You see, like last week's message (that you are reading now as I type) this is about the Goliaths we face. Obviously "doing it my way" is one of my many Goliaths, at least one of which often looks like Godzilla. But like we talked about then, Goliath is not the problem. Goliath is just its appearance. And appearances can get you in many ways. This morning, Chuck Swindoll was talking about the Pharisees and their traditions, explaining that you can perfume a pig and put her in a dress with pink ribbons, but if you haven't changed her heart, she's gonna go right back in the mud. The Pharisees built their "holiness" on appearance. Another case, in abridged form, happened to me. I am currently "a church of one" because I had been a part of a little Southern Baptist church that was wonderful doctrinally and worship-wise, but had a thing about appearances. The typical, one-size-fits-all appearance thing, and because a)things that had been prayed about by me and had Biblical precedence didn't meet the "appearance test", and b)my utterly magnificent fail in handling it, it all fell apart. The church was potted in good soil- but in a way, it was good soil in a small flower pot- and if one (like me) knocks over the flower pot, the whole thing shatters.
What I could have used then, and still can now, was something I heard Robert Jeffress say this week. He started with this verse:
(Galatians 5) 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, 21 envy,[b] drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
His point in this verse was- NOTICE THE ORDER. Most of us try to eliminate the "bad list" stuff SO we can walk in the Spirit, but the verse clearly says IF we wanna eliminate the "bad list" we must learn to walk in the Spirit FIRST. So we go out and try to fight Goliath/Godzilla before we have the Army of the Living God behind us, and wonder why we don't get anywhere. So you have a temptation that beats you down every time. What do you do BEFOREHAND- not when the knock has been heard and your hand is on the doorknob- to fight it? "Well, I prayed this morning/I read the Bible last night/I listened to Pastor Hotnheavy on the TV Sunday afternoon." Good enough? Then why's your hand on the knob?
What did you do to give your workday to God before the buzzer sounded? You said you'd pray for so-and-so's second cousin's aunt's grocer who has cancer, but did you? A friend was down, did you think , "That's so sad," or try to cheer them? Did you yell at Sally Strouthers for getting fat on burgers while she asked you on TV to help little starving Hadji, and put 50 cents in the collection plate?
Point being, are you trying to live your life in the Spirit, or just wondering why He doesn't listen when you NEED Him? Guess what, you ALWAYS need Him. And had I listened to Him this morning, Laurie would have gotten another half-hour of sleep before farming.