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5 Easy Steps to Wreck Your Life - Week 3

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Fill up your life with drugs and booze. ♫ Keep coming back when they call you, and in the end you'll lose all that matters to you. ♫ Five easy steps to make an addict of you. ♫ Yeehaw!! Have you ever noticed that nobody ever wakes up one day and says something like... "Man, my life is going so great, I'm just bored with that. I am sick and tired of being blessed by God and sick and tired of having this great marriage and I'm really tired of being a great parent and having this ministry where I make a tremendous difference. So today, I think I am going to just jack my life up! Perhaps, maybe I can take a drink of alcohol, and one day if I am lucky, I can become so addicted to the substance in this can or bottle, that it could cost me my marriage... ho, ho, ho, that would be so great! Or, maybe it could cost me my job or so much more!" Nobody ever does that. Nobody ever goes through life and says, "You know, I think I'm going to smoke a little ciggy, and if I'm lucky, if I can work my way up to maybe 1 1/2-2-packs-a-day, by the time I am 58, I can get lung cancer!" Ho, ho, ho, I can feel the excitement! "And, it will be so bad that I will be dead by the age of 60, because everybody knows I don't want to watch my grandkids grow up!" Nobody does that. Nobody ever says, "Hey, I think I will make this little bet, just for fun; I mean, purely entertainment and once they win go, "Whoa, that was great; I can bet and get more." And, in the pursuit of more, all of a sudden this gambling addiction takes over and one day, those who only want more, end up losing everything that ever mattered to them. Nobody ever sets out and says, "Hmm, that sounds like a good plan." Yet, people end up there all of the time. I want to start today with scripture. The Apostle Paul, he said this to the believers in Corinth; it is recorded in 1 Corinthians 6:12 and he says something, repeats himself, and then sends us a zinger. He says this, he says, "Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial." He says it again, "Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be..." what? Could you at all of our locations, could you help me out? He said, "But I will not be mastered by anything." Now, the Greek word that is translated as mastered is the word, ‘exousiazo' (ex-oo-see-ad'-zo) and this word means to be controlled by, or enslaved. A very little translation means, is under the power of something, to be controlled by, or enslaved, to be under the power of something else. You see the reality is, when someone is addicted, or mastered, or in bondage, they can intellectually know, "I shouldn't be doing this," but because they are under the power of something else, this something else continues to control and dominate them. For example, someone may have a problem with overeating, and intellectually they can say, "This is not good, this is bad for my body, I shouldn't do this," right as they take more bites; why? They are under the power of something else. Someone who overspends can be at the mall writing a check saying, "I know this is going to bounce, I shouldn't do this, I'm in a bunch of debt," and go ahead and hand the check over, knowing the whole time, "I shouldn't do this!" Why? They are under the power of something else. Someone can be a workaholic, and intellectually say, "I need to get home, my family needs me, this is too much, I shouldn't be doing this!" and the whole time she is saying this, she continues to work; why? We are ‘mastered.' We are slaves to something else; we are under the power of something. The question that I want to pose to you today is this, "What has ‘mastered' you?" And, to really experience the power of what I believe God wants to say to all of us, His church; I want to challenge you to put something in that blank. Something that is bigger than you, something that you think that you could quit at anytime, but you haven't quit yet, something that has control or a dominating influence in your life. I will ask it again, what has ‘mastered' you? [Video, Various Voices] "I'm addicted to porn, I'm consumed by it; but, I hate it!" "After my surgery, I started taking pain medication; now, I can't function without it." "I started smoking pot, and then coke, and now I'm doing meth; I just need to get through the day." "My wife hates that I dip all of the time. I hate to go behind her back; but, I just can't quit." "For some reason, I can't stop checking my email, facebook, or twitter; if I go 30 minutes without checking it, I start to panic." "It started with a few small bets; now, it's out of control. I'm so upside down I don't know what to do. Maybe I can bet my way out of this one." "Computer games make me feel alive, I play at least 8 hours a day, maybe more." [Craig Groeschel] So again I would ask, "What has ‘mastered' you?" It could be some of those things we just looked at, it could be other things that most people would say are really not that big of a deal; but, yet you are under the control, under the power of something else. I