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Soul Detox - Week 4

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Alright, so this is the final week in the series called Soul Detox, based on my new book by that very name, Soul Detox: Clean Living in a Contaminated World. The Title of today's message is The Seduced Soul. And what I want to say as we get into this message is I want to just stop for a moment and tell you that sometimes the messages that we need to hear the most are the most difficult for us to recognize personally. And I think this is going to be one of those messages, which quite honestly, it's a message that's going to be easy to do what I call just to shake off, to brush off, to say, "Okay, that was good and everything, now let's go on with our lives." And what I want to do is just tell you and even more so just really beg you to ask God if there's something significant that He wants to show you that your hearts would be open to hear it. And so, I just even want to pray because I really believe this is a weighty and important message, and I hope that you don't just brush it off and go on. Is that fair enough? God I pray today that Your Spirit would have free reign in our hearts. God, for those who know You I pray that we would be open to your loving conviction to draw us even closer to You. And God, for those that don't yet know You personally God, I pray that this message would rock their souls in a way that would create a divine hunger for You, the only One that truly satisfies our souls. So God, we ask You to do a work in us today. We pray in the name of Jesus. And everybody who agreed said Amen. Just remember you said "Amen", so let's do this alright? Some people have been saying, "Hey, where are the Bookie stories?" Okay, if you're new with us, I've got six kids. My fifth child, second son, his name is Steven but we call him Bookie, and everybody seems to like the Bookie stories. So I'm going to give you a classic Bookie story, okay? When Bookie was about 18 months, maybe two years of age, he had this crazy experience. Bookie loved rattles as a kid, you know like baby rattles. He would just play with those little rattles like crazy! Well, one day I heard him out on our front porch squealing in sheer delight. He was going, "Whoo-hoo!" And then, I looked out the window and he'd kind of jump, he'd go "Whoo-hoo!" And he was going crazy! And so, I came outside and I was like, "Bookie, what's up my man?" And he's like, "Whoo-hoo-hoo!" And he looked down and he said, "My friend, my friend!" Well, when I looked down at his friend, the thing that was bringing him such delight, it was actually a living rattle snake right there on my front porch! And evidently he was overwhelmed with the wiggling and the rattle on the end of this venomous snake's tail! And so, I kind of panicked and dove on him and did a power roll and took Bookie away and prayed for wisdom from on high as to what to do with the rattlesnake on my front porch! And it was so interesting to me how my little child was seduced into loving something that was ultimately very, very dangerous to him. And that's what I want to talk about today, the reality that so many of us are seduced into settling for and even pursuing things that are dangerous to us. And I want to talk about the sin of idolatry. Now, why is this so important? If you missed the last few weeks, kind of our key thought is this, those of you that know it, hey let's just say it aloud: We are not a what everybody? We've learned that: We are not a body with a soul... But instead what are we? ...we are actually a soul with a body. And that may take a minute to sink in but it's rather important. Whenever we die our bodies die, but technically we don't die, we continue to live. We're actually not a body, our body is a house for who we are; we're really a soul, we are a soul with a body. And so, a lot of times we talk about detoxing our bodies, which I think is important, in this time we're talking about having a soul detox. And I want to talk about detoxing from those idols that seduce us so subtly. Scripture says this, the very first of the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:3-4, the very first one God listed is: You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a... What everybody? You shall not make for yourself: idol in the form of anything, nothing at all in heaven above or the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything. Why is it that our souls are so vulnerable to worshiping and being seduced by idols? It's because our souls are created to connect with and worship the One true living God. We are worshipers. Worship isn't something that we do, we are created to worship. And anytime our souls are filled with anything but God, our souls are drawn to and seduced by those counterfeits. And that's why so many of us can have our lives full of so many things and yet, we're empty on the inside because all the things of this world cannot satisfy the soul that was created to be satisfied by the One True God. That's why God said, 'You shall have no other idols, nothing to put before Me.' In fact, I love the way it said in Deuteronomy Four, verse sixteen