhere. And our tendency in relationships is to look at the now until it's too late, but the people who love us the most have a tendency to look at where the relationship's headed, that's why they ask all those pesky questions, that's why they get all up in our business.
So your parents are more concerned about where the relationship is headed than where it is right now. And perhaps your Heavenly Father is as well. Both God and your mama do not want you to wake up some place you don't intend to be. God and your mama do not want you to wind up in life, whether it's financially, relationally, academically, whatever it might be, in a place other than where you intend to be. So this is a really big deal.
So as we wrap up this series, I wanna go back and I wanna talk specifically about nudges with strong emotional appeal. The power of an appealing nudge. And here's why, and again, this is what we have in common,
The nudge to be avoided is always paved with strong emotional appeal.
There's no way to avoid this, this is just a reality we all face and we're all challenged with. That the path that is to be avoided, whether it's financial, relational, whatever it might be, is always paved with something with strong emotional appeal. Newer, faster, bigger, "25% return, honey. It's a guaranteed 25% return." And she's like, "That's our college money. Okay, that's our kid's future, that's what we were saving up for a vacation." "I know, but it's guaranteed, and all of it... " Suddenly there's conflict, 25% return... Romance, desire, acceptance, attention, adventure, security. The wrong paths are always paved with one or more of these things. And especially the security thing, the securing thing's tricky. "Do you really love her?" "She's got a great job." "I know, but do you love her?" "Do you really love him?" "Well, I'm not getting any younger, right?"
And to be clear, these things aren't bad, in fact, these things are all good. These things aren't bad, these things just aren't enough. These things aren't wrong, these things just aren't enough when it comes to making decisions in life and choosing the pathways that we choose. Because shiny things and appealing things do two things to all of us.
They lower our defenses, and they raise our defensiveness.
These things always lower, it lowers our defenses. Shiny new appealing things lowers our defenses and raises our defensiveness. And friends come along, boyfriends come along, spouses come along, and they say, "Wait, wait, wait. Okay, do you realize where this is headed? Do you realize where this is going?" And we won't listen. In fact, it's like we can't listen. And here's why, confirmation bias kicks in. You know what confirmation bias is? Confirmation bias is, I see what I wanna see. I hear what I wanna hear. I see what I want to see, I hear what I want to hear.
Any information that confirms what I want to do, I see. Any information to the contrary, it's hard for me to see, it's hard for me to hear. In fact, when confirmation bias kicks in and we get locked in emotionally on something, our IQ actually drops.
Do you know how I know this? Because every one of you has looked back on a decision and you said this, these are your words not mine, you said maybe to yourself or out loud,
How could I have been so stupid?
See, your IQ dropped. You're like, "No, I didn't." Yes, it did. You admitted it, "How could I have been... " I've got some great news, here's the positive news, you are not stupid. But when you get fascinated with something that's fascinating, and when your emotions get locked in on a something or a someone, well you said it. Okay, anyway, [laughter] so not only does your IQ drop, you know what else drops? Your EQ, your Emotional Quotient.
Your EIQ all but just disappears. Now, I just want to talk about this for one second, then we're gonna move on. If you are currently in an ongoing conversation with someone, and this person, you know in your heart they have your best interest in mind, they've been your friend since high school, this is your mom, you know your mom has your best interest, it's your older brother, it's your younger sister, it's somebody at work, it's a teacher, it's a coach, it's somebody that you know they have your best interest in mind. But if you are in an ongoing conversation with somebody who has your best interest in mind, and whenever a specific topic comes up, you get defensive, you need to pay attention.
Now, granted they're not approaching it the right way. I say that because that's how we get out of those conversations. "Well, I just don't like their attitude." Granted, they have a terrible attitude. "They don't have all the information." Granted, they don't have all the information. "They don't see it the way I see it." Granted, they don't see it the way... "They haven't even met him yet.
