Faithlife Sermons

LHC: Reality

Life's Healing Choices  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  43:15
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I want to welcome you to the fist week of a new message series. One that I believe has the potential to change the lives of every person sitting here today.

Stimulus and Response

You know what these are right. It’s how much of our world works. One thing happens and it causes another thing to happen.
Put a plant in the window, and it will turn toward the sun
stimulus… response
In our house, there are some words you have to spell if you don’t want our dog to go nuts.
You say ball, our dog will go crazy. But the crazy thing is, you can’t get him to carry the ball outside. He gets so excited about playing ball, that he forgets the ball EVERY TIME.
So what happens, I pick up the ball… reinforcing the fact that he doesn’t need to carry it with him.
Stimulus… response
The Bible tells us that we men and women are different, that we were created in a unique way, different from every other animal. They were created for us, but we were created for God and what makes us different is our ability to think and reason.
We get stimulus.... and we have a choice to respond
WE can’t choose what is done to us, we can’t choose everything that we go through… but we can choose our response to it.
Our choices usually create or a result of our:


Eveyone has them… at least one… here is a list of 20 or so issues that are pretty common in our world.
Overworking Overeating Alcohol Grief Guilt Anger/Rage Fear/Anxiety Divorce Abuse Sexual addictions Codependency Insecurity Perfectionism Hypochondria Hurtful relationships Gambling Lying Procrastination Need to control Overspending Drugs
Hurts… pain that has been brought into yoru life… grief, divorce, abuse
Habits… things we do to cope… drugs, overspending, lying, gambling, porn, alcohol, overeating, overworking
Hangups… unhealthy patterns… anger, anxiety, guilt, hypochondria, perfectionism, codependency, procrastination, control, insecurity
We think of these as our problems.... but most times they are simply responses to stimuli, our real problem. Many times we spend time trying to stop the response, when what we need is to focus on the stimulus
Isaiah 57:18–19 NIV
18 I have seen their ways, but I will heal them; I will guide them and restore comfort to Israel’s mourners, 19 creating praise on their lips. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”
From the very beginning, God has sought to change our lives… not just our destination in eternity, but our lives here on earth. God’s word tells us again and again how he chages our lives and over the next few week we are going to look at how GOd wants to heal us from those things that hold us back from living the full and blessed life that God wants for us.
We are calling them Life’s Healing Choices. 8 things God says, respond this way and you will be blessed. They are in a famous sermon given by Jesus and they are called Be-Attitudes. Ways of thinking, ways of responding. Attitudes we as followers of Jesus who want to live the life he created us for can choose to have.
God is telling us how to experience the healing that faith brings about in our life, it’s a matter of choosing to”.
The first of Life’s Healing Choices is what we are going to call the reality choice. Getting real.
It’s time to tell ourselves the truth, to stop living in denial about our hurts, habits, and hangups. Denial isn’t a river… it’s a lie we tell ourselves… I don’t have a problem, I can control it, it’s not that big of a deal
Stop living in denial, we hurt and we hurt others.

The Reality is: I’m not perfect

I do things I know aren’t good for me… I do things that I know aren’t good for those around me… I do things that aren’t God’s will
Proverbs 14:12 NIV
12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

Do you ever stay up late when you know you need sleep?

Do you ever eat or drink more calories than your body needs?

Do you ever feel you ought to exercise but you don’t?

Do you ever know the right thing to do, but you don’t do it?

Do you ever know something is wrong, but you do it anyway?

Have you ever known you should be generous, but you’re selfish instead?

Have you ever tried to control somebody or something and found it was uncontrollable?

Congratulations, you’re human! You know this already, but for some of you this may come as a surprise… you are not perfect.
We could say what many people do… well I’m only human… this is just the way it is.
Or we could say, I don’t have to live this way because God has a better way.
Romans 7:14–15 NIV
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Any one of us could have said this, but this was Paul…the one who wrote 13 books in the bible; he said, what I want ot do I dont’ do but what I hate I do.
Romans 7:16–17 NIV
16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
WE do stupid, selfish, hurtful things… because just like Paul, we have a sin problem
The good news is that God has given us a solution to our sin problem… which brings us to the second reality we need to face in order to move toward health; that is...