know a lot of people who are ‘mastered' by caffeine. Sounds harmless, but yet you can't start the day without a shot of whatever caffeine you need; "I need this, I'm under the ‘power' of it." Maybe for you it's smoking. Somebody asked me one time, they said, "Craig do you think that smoking cigarettes will send me to hell?" Absolutely not! It will just make you ‘smell' like hell, but it's not going to send you there, I mean it's just my deal, you know. It could be something that really looks good. For example, I know a lot of people that are truly mastered by the idea of their appearance, they are obsessed with it, it is controlling. You know, people have to work out not one time a day, but literally 2 times a day. They miss a single work out and they go, "Oh no! I'm fat!" I'm like, "Dude, you've got like .2% body fat, you are not fat! In their minds they are. Or, it could be their outward appearance. I know people that just tan... and tan... and tan... and tan; like, "I'm so pale!" I'm like, "You look like a suitcase, okay?" But in their mind, it is like, "I'm not quite there yet!" And before long, there is something else that controls us; addictions. What I want to do today is make a slightly controversial statement; but, I believe in most cases it's true. When we are talking about the outward visible addiction, whatever it is; that is not necessarily the root problem, that's the symptom. The root of the problem in most cases in our lives is idolatry. We are allowing something besides God to control us. We have a false God that we feel like we need to function. Without this, I don't feel alive. In fact, there is a really beautiful portion of scripture in the Old Testament that I want to show you for a moment. Many scholars believe that this is a poetic look at addictions. I will explain the context. It is in Isaiah 44. The context is; you have got a guy that was a carpenter and he cut down some trees and he took the wood from the trees, which is a neutral object and he did some good things with it. He made a fire, he cooked some, he kept himself warm; a neutral object. Then he took a neutral object and suddenly, he made an idol out of it and he started to worship it; which is what a lot of us do. Food's not bad but for some, food becomes a god. Entertainment is not bad, but for some entertainment becomes a god. So, something neutral all of a sudden takes over. Here's how it goes; Isaiah 44:14: "The carpenter, what he does, he cuts down some cedars or perhaps took a cypress or an oak." Verse 15: "Some of it, he takes and warms himself, he kindles a fire and bakes bread; but, he also fashions a god and worships it. He makes an idol and bows down to it and he prays to it and he says, ‘Save me, you are my god.'" Now, we can look at that and say, "Is this dude stupid, or what?" I mean, he's got a tree and he's going, "Save me! You're my god!" And yet, so many of us act in just the same way. There is something in a bottle, "Save me, I can't get through the day without you!" There is a little pill; "I need this, save me, oh my god!" The food; "Save me!" And we take something that could be neutral, or even often good, but we make it an idol; we bow down and we worship it, can't do life without this. It goes on to say verse 18, "Their eyes are plastered over so they cannot see." ‘I don't see a problem with this; uh, what is the problem here?' "And their minds are closed so they cannot understand." ‘You are telling me I have a problem? Who are you? I don't have a problem, get out of my, I don't have a problem! What are you talking about?' Verse 19; "No one stops to think, ‘Half of it I use for fuel; shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?' He feeds on ashes, a diluted heart misleads him, he cannot save himself or say, is not this thing in my right hand a lie? Is this thing not promising something that is not real or valid?'" Idolatry; here is the key statement, I want you to write this down and when you have time meditate on it and unpack how this plays out in your life. In most of our addictions, here is what's going on, here is what we are doing; we are seeking to find what only God can provide in something besides God Himself. Let's look at that again and unpack it. What are we doing? We are seeking to find what only God can provide in something besides God Himself. How might that play out? You are stressed baby, a lot going on; "the economy, my job, oh my goodness... I need peace, I need to relax." So, what do you do? Well, [sighs] "this helps me relax, this brings me peace." What do you do? You are seeking what God wants to provide. The author of peace, who wants to give you a peace that surpasses all understanding and you are seeking to find what God provides in something besides God himself. Let's say you don't feel alive unless you are shopping, okay? "Oh, I feel alive when I'm shopping!" So, what do you do? You go out and you shop and you are seeking to provide what God wants to provide. God, the Author of life, wants to make you feel alive. "Well, when someone comments on my blog, I feel like I have meaning! [Laughing] has anyone commented?" What are you doing? You