and following, Scripture says: So do not... What everybody? Say it aloud, all of our churches: So do not corrupt yourselves by making... A what? By making: idol in... What? any form... And then here's a long list and I like this: ...whether a man or a woman, an animal on the ground, a bird in the sky, a small animal that scurries along the ground, or a fish in the deepest sea. And when you look up in the sky and see the sun, the moon, and the stars-all the forces of heaven... Let's say this phrase aloud. What does the Word of God say? Don't be what? ...don't be seduced into worshiping them. Now, that phrase is so important because let's be honest, most of us aren't going to choose to worship an animal that scurries along the ground, or a small animal that scurries along the ground. Most of us just by nature aren't going to go out and go, "Oh, star in the sky, I bow down to worship you!" We're actually seduced into worshiping something that is not the One True God. Because let's be honest, I mean, when I look at the idolatry of the Old Testament, it looks rather pathetically stupid to me. I think, "Okay, they were dumb enough to worship a golden calf, how dumb is that?" Okay, none of us are going to worship a golden calf or some kind of a pole or a little figurine, or the stars. And we're like, "I'd never worship that!" That's just irrelevant in our world today. We don't battle with the sin of idolatry. And the reason we don't recognize it is because we're seduced into it and we cannot even see our idolatry in the mirror. We've been seduced into worshiping a counterfeit. Let me give you an example and hopefully this will make some sense. I had a friend that went to a remote village in India where they had none of the luxuries we have. And he met this lady who was actually sacrificing chickens to some god on this altar. And she's raising the chickens just to sacrifice. And he's like, "Wow, I've read about this, I've heard about this, and now that is the real thing! I mean, there is idolatry at its most obvious place as she's worshiping these chickens to sacrifice them." And he got into a conversation with her and found out that she had actually visited my country, the United States. And he said, "Hey, how did you like it there? What was it like?" And she said, "I hated it with all of my heart! It was the most disgusting place I've ever been. I will never go back to your country ever again!" And he said, "What was wrong with it? What did you not like about it?" She said, "It is the most idolatrous nation on the planet!" She said, "You all worship your stupid idols!" And now wait, wait, wait; dead chicken, altar, blood, sacrifice! "We're not idolatrous!" He said, what do you mean by that?" She said, "Oh, you have so much idolatry everywhere!" She said, "For one thing, you all worship your stomachs!" He said, "What do you mean?" She goes, "Let's just be honest, most of you are overweight! Why? Because food is your god! You talk about it, you dream about it, you're consumed by it, and you've got mega-stores with isles and isles of food to make you fat! Every corner has multiple restaurants all over, and all you do is eat the things that make you fat, idolatry!" She said, "And your whole sports thing!" She said, "It's pathetic how you've got multimillion dollar facilities and then you fat people dress up in someone else's uniforms and paint your faces and go and cheer, as if you could really catch a ball! It's idolatry!" And then she said, "In your homes you have your little altar of worship!" He said, "What do you mean?" She said, "You take this thing and put it on the wall and you plug it in. And then you put all of your chairs around that television and you align your whole house and your family gathers together and you just worship for hours at a time that thing that comes out of the screen." And my friend, and I'm struck even by the irony of this story that she couldn't see her idolatry, and so often we can't see ours. We've been seduced into elevating even what might be good things to become supreme things. And without even knowing it, we lift things above God in our own hearts. We've got a seduced soul. Now, Jesus asked this question, he said, 'You want everything? You want to go get all of these things?' He said: What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? It's time for a little soul detox. Now, what we're going to talk about is some fairly weighty stuff and I want to really kind of go slow and pray. I'm just praying like crazy that the Spirit of God would do something inside of all of us. And let's talk about how do we dethrone the false idols of our soul? How do we dethrone those things that have seduced our souls? The first and most obvious things we need to do are: We need to learn to identify the idols of our souls. What is it that we have elevated to a supreme place and something that really ranks higher than the One True God in our lives? Psalm 24:3-4 asks the question: Who may ascend to the hill of the Lord? In other words, who can be in His presence? ...Who may stand in His holy place? Well, the answer is: He who has clean hands and a pure heart, and one who does not... What? Everybody let's say this