They haven't even met her yet." Granted, all that for sure. If when that topic comes up, you become unusually defensive, pay attention to what's going on inside of you, and please do not use their lack of information, their odd attitude, their incorrect approach, as an excuse to miss something that's on your path that they can see, that you can't. Because if you are distracted by what's on the path, if you are distracted by what's on the path, you will be distracted from where the path is taking you. And they have an advantage, they are not emotionally involved with it, him, her, they, or it. If you're distracted by what's on the path, you will be tempted to opt for appealing over satisfying, which isn't satisfying. And we've all lived long enough to know this.
Now, here's the amazing thing, or not the amazing thing if you're a Yeshua follower. Maybe amazing to you if you're not, is that the Apostle Paul who wrote a lot of the New Testament actually talked about this 2,000 years ago. Now, you know, most of you know, but if you don't, quick update, the Apostle Paul stepped on to the pages of history as someone who hated Yeshua followers, who had decided to singlehandedly end the church. You may be a person who really doesn't like us and you kind of wish he'd been successful, darn it, he was not successful.
In fact, not only was he not successful, he actually became a Yeshua follower, a spokesman for the early messianic movement, and he planted congregations in non-Jewish areas around the Mediterranean realm, and then he would visit these congregations, preach to these, and then write letters to these, and we have several of these letters that make up the documents of the New Testament. And in his letter to first century Christians living in Galatia, he talks about this topic, but he talks about it in different terms. And his terms aren't our terms, but I wanna read you what he said, and then sort of put it in our terminology so that you can understand, because what he says is powerful. And this is the coolest part to me, and you'll think I'm a total geek for this, he makes a statement in this particular passage that is one of my favorite statements in the entire New Testament.
I'll tell you when we get there so you'll just go like, "Really? That's it?" Okay, so anyway, here's what the Apostle Paul says, and I'll explain this as we go. He says,
Brothers and sisters, you were called to freedom—only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
"You," he's talking to Christians. Now, if you're not a Christian, that's okay, you get to pick and choose which parts of this you like and dislike, and want to do or not do, and to let you know, we have, and I have, specifically no right in the world to tell you what to do. Okay, I get that, we have a different world view, different belief system. So I'm not telling you what you should do, I'm just inviting you in on a conversation between Christians. But you're gonna like part of this. So hang on, here's what Paul said. He said, "To you, my brothers and sisters," talking to believers, "You, my brothers and sisters were called to be free."
Which is amazing because you see, if your version of messianic judaism isn't liberating, you have the wrong version. If you were raised on a version of messianic judaism that wasn't liberating, you were raised on the wrong version. If you left a version of Christianity or messianic judaism that wasn't liberating, perhaps you left the wrong version, and I would like to invite you back, but we'll talk about that more on another day. He says this, he says,
Brothers and sisters, you were called to freedom—only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
"But you're called to be free, but do not use this freedom that you have to indulge the flesh." The flesh.
Now, I know it's a kind of a Bible word, so it seems kind of amiss. All he's talking about is something that you experience every single day. That your appetite, what you see, what you hear, what you taste, what you touch, and what you see, taste, hear, and touch, that elicits desire inside of you, something we all experience, he says, "Don't allow that dynamic, don't feed that dynamic to the point that it gets you in trouble. Don't say yes to every impulse." And here's why, and you know this, if you say yes to every, let's use his term, every fleshly impulse, you will lose your freedom. If you say yes to every temptation that it lit some desire that's elicited in you because of what you see, hear, taste or touch, you don't gain freedom, you lose freedom. And not only that, and here's the worst part, he's gonna get to this, not only do you lose your freedom, you infringe on someone else's freedom. Not only do you hurt you, you hurt someone else.
