Message Series: Emotionally Healthy Discipleship – Be Before You Do! – Sermon – Pastor Marlee Page – 10 October 2021

WELCOME

Good morning First Baptist. We welcome you to worship this morning. Be sure to remember your brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the week as you pray for them, and as the Holy Spirit brings their faces to your mind. Be sure to also connect with them in the ways that are possible. And if you have any questions or would like to talk to someone, please don’t hesitate to contact the church through the church telephone and leave a message. (519-733-4144)

Call to Worship

God’s word is filled with the many reasons we should be thankful:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that comes from heaven: (Eph 1)
who knew you and chose you before the world began; (I Pet 1, Eph 1)
who loves you so much that he calls you his own children; (I Jn 3)
who has brought you from darkness into light
and filled you with his glorious power; (Col 1)
who has prepared an inheritance for you
that will never spoil or fade; (I Pet 1)
who encourages and strengthens you in every good deed and word; (2 Thess 2)
who comforts you in your troubles so that you can comfort others. (2 Cor 1)
This is our God,
the ultimate source of all things,
and the One for whom we live. (I Cor 8)
We truly have much to be thankful for!

Welcome to Worship!

Songs

Prayer

CONFESSION/ASSURANCE OF PARDON

Gracious Father, in this season of thanksgiving, remind us of the truth that every good and perfect gift comes from You.
God, we admit that even in our moment of gratitude, we fall short.
We feel thankful for the gifts without always acknowledging the Giver.
We praise the beautiful creation around us without drawing close to the Creator.

We sing about our salvation without glorifying You – our Savior. Forgive us. Remind us, oh God, that any good we experience is only a glimpse of Your character.

That any blessing is only a foretaste of what You have in store for those who put their hope in You. And that even our lives– the very breath in our lungs– is only there because of Your deep love for us. God, reveal Yourself to us in every good gift, and give us eyes to see You in them. In Christ’s holy Name we pray. Amen

ASSURANCE OF PARDON

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

Emotional Healthy Discipleship Be Before You Do!

Scripture:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

— Ephesians 5:1-2

So last week, we began our new series, tracking with Pete Scazzero and his latest book in the Emotionally Healthy Series – EHD – where in this work of his he poses to us as Jesus followers and those on the path of true discipleship. Scazzero asks:

What are the beneath-the-surface failures that undermine deep discipleship and keep people from becoming spiritually mature?

What is it that so many of us have been taught and modelled that has caused us not to mature to the extent that we could?

Last week we agreed that before we could work at addressing any of these underlying issues that might create barriers for us in our Discipleship journey, we needed to identify them. And so, we shared that some of the most prevalent barriers to Discipleship today would include these three:

Three barriers

  1. We tolerate emotional immaturity.
  2. We emphasize doing for God over being with God.
  3. We define success wrongly.

Each of these we said can in some cases cause us to not be as successful as we might be in our striving to live out our calling as Disciples of Jesus.

Let’s also recall that we said a good definition for success in this area would be something like this:

Success, according to Scripture, is becoming the person God calls you to become, and doing what God calls you to do–in his way, and according to his timetable.

Well, what I’d like to focus in on with you this morning is this portion, of this definition we shared: becoming the person God calls you to become.

Last week I said to you that one of the reasons we have issues around tolerating emotional immaturity is because we have been taught over time to distrust the emotional sides of our being.

Some feel that these emotions actually impede the spiritual side of our being.

We also said that we feel this was incorrect teaching as God made us as His creation, in His image and we know through the sending of His Son that emotions and spirituality are part of His intended order for us as His children. We just need to accept and even embrace that truth.

Question

If we are to embrace our emotions rather than suppress them, what might be the benefits of an Emotional fullness in our lives as Jesus followers?

In other words, if I accept that my emotions are a part of God’s plan for my life and that embracing and understanding them can actually provide a Spiritual fullness then there is real value in getting my ‘being’ right with God before I focus on any concept of my ‘doing’ for God.

That’s the title of the message this morning: “Be Before You Do For God.”

If you look at your sermon notes, you’ll see that Scazzero contrasts these concepts of Emotional Fullness and Spiritual Fullness:

“Emotional fullness shows itself in disciples and leaders as a high level of awareness of their feelings, weaknesses and limits, how their past impacts their present, and how others experience them. Spiritual fullness shows up as a healthy balance between being with God and doing for God.”

As opposed to having to choose one over the other. When you actually look at a biblical fullness of our lives as a combination of the Emotional and the Spiritual, we find a more complete outcome as Disciples:

A person who practices “being” before “doing” operates from a place of emotional and spiritual fullness, deeply aware of themselves and others. As a result, their being with God is sufficient to sustain their doing for God.

And this is really important for us in our sanctifying journey of Discipleship.

Consider this: You cannot give what you do not possess.

When we are operating out of a position of Spiritual ‘emptiness’ we have less and less to offer God or others. If we are lacking in something, how can we possibly give or share it with others?  We have nothing to give.

What you do is important, but who you are is even more important.

God loves when we ‘do’ for Him (and the Kingdom) but He loves it more when our priority is to ‘be’ with Him.  When we are so busy doing, it leaves little room to be present with Him.

The state you are in is the state you give to others.

Our level of emotional and spiritual fullness has a direct impact on those around us. When we are worn out and feeling it, it makes it very difficult to share the wonders and blessings of Jesus’ amazing love to others.

Challenge

Scazerro says:

“The core challenge that makes being before doing so difficult is that it forces us to come face-to-face with our false self.”

And for far too many of us, our false self is the self that the world tells us or even we ourselves tell ourselves we are.

Our false self says that we aren’t good enough, we’re different or not right or maybe that we aren’t valued and that we are unworthy.