phrase aloud: who does not lift up his soul to an idol. One who doesn't lift up his soul to an idol. Now, here's the challenge, what we're going to talk about is very easy to justify and rationalize and bring all sorts of excuses as to why some things aren't idols. And the reality is, we can have some interest in some hobbies that are not idols, but I'm guessing in almost all of our lives, there are these things that have become so important they're actually very, very dangerous to our souls and we don't even realize it. So, what I want to do is give you three different kinds of things you can look at to see, "Am I idolizing something?" And what I would do is I would encourage you to look at how you spend your time, how you spend your money, and what you talk about, your conversation. How do you spend your time? How do you spend your money? What do you talk about, your conversation? And if you find that the vast majority of your time is always kind of focused on the same thing. Or if you look at your bank account and you realize, "Man, I'm spending a lot of money in a certain direction, and not of it or very little goes to God or to helping people, but it's all going toward this thing." Or, if you find yourself in conversation with people and the conversation always drifts in one way, to your favorite hobby or this, because if God's really important to you, let's be honest, your conversation will drift to God. Your conversation always drifts to what is most important to you. And if it's always drifting away from God to something else, that may be worth paying attention to. Now, I don't know what it might be for you. It could be, I think for some people, we literally are seduced into almost worshiping our homes that we live in. And there's nothing wrong with having a nice home, but for some, I mean it's all about the home. I mean, it's like this obsessive research to find the perfect this or that or whatever, and it's we're the yard of the month all day long baby, and proud of it! You know, you're coming over to my house and it's the smell, the look, and everything's there and we're consumed with our homes. For some, it's their image. Man, I'm talking about it's the tan, it's the look, it's the hair, it's the perfect little piercing here, it's the shoes and the purse and the da, da, da; and on and on and on! And it's all about, "What do you think about the way I look?" For some, it's our children, which unquestionably are important, but our whole lives revolve around to the point that we're kind of bowing down and worshiping our children, who should be important; but should not be elevated to the supreme place in our lives, because if we don't know God personally we can never give our children what they truly, truly need to become who they're supposed to be. It could be hobbies, I mean you know, whatever Saturday, whatever never gets in front of your Saturday thing. I mean, you haven't missed this thing in forever, but getting to church is kind of well, if we can. Well for some, I honestly think a lot of people idolize their kind of online identity. It's "How many Twitter followers do you have?" "Man, I've got more!" "Did you see how many people retweeted me? Oh God is so good today!" You know and "I put that on Facebook and I got seven likes!" You know and I mean there are some of you, and I don't want to be rude but, if this is your most common posture, the thing you do with your body most, Pinterest. And you've got four people sitting around you and they're all doing this, it could be you have a dysfunctional relationship with your phone! Alright, it's an idol; it's something that is so important. And it could be any number of things. I mean, it could be you know, our pursuit of success in a career, it could be our pursuit of wealth; you know, it could go on and on. And what I want to do is ask you to look and be really, really honest. In fact, I'm going to ask you to talk about this beyond our time together with your mentor, with your close friends, with your family, with your LifeGroup, and really talk about what is or what am I putting ahead of God? Name your idols. I'll just be real transparent with you. A couple things I idolized for too much of my life; one was, I idolized the opinions of other people, I wanted everybody to like me. When I went into ministry, early on I was like "Hey, am I a good pastor? Did I do good? Did you like that story?" You know, "Am I doing a good job? Do you like me?" Well, God has since beaten that out of me with all of you and I realize that not everybody is going to like me. In fact, if 33% of the people like me, that's probably a pretty high approval rating. And I've also recognized, for me to fulfill my calling, everybody cannot like me and I'm not called to live for the approval of people, but instead for the approval of God. And I had to dethrone that idol in order to do what God called me to do. Another idol for me was the false god of security. Okay, I wanted to have no debt, and then enough money saved up to feel secure. You know, I've got no debt and a thousand dollars in the bank or whatever, and I recognize that I can't have enough paid off and enough in the bank to feel secure