The Reality is: I try to be god

This is the cause of our sin problem, we want to be God.
center of my universe?
We want everything to be about us, we want to be the point of our lives… but Scripture tells us again and again, that this life is not about me. It’s about the one who created it… my universe is just a tiny, barely significant part of his.
decide whats right or wrong
That’s why i get mad when things don’t go the way they should.
Ever wonder why you get mad when someone drives the speed limit and you can’t pass… because speeding isn’t bad. Sure it’s against the law, but I have an important place to go/things to do.
Taxes too high… just add some deductions… Those old clothes I gave away were actually antiques. I volunteered my time, that should count for something
in control of everything
to control our image - You want to control what other people think of you. You don’t want other people to really know what you’re like. We play games, we wear masks, we pretend, we fake it, we want people to see certain sides of us and we hide other parts, and we deny our weaknesses and we deny our feelings (“I’m not angry, I’m not upset, I’m not worried, I’m not afraid.”) We don’t want people to see the real us because if they don’t like it, I don’t have anything else.
control other people - Parents try to control kids; kids try to control parents. Wives try to control husbands; husbands try to control wives. People try to control other people. There are office politics in your office. We use guilt, fear, praise - some of you use the silent treatment to control, anger, rage. We try to control people.
control our problems - We’re good at this. We use phrases like: “I can handle it, it’s not really a problem.” That’s somebody trying to play God. “I’m O.K. Really, I’m fine.” We control our problems: I don’t need any help and I certainly don’t need counseling. We try to control our problems: I can quit any time, I’ll work it out on my own. The more you try to fix your problem yourself, the worse the problem gets.
control our pain - Trying to avoid it, deny it, escape it, reduce it, postpone it. People try to postpone it many different ways. Sometimes we try to postpone our pain by eating or not eating. We try to postpone our pain by getting drunk or by smoking or by taking drugs or by getting in and out of relationships. Or you develop some kind of compulsive habit to try to control your pain. You might become abusive and you get angry with other people or critical and judgmental to hide your pain. Or you get depressed. There are many, many ways we try to control our pain.
Now If I were perfect and I tried to be God that would be one thing, but since I’m not perfect and I try to be god, there are consequences.
Psalm 32:4–5 NIV
4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
When we are trying to be god it will seem that things are working against us.... the reality is, God’s hand is against us.
Football team…against a good defense… in the huddle...That’s the best defense.
Fear - I live in fear… fear i’ll misstep… sometimes this fear makes you an enabler because you don’t want to confront the problem
Frustration - wack a mole… problems are continuous… never making progress is frustration… especially if you are the one in control of everything… b/c we aren’t dealing with problem, but “response”
Fatigue - being god we tell ourselves that we can do it - just keep swimming - look for joy and energy in things other than the Holy Spirit… I’ll just drink some more coffee and I”ll be fine. I’m hurt, but this icecream will make everything better.
Failure - I feel like a failure… want to quit… or it simply paralyzes you
If you are experiencing these consequences, 2 things to know:
You’re in the right place
WE are broken, but God isn’t leaving us that way.
There is healing
God wants to heal
James 4:6 NIV
6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Humility is the key attitude God requires. WE will try to fix things again and again. We will tell ourselves we are fine again and again. We will lie to those around us that we have it under control again and again. Until we we can’t. Until our problem gets too big. Why do we do that? That’s crazy. Wouldn’t it make sense that as soon as you notice something out of order, that you ask God to help you put it back in order.... that would take humility.

Humility is admitting I am powerless.

powerless to change my past
- it’s done
powerless to control other people
powerless to cope with my harmful habits and behaviors
- you’ve tried to quit, control it, it’s not only affecting you, it’s affecting everyone around you.
and instead rely on God

The Reality Choice: I ADMIT I need help; that I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and that my life is unmanageable.

This is coming out of denial and getting real.
It’s the first healing choice
Matthew 5:3 NIV
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3 GW
3 “Blessed are those who recognize they are spiritually helpless. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
Poor in spirit = spiritually helpless

The Reality Choice: God is real and I really need His help.

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