If that happens to be the case for any of you here or any of you watching online this morning let’s clear some things up right now:

You are good enough!! God loves you apart from your performance.

Romans 5:8

I told you a few weeks ago about my favourite quote from Bob Goff:

“God has never looked in YOUR mirror and wished He saw someone else!”

THIS IS TRUE!

For so many of us the previous statements are the ongoing narratives in our heads. We tell ourselves that we are lacking is any number of ways for a multitude of reasons… to be very honest and transparent… this is a narrative in my head very often.  But this is NOT God’s narrative for any of us! 

You are different and your uniqueness is on purpose and it’s beautiful because you are fearfully and wonderfully made! Psalm 139

You are tremendously valuable. YES, you! Each one of you have great worth.

You are valuable. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

And you are worthy.

Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

—Luke 12:7

When we let our false self come to the surface rather than living in the spiritual fullness that God wants for us, then we are stuck having to deal with the ugly side of ourselves; jealousy, possessiveness, manipulation, self-promotion, and an unhealthy need to distinguish ourselves from others.

These are the barriers that make being before doing so difficult and keeps us from achieving the Christlikeness that we want and truly desire.

You know what? It doesn’t have to be that difficult.

So, what are some ways we might be able to achieve this combining of the emotions and Spirit to experience the spiritual fullness that God desires for us?

In your sermon notes this week, in the Going Deeper section you will find an exercise about Silence and Solitude. There is a link to a video to help guide you through this too.

Learning to be in silence takes time but it can be great place to hear God’s whisper and I also think it can be a great place to actually slow down and listen to ourselves and hear the inner narrative that may be going on that we haven’t realized was guiding and directing us.

The world and the doing can be a great distraction for us and sometimes we never take the opportunity to hear what we are saying to ourselves. This place may also be a great time to bring in your stuck list and “I need” statements from last week too. For me, I use the Bible app on my phone that gives me the “Verse of the Day”. That’s what I take to Him in this time of being with Him.

Take time to actually commune and connect with Jesus.

          Be Intentional about this – commit!

Let’s consider the godly counsel of the apostle Paul.

“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”

— Ephesians 5:29

The apostle commends those who feed and care for their bodies; he doesn’t denounce them. And that’s nothing but good self-care! And self-care is important!

We see this when Paul tells his young protégé Timothy to “no longer drink only water but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments” (1 Timothy 5:23).

It’s as if Paul said, “Timothy, I want you take better care of yourself. I’m concerned for your health, and I think you can do some things to avoid getting sick so often. It concerns me that your stomach causes you so many problems. Don’t ignore it or try to ‘tough it out.’ How can you be of any use to others if you’re constantly feeling ill? So, let’s make some changes in your diet, OK?”

It’s only when you allow your cup to be filled that you can fill the cup of others. If you have nothing in your cup, you can’t give anything away.

In this example, Paul is talking to Timothy about his diet, which we shouldn’t be neglecting, but that example can be adaptable to all different areas of our life. Self-care keeps us healthy both spiritually and emotionally.  When we take time to slow down, eat right, be with people who care for us and be very intentional about our ‘being’ with God, then we are being the people He called us to be.

Again, this can seem a bit overwhelming, and I understand that but when we seek this Spiritual fullness, that God desires for us, The Holy Spirit, whom God sent is there with us to guide us, support us and advocate for us.

In Zephaniah 3:17, it says…

The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

These are the words that a Prophet spoke to Israel to make sure they knew that God desired restoration, renewal & growth in their relationship and that’s what He wants for you too.

The Mystic, Saint Teresa of Avila wrote:

HE DESIRED ME SO I CAME

He desired me so I came close.
No one can ever be near God unless He has
prepared a bed for you.
A thousand souls hear his call every second,
but most every one then looks into their life’s mirror and
says, “I am not worthy to leave this
sadness.”
When I first heard His courting song, I too
looked at all I had done in my life
and said,
“How can I gaze into His omnipresent eyes?”
I spoke those words with all my heart,
but then He sang again, a song even sweeter,
and when I tried to shame myself once more from His presence
God showed me His compassion and spoke a divine truth,
“I made you, dear, and all I make is perfect.
Please come close, for I desire you.”

In our Ladies bible study last week, we were reminded that the Trinity doesn’t NEED us, They never needed us. God was complete as the Father, Son & Holy Spirit right from the very beginning but He WANTED us! We came to being out of an outpouring of Their Love!

He desires you! He wants us to be close to Him first, before anything else, not to be doing first!

Remember our definition of success? Success, according to scripture, is becoming the person God calls you to become.

Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

So, let’s be imitators of Him, let’s live as His beloved children because you are; and let’s show that to others as we walk in that love and leave others wondering about why we are different. Then we might even get the chance to share it with them too!

— Ephesians 5:1-2

Prayer

We are people with full hearts:
we feel blessed, we are blessed,
and on this thanksgiving day we say thank you with all our hearts.
Thank You for Your love, and for the gift of Your son.
Thank You for those dear to us, those near at hand,
and those much farther away.
Thank You for food.
Thank You for rich soil, good weather, hard-working farmers.
In a society where we are so often
self-sufficient, self reliant and self-satisfied,
give us humble hearts.
All we are and all we have comes from Your hand;
it’s by Your grace that we have life and breath
on this thanksgiving day.
Bless the hands that have prepared the food,
and those who are serving it.
Bless the food before us,
may it strengthen us to be a blessing to all we meet,
in the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

The Bible has a lot to say about “giving thanks.” A common phrase in the book of Psalms is “enter His gates with thanksgiving.” (Psalm 100:4) No matter our season of life, there can always be a reason to enter God’s gates and give thanks.

Song

Blessing / Benediction

We often overcomplicate the will of God for our lives, but Paul outlines something refreshing:

Rejoice always,
pray continually,
give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

— 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (NIV)