because I'm putting my heart in something that cannot satisfy. God has to be my security, not my financial position. And I realize that is idolatry to me. And what I want to do and the reason I ask you to pray, is to really take a very humble and sincere stance before God and say, "God, what is it? Where have I been seduced in my soul and I don't even see it?" Once you identify this could be an idol, "I've been seduced in my soul," Scripture teaches us: 2. To tear down our idols. And what we're going to watch is God doesn't ask us to manage our idols, but to tear them down. He never says, 'tolerate them', He's going to show us to obliterate them. I mean we're talking get rid of anything that is more important to you than the One True God. And that's what God told Gideon in Judges 6:25, when the people were worshiping all of these false gods and bowing down to the idols, God says: ...Tear down your father's altar to Baal, the false god, and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. And there's a sense of righteous anger, it's like, "Roar!" and he just massively rips these things down and says, 'I'm not going to let anything stand between us and God!' And there's this real sense of a divine calling, I'm not going to tolerate it anymore! And you have to get that stance because if you just try to manage it, it will continue to seduce your soul. I had a conversation years ago with a guy who was kind of bragging on his financial blessings. He was saying, "God has blessed me!" And he was throwing out numbers and all of this stuff, and "God has blessed me with all of this money!" I was like, "Man, I bet you just feel a real weight of responsibility to steward that and to give, don't you?" And he said, "No, no, I'm not into giving!" I'm like, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait; back up the tape, you said that God blessed you with a lot of money and you're not into giving?" He said, "No!" I said, "You don't tithe?" He said, "No!" I said, "You don't give offerings?" He said, "No!" He said, "I don't!" I said, "Why not?" He said, "Because I love money!" I go, "Am I hearing this?" I said, "Explain it to me!" He goes, "I love it, I love the way it makes me feel, I love what I can buy." And he said, "I love money!" I said, "Okay, God gave you all of this money?" "Yes!" "Do you know what God's Word says about the love of money?" He said, "Yes!" I said, "What are your thoughts on that?" He said, "I don't care, I just love money!" And as shocked as I was by that conversation, my greatest fear is that that's what a lot of you are going to do today as we talk about this. You're just going to say, "Hey, that's my thing and I don't really care, I just love it!" It could be you know, your kid's sports. I mean, let's go for it baby, and it's all about idolizing your kid's sports activities. And let's be honest, you've got to have your three-year-old on the traveling polo team or he might not make the 2032 Olympics! I mean, let's just be honest. But I mean you're all up into it and your lives revolve around it. And the message you send your kids is that is more important than your relationship with God. "But I don't care!" Because we're all about little Johnny's polo! Or for some it's the career. I mean, it's like you know, "I'm giving my family more by making more and I'm going to be more successful." And "I know that my teenage daughters need me, but you know, I just don't have time right now because I'm building this empire of success and I want more!" And "I don't care that my marriage is screwed up," and "I don't care that my kids are in trouble because I want more" It's my idol and I love it! I just love it! Or for some, I mean, it's this whole pursuit of material things, right? I mean you know, just look at our nation that can't live on what they make, but have to borrow more. Why? Because I want more, it's going to make me happy. The car, the house, the trip, the shoes, the purse, the boat; I don't care that I'm in debt, I want more. And what we don't understand is we've been seduced you see into worshiping a counterfeit; something that never satisfies. And so, we wonder why our lives are so full and our souls are so empty. That's why, when Jesus came across a guy who idolized his money and things, this is what Jesus said to him, Mark 10:21: Jesus looked at this guy and loved him. Do you understand God loves us! When He asks us to tear down our idols, it's not because He doesn't want us to enjoy life or have nice things, He didn't want things to have us. Jesus talked to the guy. The guy said, 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?' He said, 'Follow the commands.' He said, 'I've done all of that.' But Jesus knew he loved his things more. He looked at him and loved him and said: One thing you lack, go sell everything you have and give it to the poor and you'll have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me. Jesus loved him. He loved him enough to tell him, 'You're settling for a counterfeit; your soul has been seduced.' Well, if you read on in the story, the guy was basically like the guy I told you about earlier who said, "I love my money." Scripture says he went away sad because he had