And at the epicenter of the New Testament ethic, what messianic judaism is ultimately all about relationally, is how you treat other people. So the Apostle Paul says, "Look, you are free, but don't use your freedom to harm you, and don't use your freedom to harm anyone else." He says, "Rather," here's the contrast, here's what you're supposed to do with your freedom, "Rather, serve one another humbly," we're gonna come back to that later, "Humbly in love." That is, leverage your freedom for the sake of others. And here's a promise, and some of you have lived long enough to know this, others of you will figure it out, I just hope you don't figure it out too late, that leveraging your freedom, leveraging your freedom for the benefit of other people, leads to a very satisfying life. And leveraging your freedom to the neglect of other people leads to a very dissatisfying life.
Messianic judaism at its best should be an invitation to freedom and satisfaction.
Then, moving along, the Apostle Paul takes a play from Yeshua's play book because he knew Peter and he knew John, and Jesus had revealed Himself to the Apostle Paul on the Damascus road. That's why we call it a Damascus Road, the experience, or "I saw the light," that all came from this experience with the apostle Paul. And he says this, quoting Yeshua, he says,
For the whole Torah can be summed up in a single saying: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
"For," this is an amazing statement, "For, or because the entire law," and he's talking about two things here, he's talking about the Jewish law, which was 613 different commandments. The entire Jewish law, and I think because of context he's talking about law in general, for the entire law, for the entire rule book, for anything that you would teach your kids or hope your husband does or your wife doesn't do, all of that. He says, "For the entire law is actually fulfilled in keeping this." And I want us to all say this next word out loud together because this is remarkable. In keeping this. One more time.
How many? Now this is remarkable, this is why Christianity is liberating. He says, "The entire Law. Any rule you can come up with is actually fulfilled with one rule, the one commandment." You don't even need a whole tablet, you just need like a three by five card. The one commandment. It’s like really yeah, it's all fulfilled with this one commandment, here it is, drum roll, you've heard it before, "Love your neighbor as yourself."
This is the New Testament ethic. Get this right, you don't need everything else. Embrace this as a lifestyle, you really don't need everything else. And if you get this right, and if this becomes the driving ethic of your life, you tend to know what to do. In other words, if it infringes on their freedom, I'm not gonna do it. If it's not good for her, I'm not gonna do it. If it's not good for them, it's a sin. If it's not good for him, it's a sin. How do you know what sin is? Well, how does it affect them? If it negatively affects them, if it infringes on their freedom, if it sets them up for problems in the future, if it undermines their future, their success, their future relational success, then absolutely not. Because I'm not gonna use my freedom to infringe on theirs. I don't need a verse, I don't need a quote, I don't need to remember what my mom or my daddy said, I can't remember half that anyway half the time, but love my neighbor as myself, and then Yeshua would take it to a whole new level at the end of His ministry when He said, "No, it's even bigger than that. You're to love each other the way I have loved you."
But I say, walk by the Ruach, and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.
Wow, he keeps going, he says... So I say Paul keeps going, So I say walk by the Spirit, which sounds like... You hear strange music in the background, it seems so intangible. And do I look up? And is something spooky going on? No, this is very simple.
It means to live or to walk in sync With the internal nudgings of your Heavenly Father through his spirit. That God will always nudge you toward others first-ness, God will always nudge you towards sacrificing for the sake of other people. God will always nudge you towards never, ever, ever infringing on their freedom and sacrificing yours instead.
And the outcome he says is this, "And if you will give into the internal nudgings of God's spirit in you, you will not gratify or say yes to the desires of the flesh." Maybe a better translation for us is, ""And if you will give into the internal nudgings of God's spirit in you,you will not fulfill selfish desires. You will not follow through on selfish desires. You will see shiny things and appealing people and you will not act on what you see, you will not act on what you hear, you will not act on what you touch, and you will not act on what you taste, because you've decided to say yes instead to the internal promptings of the Holy Spirit that always puts other people's futures first."
You will be far less susceptible to the emotionally appealing things on the paths that criss-cross your path. He's not done, he's so good, he's so thorough. "For," he says... Let me explain it further.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Ruach, but the Ruach sets its desire against the flesh—for these are in opposition to one another, so that you cannot do what you want.
"For the flesh... " We've explained that. "For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit. Now again, this is a human thing, this is the New Testament version of what you experience every single day.
