I wanted to take a moment to talk about to give you a sneak peek into the theme for my message this weekend. I will tell about how there’s a price to pay for progress in life, and it’s a pain. Anytime you want to see growth in your life; it’s going to take some pain. And if you’re going to see progress in the area of your relationships, you know sometimes relationships have to go through what we call growing pains, right? If you want to see progress in your spiritual life, then you’re going to experience some pain. Some discomfort. You know prayer, fasting, seeking the Lord, to progress and move forward in our faith. If we want to see progress in the area of our finances, to get out of debt, then we’re going to have to feel some pain. The pain of saying no to Starbucks, right? Or the pain of saying no to that extra piece of clothing that maybe we don’t need. The price of progress in any area of life there’s going to be some pain. The old saying is true, “no pain, no gain.” And so, if we’re willing though if we’re willing to experience some pain. Momentary discomfort; we can see significant progress.
Those of you that are students, you understand to progress, to achieve your educational goal, you’re going to experience some pain. The pain that’s in the process. So get this between the promises of God for our life and the fulfillment of those promises, between the promise and the provision there’s a process, it’s called the process of pain. You know a lot of times, we enjoy being on the summit of the mountain, but we don’t enjoy the climb up the mountain. We enjoy being healthy and in shape, the outcome, but we don’t like the process. The process of getting in shape. You know, we have to experience some pain. In marriage, to have a lasting, fulfilled, intimate, loving relationship with your spouse, there’s the process. The process is going to include some pain, there are growing pains in all of life. Nothing comes easy.
You look at King David, when he was just a teenager, God promised him to be king. That was the promise, the provision, the fulfillment of that, there was a process of pain, and he had to go through some difficult seasons to end up as the king. In the life of Joseph, there was the promise, then there was God’s provision, and then there is the finished product of Joseph being a mighty ruler in Egypt, but between the promise and the final product there was a process of pain. So where are you at in the continuum of progressing and reaching for your goals? There’s going to be some pain along the way, and it’s not always bad. Even the Lord Jesus, He had to endure the pain of the cross so that we can enjoy the glorious salvation. He had to pay that price. The price of progress in any area of life is that there’s going to be some pain. I just want to encourage you, if you’re going through a season of discomfort or season of pain just to remember that with the progress that you want to see in your life there’s going to be some pain. But don’t fret because God is always there to encourage and support us. The price of progress is pain. Keep your head up, keep your spirits high, look to the Lord He is your source of strength no matter what you’re facing or going through, God will see you through.
You’re God’s Best
I wanted to talk today about letting it go.
There was this child playing outside and he ran into the house frantically and he was upset. His mother asked him what was wrong and the little boy said that the neighbor boy was teasing him and called him a bad name. The mother asked if he hurt him in any way or was injured. The boy responded he wasn’t hurt. Then the mother said, “Then let it go.” What advice!
Many things happen to us in life and we do the opposite. We hold on to it. Someone may cut us off in traffic and we can’t let it go. Maybe someone at work made a snide comment and we can’t let it go. Maybe our spouse isn’t having a good day and maybe our words cross and instead of letting it go, we tend to hold on to it. Maybe your boss did or said something and instead of overlooking it, we hold on to it. The Bible says, “Great peace have they which love thy law and nothing shall offend them.” Ps 119:165.
We get offended so easily. Instead of letting it go, we hold on to it. How many of you guys have had your wife hold up this jersey that you use to wear back in high school or in college and tells you that you have to let it go? You tell her no and tell her how long you’ve had it and it really doesn’t look that bad. Then she tells you how terrible it looks on you. There’s things like that in our life, like that old jersey, that we just can’t seem to let go.
I’ve known people during football season whose favorite team is having a losing year or their fantasy football team is flopping and it ruins their day. (Or two or three or their whole week!) They are down in the dumps until next week. Now, if you’re a player on that team or the coach or the owner of that team, I can see how it’ll affect you; but if you’re just a fan, are you kidding me? We have to learn how to let things go.
Here’s the thing that can hinder us if we’re not careful; if we hold onto something we should be letting go, then we aren’t letting “come” into our life (something God wants to bring into our life). Until you let go, you can’t let come. By holding on to the things we shouldn’t be holding on to, we are then not holding on to the things we should be holding on to.
I think the advice to take from this message is: do you have anything in your life right now that you are holding on to? Do you have a grudge, unresolved issues that would be better if you were to just let it go? Maybe you put in for that job promotion and it didn’t happen. Let it go. Maybe you were looking to start a new career and went through the interview process and it didn’t happen. Alright. Learn whatever lesson you need to learn and just let it go.
I want to give you a quote from A.W. Tozer ” In the kingdom of God, the surest way to lose something is to try to protect it and the best way to keep it is to let it go.” That is powerful! Sometimes it seems like a slogan that Christians use but “We got to let go and let God!” I think there’s a deep spiritual truth to that. I think there’s a time when we need to just let go of something and let God come in and work.