great wealth. He loved his idol and he didn't care. He was seduced into settling for a counterfeit. He was seduced. Now, I've heard people say, "Well, Jesus never really meant for you to sell everything. I mean, Jesus would never ask us to do that today." And I believe with all of my heart, Jesus wouldn't ask you to do that unless it was an idol to you. And then, He's going to ask us to tear down anything in our hearts and lives that are more important to us than Him. And I don't know what that looks like for you to tear it down, I don't know. I'll give you an example of what I did when I was a brand new Christian and I realized there was something more important to me than God. I was radically forgiven, completely transformed, but I still had the residue of my past life. And I for years was consumed with kind of my dating life. And I always had a girlfriend and usually one or two spares, just in case you know, I got dumped or something didn't work out. My identity was wrapped up in that and I came to realize, that is more important to me than God. And so, for almost two years I stopped dating in order to put God in the most important place. And I'm not telling you that you go and stop dating. You know, I'm not telling you that. I'm telling you that's what I had to do to dethrone those idols. And I've talked to so many people who have done amazing things, radical things. People who were obsessed with their online personality deleted their Twitter account and their Facebook page because it was just all consuming. They said, "I'm not going to have it." One family realized they weren't going to church because they were always at the games with their season tickets and at their lake house. So they sold their tickets and their lake house. They said, "We're not going to let something be more important to us than God." I know two families that realized they were in front of the television all of the time. And so, they didn't get rid of cable or satellite, they got rid of their televisions. And they said, "We're going to have a family and we're not going to be consumed by this box." I know one guy who was very successful in his business, but was failing as a dad and left his business to go be a basketball coach for sixth-grade kids, so he could have time raising his kids, because he realized he only had one chance. So, I don't know what it would mean for you, but if there is something that is more important in your soul than the One True God, tear the thing down, tear the thing down. And then, what do you do? Well now there's space in your soul. Well, the next thing we do is we: Fill our souls with God. And let me give you three verses. I want you guys to help me out with these verses if you will. Psalm 84:2, my what? Everybody at all of our churches aloud: My soul yearns, even... What? Even: ...faints for the courts of the Lord... It's my soul that yearns for God, it desires God. My heart and flesh cry out for the living God. Psalm 107:9: For God satisfies the... What? He satisfies the: ...longing soul. Who satisfies it? God satisfies it. ...and the hungry soul... God does what? God: ...fills with good things. Psalm 142:1-2: As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my... What? So my: ...soul pants for you, O God. What happens? ...My soul thirsts for the living God. Let's be honest for a moment. The language we read in those verses; most of us, we don't use that language for God do we? Most people don't say: "My soul yearns for God, faints for God, hungers for God!" When do we use that language? We often use it for the things of the world. My soul longs for more things, faints for more things, needs more things; I crave more of what this world has to offer. If we're not using this language for our God, our soul has been poisoned by false idols. Our soul should cry out for the Living God because He is the One who satisfies. Think of it this way, Max Lucado told a story. And I'll tell it my way, because Max is a great guy, but his story was a bit dry for my taste! Once upon a time there was a fish in the ocean. Someone put the fish on the sand and the fish didn't look happy. So they gave the fish a nice fish house and a big wad of cash and asked the question, "Is the fish happy now, what do you think?" The answer is no! What's the fish going to be doing? The fish is going to be doing this thing with his little gill going...right? So they said, "Well, the fish isn't happy. Let's give the fish a Corona and a playfish magazine so the fish can go check out the tail on that fish!" Now, that's the part Max didn't say, I added that part! So, the fish is drinking a beer checking out naked fish. Is the fish happy? No, why? Give the fish anything and everything and the fish is not going to be happy, why? Because the fish was not created for the beach, the fish was created for the water. If your lives are empty, lower your expectations of what you hope to get out of this world. Because you were not created for this world, you were created for the Kingdom of God and His glory and your soul will never be satisfied by anything that this world has to offer. You have no idea how much I pray to God this gets through. Maybe because I know it