There is a war within, right? There's a conflict within. "I know what I ought to do, I know what I want to do." Isn't it interesting that ought to and want to are in conflict? Isn't it interesting that there is an internal law inside of you that conflicts with your bodily and fleshly, to use his terms, desires. Now why is that? It seems like they would be in sync. It seems like I should want to do what I ought to do.
For the flesh sets its desire against the Ruach, but the Ruach sets its desire against the flesh—for these are in opposition to one another, so that you cannot do what you want.
But if you always did what you ought to do instead of you wanted, there wouldn't even be dessert on menus, because nobody would order it. There wouldn't even be... I shouldn't start listing things, or I'll get in trouble with companies that I appreciate. So let's just say there would just be a whole lot of things that don't even exist in the world, right? Because if I always did what I ought to do, but there's a battle. Now, if you're not a Christian, or a religious person or maybe from a different religion, I hope you have an explanation for that battle within. You experience the battle; you should have an explanation. The New Testament says there is a law in our hearts written by God because you've been made in the image of God, and it is in conflict with oftentimes with what has strong emotional appeal.
He says, "They are actually... " here's his word, "conflict". They are in conflict, they are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want or desire. You are not to embrace and chase everything that is appealing to you, which means... And I hope you know this, but let me just state it in terms that we can all kind of get our hearts and heads around.
Strong emotional appeal is a red flag, not a green light.
Strong emotional appeal, even though it is part of the goodness of life when in its proper context, but strong emotional appeal is actually a red flag, not a green light.
That is when something is emotionally appealing instead of leaning it immediately, we should step back immediately. And say, "You know what, this may be a great thing. She may be the one, he may be the one. This may be the job. This may be a good investment. This may be a time to lease a car. This may be time to move. This may, it might, it may, it might, it may, it might, but you know what, there is a strong emotional appeal. I'm gonna be wise enough to step back. It is a red light, it is not necessarily a green light. It is a red flag, not necessarily a go sign.
But if you are led by the Ruach, you are not under law.
He says, "But... " now he's coming back to those of us who are Christian's, he says, "But if you're led by the Spirit... " again, this isn't spooky. This is just paying attention to that internal nudge that God's gonna kinda nudge on your conscience and he's not gonna yell, he's not gonna scream. It's a still, small voice. It's more like a...
You ever get one of those? It's like...
You go, "Honey, was that you?" "Nope." "Dad was that you?" "Nope." That was just inside of you. The internal thing that will... Here's the thing, it will always nudge you, it will always nudge me toward reigning in my freedom for the sake of other people. He said, "You're to be led by the Spirit, and if you do, you're not under the law." This is an amazing statement, why? Because the reason you're not under the law is because Yeshua has given you The Holy Spirit so you can have the fuel, the power, the fire to obey the one command, and when you live by the one command, you are no longer accountable to, in fact, you don't even need the law. And if you submit to that, to Yeshua's one command, and you can take either version you want. "Love your neighbor as yourself" or the bigger, grander one, "Love other people like I've loved you." He says if you embrace that as a lifestyle, if this becomes the marching orders of your every single day life the way that you parent, the way that you relate to people, the way you do school, morality, dating. If that becomes your marching orders, then you will know instinctively what to do.
You will know instinctively, which nudges to choose. You will know instinctively, which nudges to avoid. Because Yeshua's one command always brings us back to this terrifying but clarifying question, and it's this question: What does what love require of me? What does love require of me? What does other first-ness require of me? What does selflessness require of me? What does lay down my life for a friend require of me? What does love require of me? Well, if it's not good for him, it's a sin, if it's not good for her, defer.
If it's not good for us, why would I do it? If I have to hide it, if I hope they never find out. What does love require of me? It's appealing, but does this run the risk of undermining our relationship? It's appealing but does this set us up for conflict later? It's appealing, but why is it I hope my children never find out? Then he goes on, as if he hasn't said enough, he says, "Just let me be clear," and then he basically is about to tell us, I'm gonna tell you something you don't need to know because you already know it, but he tells us anyway.