are trying to get meaning from a stupid comment on a blog, when the Author of creation is the One who wants to give you meaning and fulfillment in life. We are seeking to find what only God can provide in anything besides God Himself; idolatry. So, for those of you that are not under the master of anything but Christ Himself, if you ever wake up one day and you are going, "Dude, this is just too old, I'm tired of being blessed, I'm tired of this meaningful life; I mean, I have got such a great ministry to people, I am sick of it! My kids are all great and my marriage is going well and life is just moving on this positive trajectory, I think I want to mess things up. I think I want to become a slave to something else." If you ever want to do that, pull out these notes; I am going to give you Five Easy Steps to Become an Addict. Are you ready? Step Number 1: These are guaranteed. The first thing I want to encourage you to do when you start to become addicted to something, number 1 is don't admit you have a problem. No matter what, never ever, ever, ever admit that you have a problem. Jeremiah 3:13 says, God says; "Only acknowledge your guilt." Don't do that!! God says, "Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God" don't do that! "And committed adultery against him by worshiping idols," by trying to find some need out of something besides God Himself; don't ever do that! What I want you to do is tell yourself you can quit at any time, even though you never have before; but, just make yourself think that! This isn't a big deal, I can quit at any time. Then, when everybody who loves you and cares for you starts to tell you that you have a problem, shut them up! Shut them out! Don't you ever believe that those who care for you the most, can be objective at all about your life; you know better! If 20 people who love you tell you that you have a problem, just tell yourself they are all wrong and you alone are right! Never ever admit that you have a problem. Step Number 2: This is so important; I want to encourage you to gratify your fleshly desires. When your body wants something baby, give in every time! Galatians 5:16-18, very important teaching, Paul says, "So I say, live by the spirit," okay, don't do that; that is stupid, okay? "Live by the spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful, your fleshly nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." In other words for those of you that are believers, you have spiritually been born again; therefore, your spirit can communicate with God and God can lead you on the spirit-filled, spirit-led, spirit-directed life. But there is going to be a war. God is going to lead you some way, and your body is going to say, "No, I want this!" There is going to be a war! What you have to do is train your body that it always gets what it wants; just like a spoiled child. Your body wants to look at something, look at it! Your body wants to smoke something, smoke it! Your body wants to buy something, buy it! Your body wants to eat something; whatever your body wants, your body gets! Train yourself to always gratify that fleshly nature. So, it's important to make sure you have an abundance of whatever you are addicted to; don't ever cut your supply off. If you like to look at porn, for goodness sakes, don't block your computer or something stupid like that. If you like dope, make sure you've got your friends who can get it for you. Don't you dare go hang out with other friends! You've got to keep your supply open, because you are always going to train your body, you get whatever you want! Step Number 3: Make sure you rationalize your behavior and make plenty of excuses. Luke 14 shows a great example of this when Jesus told a parable and said; "This guy was inviting people to the banquet, but they all," scripture says, "began to make excuses. The first says, ‘I just bought a field and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' Another said, ‘I just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' So, another said, ‘I just got married, so I can't come. Please excuse me'." You need to do this! Be creative! Whatever rationalization works for you, go with it! "Well I'm just a victim, if you saw the way I was raised you would do this to. Well, this isn't that bad! I mean, look at what everyone else does; this is just my one little thing, you know? And besides, I deserve this, I mean this keeps me from doing something worse and I can quit at any time!" Whatever you do baby, rationalize it; and continue to make excuses! Step Number 4: I want to encourage you to always keep your addiction a secret! Don't let other people know! Proverbs 28:13 says, "He who conceals his sin doesn't prosper." That is what you want, you don't want to prosper! "But whoever confesses and renounces them, finds mercy." That's stupid! Okay? Sin grows best in the dark; keep it in the dark! Don't you dare let other Christians know about it. Christians, who will do stupid stuff like; encourage you in the Lord, and lift you up in prayer! I mean, how annoying is that? You can't let people hold you accountable and love you and support you! You've already