needs to get through to me because I don't want to get seduced. I don't want to settle, I don't want to settle for anything less than God's best. In fact, some music is going to play in just a moment and I'm going to give you a chance to let your soul detox, to be honest and to look with integrity at anything that you might be elevating to the supreme place before God. And the words that go to this old classic hymn will be words I pray happens in our hearts. And that is: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in his wonderful face. And the things of this earth will grow strangely dim. In the light of His glory and grace. Take a moment to detox your soul in prayer in the presence of God. Now Father, I pray that in Your presence the power of Your Holy Spirit would pierce our hearts with truth. And God, that we would be transformed. As you're praying today at all of our different churches, nobody is looking around. Here's what I want to do, I want to ask you a question and not try to settle all of these problems in a thirty-second prayer; but what I want to do is ask you if you'll make a commitment. And here's my ask, to take what God wants to say to you and extend it beyond just this time, and make a commitment to talk this over with family, with friends, with your mentor, with your LifeGroup, and just be real honest and invite others in to self-examination of anything that we might be putting before God. And then when you do that, what I'm going to do is just ask you to commit, to be real prayerful, what can you do to tear it down and how can you replace what you've been seeking with a true passion for the One True God? I know that's a big ask, but I'm telling you there are big consequences. All of our churches, those of you who would say, "Yes I will, I will take this seriously and I'll move beyond just this time together and I'll talk it over with those I love and prayerfully and seriously take it before God and do what God leads me to do." Would you lift up your hands right now if you'll make that commitment? God, I thank you so much for those who truly desire to put you ahead of the things that seduce our souls. And God, for those who aren't there yet, I pray God that the emptiness of the things of this world would overwhelm them so that they would truly know the beauty of you filling our soul with the good things God. As you keep praying today at all of our different churches, I know so many of you if you're really honest right now, you'd have to say, "My life is full of so many things and my soul is so empty." Why is that? We're seduced into thinking that all of the meaning and purpose in life is going to come while we are a fish on the beach, but we weren't created for the beach, we were created for the ocean, we were created for the Kingdom of God. And the only way that we can really be full is to deal with integrity with the greatest problem that we have and that is our sin nature, our sin nature that separates us from a Holy God and leads us toward pursuing things that are not of God. The good news is God loves us and in His love He sent Jesus who was without sin to become sin for us, to die on the cross and to be raised again so that anyone that calls on His name will be saved, be transformed, will be changed. At all of our churches, there are many of you, you recognize you are empty and you need His filling, you're a sinner and you need His saving. You're lost and you need to be found, you're searching and you know He's the One you're searching for. Today, I challenge you, call on His name, turn from your sin, repent. Call on the name of Jesus, and when you do, you will be changed, you will be new, and all your sins will be forgiven. And that's why you're here today. You know it, you can sense it. Today is the day of your salvation! All of our churches say, "Yes, forgive me and make me new. I need you, I'm empty, would you fill me? Save me from my sins!" Lift your hands high right now all over the places, lift them up and say, "Yes, that's my prayer!" Up here and up here, God bless you guys. Over here, and both of you here together, praise God for you! Over here, both of you in this section right back here toward the back, God bless you guys! Up here, somebody ought to cheer! Both of you right over here are saying, "Yes!" God bless you guys! And over here as well. Church Online, you click right below me. Right back over here in this section, others today say, "Yes, me too! Jesus, I call on You!" Would you all pray aloud with those around you? Pray Heavenly Father, forgive me of my sins and make me new. I believe Jesus died for me and He rose so I could live for You. Fill me with Your Spirit so I could serve you with the rest of my life. Thank you for new life, I give you mine. In Jesus' name I pray. Somebody cheer and worship the One True God who makes things new through Jesus Christ!

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Duration: 37 minutes and 22 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
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Posted by: lifechurchopen on May 22, 2012

Soul Detox - Week 4 - Craig Groeschel -

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