Now the deeds of the flesh are clear: sexual immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, witchcraft, hostility, strife, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions,
He says, "The acts of the flesh are obvious." Selfishness is obvious. Nobody needs to give you a list of what it looks like to be self- centered, right? Nobody needs to give you a list of all the things that distract you from the things you should do, right?
In fact, he gives us the list anyway, I guess he just thought in case we didn't know. And here's the interesting thing about his list; we're not gonna look at it by the way. If we were to, if we had a smaller group here and we were all sitting around a table and I were to say, "Okay, let's list all the things that are expressions of selfishness. Let's list all the things that are expressions of things that undermine other people's freedom and take away other people's future and temporarily satisfy my desire, but hurt people later then ultimately hurt myself. Let's make a list of those things." We would come up with virtually the identical list, the same list that the Apostle Paul gave us 2000 years ago. Because you haven't changed and I haven't changed.
I want to highlight three things on his list. And this is gonna be a little tough for some of you, but you know what, only the people who love you tell you hard things, right? Besides, I get to get in the car and go home. Anyway. So only the people who love you tell you the hard things. And this is why this is such an important...
This is a life changing message for somebody today. Maybe some somebodies. Because somebody has already tried to point out what I'm about to point out. And you have just had such tunnel vision, and you have just given in to just hearing what you wanna hear and seeing what you wanna see.
So the Apostle Paul says, "Let me... " in case you've missed it, "Let me tell you what following the flesh looks like, as opposed to saying yes to God's spirit in you." And he gives us this list. I just want to show you, give you three off the list. Here's three: Sexual immorality, selfish ambition, and envy. Now, if you're not a Christian, maybe one of the reasons you left the church or left Christianity was this right here. It's like "Michael, that's the problem. Christians are always trying to climb up in everybody's bedroom and tell them how to conduct themselves sexually, and it's none of your business."
And I have some great news for you. The Apostle Paul, who gave us this literature, the Apostle Paul himself, catch this, in another letter actually asked the question that you think we should ask. He asked this question, "What business is it of mine," talking about himself as a Christian in the church, "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?" to which you would say, "It's none of your, fill in the blank, business."
And the Apostle Paul would say you are exactly right, it is none of our business to tell you how to conduct your sexual life or your morality. It's none of our business. Paul would agree with that. So when Paul talks about sexual immorality, he's not trying to tell everybody in the world what to do, he's trying to answer the question, what does it look like for a Jesus follower? What does it look like for someone who's decided I'm going to embrace others first-ness? What does it look like for a man or a woman to decide, you know what I don't want to do anything that undermines my freedom and I don't wanna do anything that undermines your freedom. I don't wanna do anything that undermines my future relationships, and I don't want to do anything that undermines your future relationships. I don't wanna be mastered by anything or anyone, and I don't want you to be mastered by anything or anyone.
That is the essence of the new testament sexual ethic. And so, of course, he's gonna talk about sex. Come on. Let's face it. When someone comes to see a pastor privately, when someone comes to see a counselor privately, and they sit down with a look of remorse and regret and shame on their face and they whisper, they can barely say it out loud, "Pastor," or "Counselor," or you know, "Father I wanna tell you something I've never told anyone." It is rarely about a parking violation. It's rarely about, "I didn't fill out my expense report properly."
No, 90 something percent of the time, it's something sexual. Because Paul knew... What you know, what I know, what we know that when it comes to our sexuality, when it comes to expressions of sexuality, nothing is more... Nothing has the potential to undermine your future and other people's future, nothing has the potential to complicate your life and complicate other people's life, like sexual activity. So of course, your Heavenly Father has an opinion about this, because if God really loves you, is he gonna stay silent on a topic that has the potential to make your life amazing and at the same time, make your life, in some cases, unbearable?