got your support in your thing! That's your strength! That's what you need! You don't need other people being strength for you! Keep it a secret. Step Number 5: This is so important. Depend on your own power, never Gods! Depend on your own power, never Gods! Can we pause for a moment? Because, that was tough for me to say all that stuff. I mean, being sarcastic and saying the opposite someone said, "Is it really hard to say the opposite of what you mean?" Yes! You have no idea how much concentration it takes! I mean, it is so awkward to say the exact opposite of what I believe. But yet, the reason I think this is an effective means of communication is because this is so exactly how so many people live. To hear it in the sarcasm, it's almost like putting your finger nails against the chalkboard [noise of nails on chalkboard]; if you like that, you are going to hell, I just want you to know that, you are going to hell! That is wrong baby, wrong! That's kind of what this is like, it's just like oh, it's difficult to hear; and yet, this is the way so many people live. So, I just have to stop, I can't be sarcastic anymore. I have got to read this verse in authentic truth, okay? 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; this is what Paul said and this is what we have to get, God's Power; "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons that we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, our weapons," what are they? Prayer and fasting, the Word of God, the shield of faith, praying in the spirit, whatever, these are spiritual weapons. "On the contrary," our weapons, "they have divine power," the Greek word is ‘dunamis' (doo'-nam-is); we get our word ‘dynamite' from this, they have explosive power. "The weapons of God, they have divine power to demolish" what? "To demolish strongholds." Again, the Greek word is the word ‘ochuroma' (okh-oo'-ro-mah). It means a prisoner locked by deception. The weapons of God, they have the explosive, miraculous power to demolish, or to tear down the false beliefs that hold us in bondage. We are a slave to whatever has ‘mastered' us. In our minds, we believe this is the answer, when this is a lie. God's weapons have the power to explode those lies. Verse 5, so what do we do? "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." Whenever the voice says, "Don't admit that you have a problem," no, no, no, instead we admit; "I am weak, I am vulnerable, and when I am weak, scripture says, "Christ's strength is made perfect in my weakness." We grab the lie, we replace it with truth. Whenever our body says, "Gratify me, gratify the flesh!" We say, "No, no, no, no; I have crucified the flesh, I am crucified with Christ I no longer live, it is Christ who lives in me. By faith I put to death all the desires of my earthly nature." Whenever the excuse monster comes up, "Well, that is just the way you are, you can't ever overcome that, you can never change." "No, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength; I am an overcomer by the blood of the lamb and by the words of his testimony." We will keep it a secret; don't tell anybody that, no, no, no, no! Whoever confesses their sins and renounces them finds mercy; whoever hides them does not prosper. James; "If I confess my sins one-to-another and pray for each other, I may be healed." I take the lie and make it obedient to the truth of Christ. You can overcome this. The sad thing is, the reality is, based on my experience, most of you won't; because you'll continue to do the Five Easy Steps. I want to tell you just up front about what's mastered me. What I am about to tell you, it will be real easy for you to write this off and go, "okay yeah Groeschel," it's kind of like the guy in the interview; you say, "What's your weakness?" He says, "Well my weakness is that I just care too much about my job," so, it's going to sound like that to you. But, I want you to know that what I am about to tell you has ‘mastered' me and this is to me as dangerous as cocaine, it's as dangerous as pornography, it's as dangerous as being a kleptomaniac, I mean this is what's ‘mastered' me. Although it's socially acceptable, and often even applauded by society, I want you to know its cost me so much that I have been through two significant rounds of counseling, I've visited medical doctors, and I am fighting even to this day to stay clean from this foreign master. That is, I am a classic die-hard workaholic. My addiction, what I have found through lots of work, is that truly I am addicted to adrenalin. What I do, I preach often, I create, produce, conquer and take over, blah, blah, blah. So, the church world is the perfect place to just punch, go, not stop; and my body has a very difficult time coming down and relaxing, extremely difficult time. Now, I have had what I call seasons of sobriety, where I've done well; and I have had about an 18 month fairly healthy season. Then, like an alcoholic binge is, sometimes I just binge and lose control and I will tell you how bad this is and how vulnerable I am. In the summer time, my family takes two weeks off; it's the most important time to our family all