I hope this was of some use for you today. Maybe if something happens later in the day, you can think about it and tell yourself to just let it go and not let this fester inside of you. There are more important things that are happening in our lives than being put on pause because of something that occurred that we didn’t enjoy.
As always, if you are in the Lubbock area and don’t already have a home church, come to Trinity Church this weekend! One of the most important messages that I’ve ever preached is going to be this weekend. We are going to be talking about “Partial Victories – How to Avoid the Passivity Trap”. Have an awesome rest of the day. Go out and win for Jesus. Remember, learn the lesson of Letting it Go.
Something on my heart today is resistance you experience anytime you are moving towards a goal in your life. We all should have goals. Set a goal, revive your soul. I was thinking of the importance of setting goals. By doing this, you can revive your soul. We get to where we are just going through the same cycles and end up just going through the motions in our life, in our work, in our relationships, in our marriages, in our friendships and even in our relationship with God. It’s like we put ourselves and our relationships on “autopilot”.
I was thinking of the importance of setting a goal. A goal can re-energize us. For example, you should have a goal related to your health. Maybe you’re not at the place in life where you can exercise 30-45 minutes per day. Sometimes small goals can lead to bigger goals. But you have to start out with a goal. Where do you want your health to be in the next month, 6 months or a year from now? Sometimes it’s as easy as standing in front of the tv and marching in place for five minutes. Do that every day and work up to 10 minutes; then 15 minutes. It’s kind of like the “snowball effect.”
Do you have any financial goals? Do you want to save towards your future? Do you want to begin practicing generosity more often? Would you like to give to the Lord’s work? Sometimes you have to be willing to work small and work your way up.
How about goals in your career? It’s important that we set goals for our personal careers. The Bible talks about this. The Apostle Paul said to press towards the prize of the high calling of Christ Jesus. He urges us to be more like Christ. It’s good to set goals for your career. I had a goal to be in ministry and I thought how I would achieve that. I knew I would have to attend Bible School. Then, I felt I was called to be a pastor so I had to get involved in a good church and begin to serve. I did this in Albuquerque, NM. I volunteered, I was a home fellowship leader and then became a Singles Pastor for 10 years. My next goal (call it a Holy Ambition – I wasn’t trying to climb the ladder but I knew I had to show myself faithful in different stages of my ministry) was to be an Executive Pastor. I knew I was gaining experience so that one day I could be a Sr. Pastor. Low and behold, 15 years year ago this past weekend I became the Sr. Pastor of this great church, Trinity Church here in Lubbock, TX.
Once you’ve achieved your goal, it doesn’t mean you stop setting goals in your career. Do you have any career goals? Maybe it’s to get through high school, college, or your post grad work. Then what’s your goal? What’s the dream career you want to have and once you get there, you have to continue to set goals. Continue to set goals that challenge you.
For those of us who are blessed to be married or those that one day would like to be married, you set that goal to one day, get married. Then in your relationships you have to set goals. This is so you don’t get stagnant and stay in one spot.
Spiritually we should set goals. Remember, I started out saying – “Set a goal, revive your soul.” There’s something about moving towards your goals in life. It’s important to set spiritual goals; to pray every day, to spend time in God’s word consistently. For some of you, a goal to read through the Bible for the very first time. Maybe it’ll take you two years. Most people have reading plans where you can do this in a year. These are important goals.
Once you’ve set a goal and begin to move towards it, there can begin to be this force that starts working against you of resistance. It seems like the closer you get to achieving your goal, the more resistance you will begin to experience. We see this even in the life of Jesus. The closer He got to His Heavenly goal, which was Jeruselum and dying on that cross for us, the greater the spiritual attacks and resistance He had to push up against. So sometimes if you are facing resistance in your relationships, your marriage, at work, in the pursuit of your career, your educational goals, your financial goals, or generosity goals, you’re going to face resistance. There’s going to be some headwinds. That could be a sign you’re getting closer to fulfilling those goals. Keep in mind the old saying, “Persistence wears down resistance.” I want to encourage you, whatever your goals may be, continue to be persistent because it will wear down the resistance. I was thinking about Nehemiah in the Old Testament, the closer he got to finishing his goal, to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem (completed in 56 days!), the greater the resistance. Greater were the attacks from the people, greater the attacks from within, greater the scandals, but he had to push through the resistance.
I want to encourage you, if you are encountering some resistance in the pursuit of your goals, I want to breathe life into those goals and those dreams. That resistance isn’t a bad thing necessarily. It can be what helps strengthen us and develops character. It can actually better prepare us to step into our bigger self when we actually reach those goals. Once we reach those goals, we begin to set new ones.
So, set a goal and revive your soul! Remember, persistence wears down resistance. I pray God’s best over you.