Of course he's gonna talk about it. So the Apostle Paul says, "Come on," just about every day of your life, if you're an adult and you have a job and you're out in the marketplace, or if you're a student or a college student, or in a fraternity or a sorority, just about every day of your life, there is going to be a path with strong emotional, sexual appeal. I mean it's just a part of life. But what's appealing is distracting. And so it's not a green light, it's a red flag and it's a red flag that most of us have lived long enough to know we wish we had paid attention to earlier. So, of course, the New Testament and of course the Apostle Paul, specifically, is gonna put this on his list, not because he's against you, because he's for you. And besides this, my hunch is if all of us could go back in a race, an event, a weekend, a week, a season of our life, for most of us it would have something to do with how we expressed or mismanaged our sexuality.
So, of course, God mentions it, he loves you. And it's very... Have you noticed this? It is very emotionally appealing. You should say Amen to that. Okay, so selfish ambition. The same thing. I'm gonna get ahead. I know it's not legal. I hope my boss doesn't find out. I hope the president of the company doesn't find out. Hope my wife doesn't find. Hope my husband doesn't find out. Hope my parents don't find out. Of course it's appealing. Envy. I'm gonna catch up with her. I'm so jealous of my brother, my brother in law. Envy. I want want they have. I'm gonna do whatever it takes to get it, then I'll be appealing, and it's so appealing to me, 'cause then they'll look at me and they'll have respect for me, and they'll wanna be like me. Envy. Envy is trying to catch up with somebody that doesn't even know you're trying to catch up with them. That's what's so crazy about envy. "I made it. They didn't even notice. Did you notice?" "Uh-uh." "Wait, I broke the law and emptied my bank account. You don't even notice?" What are we talking about? I mean it's just crazy, why? Because there's just something, we just get so locked in emotionally, strong emotional feel.
And then when he says next is so disturbing, and I'm not even gonna try to resolve so this, so you may be mad at me about this, but I don't... We don't have time today, and we'll come back maybe some other day, but I don't wanna skip a verse just for the sake of making the sermon easy, right? It's been so easy so far. Anyway, he says this. He says, "I gotta be honest, I warn you," because now remember he's been to Galatia. They've heard him say all this. This is a letter just reminding them. So, there's so much more detail. He said, "I warn you," this is in the letter, "I warn you as I did before, not the first time you've heard this, that those who live like this, that those who make it a lifestyle of chasing what's appealing to the neglect of how it affects other people, the person that chases what's appealing to the neglect of how it undermines their own future, their own conscience, their own mind, their own heart, their own future.
envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, just as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.
For the person," he says, "who consistently neglects and ignores God's prompting within, to that person who lives like that, they will not inherit the Kingdom of God."
There is loss. There's not simply consequence of sin, there's loss. You'll never experience the Kingdom of God in this life. He's gonna explain what that looks like in just a minute, so hang on. You're not gonna experience the Kingdom of God in your marriage or in your relationships or in your finances or in your conscience... You're not gonna experience the kingdom of God in this life, and you're not gonna inherit... And this generally looks at the life to come.
You're gonna miss out on something in the life to come. Now some people think this means you won't go to Heaven. I don't think it means that.
I think if it meant you don't go to heaven, he would have said, "you don't go to heaven. Let's just be clear," right? That's not what he's talking about. I don't think... Some people think it is. Some people think that if you live continuously in sin, you will go to hell for living continuously in sin. I hope they're wrong, but a lot of people think that and believe that. The Apostle Paul, I think, is pointing at something else, and I'm not gonna tell you what I think he's pointing to, but I'll tell you this much.
If you never sense anything in your conscience when you do something that benefits you short term and hurts somebody long term, if you're able to just chase all the emotionally appealing shiny things and it's never a matter of conscience, it doesn't even bother you, if you never sense the divide between perhaps what God wants for you and what you know you ought to do, you should wonder. You should be a little worried. You should look up. You should use the bible word repent, or use my word, which is longer, you should begin living in a different direction. The direction of yes to God's promptings within. Living in the direction of yes to when God nudges you in a different direction.