year long. I look forward to it like nothing else and we go to the mountains. This time, I decided for some reason to start on a book project that I have been wanting to do on the series, Practical Atheist; when you believe in God, but you live as if He doesn't exist. I've felt very passionate that God wants me to write that book. So, I just started. A normal book is 45,000 to 50,000 words; it takes most people two years to write. The first six days of my vacation, I wrote about 30,000 words. Okay? On my vacation, I didn't totally neglect the family, what happened is I'd put the kids to bed at 9:00, I'd crack open the laptop, I'd work until 2:00 in the morning, I'd get in bed until 4:00 a.m., I'd get up at 4:00 and I would work until 8:00 a.m. When they are napping, I'm working and it just overtook me, just overtook me. Okay, on the sixth day, Amy came in and she said, "You are in your sickness again and you have got a choice, you can either put your laptop down and you can come and have the vacation with your family, or we are going to do it without you; and it's your choice." When she said it, it's like the lights came on. That is how much I've been ‘mastered' by something. Now, here's the difficult part for me to tell you and here's what you are going to have to do to overcome this. You have got to get to the root of it. We are trying to find something besides God to validate and help us live. Here's my very open confession: What I have been trying to do, the root of the problem is; I have been trying to prove my worth by how I perform and what I produce, rather than having my worth validated in Christ alone in my life. That is really hard for me to admit, but when I can admit that then, Christ's grace is enough to help me through. His grace is enough. For me, let me tell you, that is my master and it is very dangerous. I am very aware, right now I am on a three week stretch with no days off, it's planned, but it's there and it feeds me and it starts to bring me in. So, for me the grace of God is not some pill that I took and now it made me okay. It's more like a daily ointment that is enough for today. His grace is enough for today and you can have that as well, if you will find what you are looking for in Christ and not in something else. Do what I call the David and Goliath. David looked up at this giant, everybody else said; "He's too big to beat!" David looked up and said, "No, I think he's too big to miss!" He looked at the giant, he looked at God; giant, God, giant, God. Looked at God, looked at the giant; said, "Who are you to come against the armies of the Living God? Who are you?" And he took him down. Here's what you need to do: You need to look at what has ‘mastered' you and look at God. Look at what has ‘mastered' you and look at God. Look at what has ‘mastered' you and say, "What are you to come against my God? What do you have that my God doesn't have?" Look at the bottle, look at the pill, look at the food, look at the lustful image, look at the money, look at the computer, the Facebook, the Twitter; look at it and say, "What do you have that my God can't give me? Who are you to come against the armies of the living God? No more! I will not settle for a cheap pathetic imitation of the real thing; God and God alone will be my master! Whatever I need I get from Him, and I will not let an imitation promise me something that is not real. Who are you to come against the armies of the Living God?" So, here's your deal, you've got a choice; you can continue in your dysfunctional and sinful and idolatrous behavior, which is what many of you will do. Or, you can take the next, very difficult step. I don't know what that's going to be for you. Your campus pastor will tell you some different things now, it could be going public, confessing, confessing to your LifeGroup, confessing to your campus pastor, it could be getting counseling, could be therapy; I don't know what it is. But, you are going to know what it is, it's going to be the thing you don't want to do. And you do it, and you look at that giant and you say, "What are you to control my life? I will not be controlled by anything but God; He alone meets every need that I have." All of our campuses praying; God, we ask that you would do what only you can do. God, I am so aware that my words just don't do much; but, I am so aware that the power of your Holy Spirit does, and so I ask you to work, God. At all of our campuses, there are some of you right now, you are aware that there is something that is ‘mastering' you. It may be something that society frowns on, or maybe something that most would say is no big deal; but, at the root of it, you are trying to get something that God wants to provide from something besides God Himself. It is idolatry, it is a sin and it is time to repent. After you repent, there is a battle that must be won. God is the one who is going to bring you the victory. At all of our locations I just want to ask just very soberly, how many of you would say that there is something ‘mastering' me and I would like God to defeat that? Would you lift your hands right now, lift them and I want you to leave them up for a moment; just kind of like you are reaching toward God. Let it be uncomfortable for just a moment, just lift them up. Now, what I want to do is say, there are others of you right now that you know your hand should be lifted, but you are afraid of what it's going to mean, you are afraid of what somebody is going to know, you are afraid of what you are going to have to do. I want to give you one more chance before God, because I know God is watching and God cares. I am going to give you one more chance to join those today with faith who want to defeat it, go ahead and lift your hand right now, go ahead and left it up. Praise God for you guys. God, I pray for those today who need you, just as I do. God, I acknowledge, I am so weak and God, I am always looking for the magic answer and the one pill that cures it all; but God, I thank you for some of us; it will simply be a daily grace, that your grace is enough. I pray God now that your Holy Spirit would speak to each person about what their next step would be. God, I pray that you would give their pastors wisdom as they explain some different steps today. God, I know one step is unquestionably repentance before you. We are declaring war on the sin that has been destroying us and we repent God and ask for forgiveness. God, I know another step is always confession before your people; here is what is hurting me, here is what is keeping me from the fullness of life in Christ. God, I pray that in our LifeGroups and in our families, that we would repent and say I'm sorry that this has been hurting you and that we would find freedom and healing in Christ. Then God, I pray that they would continue to take next step after next step, after next step toward wholeness and life in Christ. God, forgive us for trying to find meaning in anything but you alone. We don't want to be slaves to anything except slave to the Lordship of Your Son, Jesus Christ. As you keep praying today at all of our campuses; let me just tell you that here is a root problem, and without Christ, we will continue to battle with this root problem. The root problem is sin, all of us, we are sinners by nature. You never have to set a kid down and say, "Okay, we are going to have sin lessons now, okay, let me teach you to be selfish!" No, a kid just knows how because we are bent towards sin. That is why God, in His mercy, He sent His Son Jesus to deal will the human condition to sin. Jesus was born of a virgin, He did not inherit sin. He lived a totally clean life before God and then His worst nightmare; He became sin for us on a cross, He became sin and He died and He rose again, so that we could be cleansed and forgiven of our sins. I will tell you, I can remember growing up, I grew up in church, I heard the story of Jesus; it never made sense. I always thought well, I am not good enough, could I work to be good enough, I feel so guilty for my sins. Many of you now, you feel that way, "I've done so many things wrong." You need to experience the freedom of healing and forgiveness in Christ. "If you confess your sins," scripture says, "God is faithful and just, He will forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness." Many of you, you've tried to change and be better. You can't, you will never be able to do it on your own. You need the power of the risen Christ. You are trying to find meaning in everything in the world but Christ alone. You can keep on searching; you will never find it until you wholly surrender unto Christ. At all of our campuses, there are those of you, that is why you are here today; today is the day of your salvation. Jesus heal me, forgive me, fill me, transform me; I don't want to be my own, I surrender my life to you. Jesus, today I am trusting you to be my Savior and Lord. If that is you today, would you lift up your hands high right now? All of our campuses just lift your hands up high and say, "That's me." Others of you who would say, "Me too." Right back over here as well and over here in this section, God Bless you! Others of you who would say, "Me too, count me in!" Just lift up your hands and say, "Yes, Jesus I surrender to you, take all of my life!" At other campuses, those of you who would stand up, "That is my prayer," lift up your hands, and at church online just click right below me right now. Others of you, you are leaning into it; you are thinking, maybe, maybe, let's do it! "Jesus take my life, I need a Savior, I give my life to you." Would you all pray together at all of our campuses, just everybody aloud just pray; "Heavenly Father, I admit I am a sinner and I need a Savior. Jesus, forgive me for all of my sins, make me new, my life is not my own, it now belongs to you. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, so I can serve you for the rest of my life. Thank you for new life, and now you have mine, in Jesus name, I pray. Campus pastors, you guys take over as all of our campuses celebrate and worship the goodness of God!

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Duration: 35 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on Jul 7, 2010

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