It's time to opt for satisfying over appealing, which is far more satisfying. How satisfying you say? Paul says, "Let me tell you what it looks like." And if you're not a Christian, this is the invitation. This is the carrot on the stick. This is the try it, you'll like it. This is the promise, this is the liberty, this is the part maybe they didn't tell you about growing up in the church you grew up in.
But the fruit of the Ruach is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—against such things there is no law.
But the fruit of the spirit, in other words, the outcome... The outcome of saying yes to God. The outcome of saying yes to that internal nudge is exactly what you are after in this life. It's love. It's joy. It's peace. It's patience. It's kindness, it's goodness, it's faithfulness, it's gentleness and its self-control. Single people, it's who you want to marry, it's who you should become, it's what God has invited you into.
And then, here it is, one of my favorite verses in the New Testament; it's not even a whole verse, it's just a phrase. Okay, don't judge me. "Against such things, there is no law." See I knew it. It's like, "That's it? What about John 3:16, don't you like that one better? Okay."
Let me tell you why this is so brilliant, and so inspired. Listen to what he's saying, okay? He's saying, "Against see... Against immorality, against envy, against jealousy, against lust, against all those things. You have to set up laws, you have to set up restrictions, or you will self destruct, you'll become addicted to all the wrong things. You have to have all these rules, all these laws."
He says, "When you embrace the one command, when you embrace others first, when you embrace and love people like God through Messiah loved you," he says, "the result is this and ther are no laws against this." In other words, let me illustrate, "Hey, you have too much peace let's tone down the peace. Hey hey hey hey quit being so patient. You know the problem with my wife is she's so ridiculously patient, she needs counselling. Hey hey hey, not so... The kindest kids, kids knock it off in the back seat. You're being too kind, you have over done the kindness, you're too good. And you know what the problem with my husband? He's just so faithful. I trust him all the time. He goes on trips. I never worry. Writes me love notes, he sings me songs, he's still puts together music on a CD for me to listen to, to know how much I love... I mean, he's so faithful. I mean, somebody pray for us."
You can't. This is the beauty, this is the invitation. You can't overdo any of this. You can't have too much self control. You can't over... Paul says, "I'm telling you, this is the freedom you've been invited into. You don't need any laws. You don't any rules. It's powerful. It's a life of one rule and no regret. It's a life of one rule where you don't create regret, it's a life of one rule where you don't become somebody's regret.
Why wouldn't everybody be a follower of Yeshua? Why would you resist that? You say, "Well Michael, I've never heard it explained that way. I'm so sorry. That's people like me's fault, right?”
So let me ask this awful question. Remember only people who love you ask questions like this. And if this brings to mind a conversation you've been having with somebody else, please just stay with it. Have you become so enamored...
Have you become so enamored with something or someone that you have failed to recognize where the nudge will take you?
Have you become so enamored, it's so appealing, have you become so enamored with something on your path that you fail to recognize where the path you're on is taking you?
Have you lowered your defenses and have you elevated your defensiveness?
And are you willing to change course? Are you willing to change paths? Are you willing to begin living in a different direction? Now this has been kind of a negative sermon and people say, "Well is there a way back?" Yes, there's a way back. Start being nudged in a different direction.
God has given you the ruby red slippers. You could've gone home at the beginning of the movie. You didn't have to wander around with the crazy people and do the whole two and a half hour thing and then end up back in Kansas. You had the ruby red slippers the whole time.
You sow and you reap your way back, just like you sowed and you reaped your way in.
But the choice, you know this, the choice is yours. And I hope, and we hope, your Heavenly Father hopes, that you will opt for satisfying over appealing. We hope, your Heavenly Father hopes, that you will begin as a habit of life giving in to that internal nudge of the God who loves you. And we hope, and your heavenly Father hopes that you will embrace a life of following Yeshua.
He will take you exactly where you ultimately want to be, anyway.