Delusions of Adequacy

 

Scripture: (Rom 7:18 KJV)  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

 

            Before another word is said let’s pray for God’s blessing upon this message;

Heavenly Father, I worship you. I lift your name high like a great flag or banner being waved above me. I want everyone to know Lord God that it is you that provides all things. It is you Jesus that sets me free to live an abundant, eternal life. I ask you Father God for your forgiveness of my rebellion, I ask forgiveness of my weakness. Forgive me dear Lord for my bad attitude. Please Holy spirit fill me with the presence of the mind of Christ my savior. Thank you Father for sending Jesus to dwell with in my heart. You are welcome Lord. You are welcome Holy Spirit. Come into my very being and fill me with the love, joy and peace that is God. Bless this message that it might through your word reveal more of you to me. Let your perfect will for my life be made clearer to me and give me the strength to carry it out. For your glory. In Jesus name;

                                    Amen

 

            The beginning of this message might not sound so encouraging, but don’t give up so soon the truth will come through with a wonderful disclosure of God’s glory. The title for today’s message came from a church sign. I do not even remember were I saw it but it jumped out at me and touched my very soul. Have you ever had something like that happen to you? I know that there are no coincidences and God has something for all of us today.

            Let me begin by letting you all know a little more about me. I remember when I was in my junior year of college. I was attending the State University of New York at Oswego. What delusions of grandeur I had. I was 25 years old and knew that I was going to achieve great things. Delusions of grandeur. It did not take many years to have them delusions washed away.  

            First let me tell you what I mean by delusions. Some synonyms would be deception, mirage, fallacy, hallucination, phantasm… In some instances these words would fit my delusions. You see coming from a small town in upstate New York, having traveled throughout the country, achieving recognition in the State University system, I really believed that I was going to the top. I was studying television broadcasting at the time and saw myself creating magnificent artistic video productions. One thing about delusions of grandeur; what you are doing is never enough. Soon behind the camera would not be enough for me so I went into acting. Talk about being an egomaniac. It did not take me long to drop out of college and start acting professionally in the renaissance festival. It wasn’t long after that that reality hit me in the face and I discovered that I never should have left college. A better word to describe the delusions that I am talking about today is perhaps “misconception.”

            Well boot camp knocked the delusions of grandeur out of me as well as a lot of other things. That was over 12 years ago. Last week I had something new shown to me.         

            It started on Monday. Somehow my wife had challenged me to drive without the radio on this week. You see I drive some times over a couple of hundred miles a day. I enjoy listening to Christian radio while I drive. I listen to great Christian music and nationally known ministers giving inspirational sermons. All day long I would get the word of God. But do you know how after a while even a good thing becomes routine? Well that explains some of the change that took place when I turned off the radio.

            It started with just simple prayer. Then I really started to talk to God. I laid it all out. That first day I spent the whole day talking to God. It was great. I do not remember having a closer relationship with Him. Then this revelation started to come to me. This revelation that inspired the title of today’s message. I am sure we have all had them days that nothing goes right. Well this week was different. Nothing was really going wrong but I was being treated as if I was totally inept.

            Here I am with ten years of college education, three years of military intelligence training, over ten years of business experience, and I am holding down the lowest job in a bottled water company. And being treated like some punk kid off the street. But do you know what? That is not the bad part. The bad part it the fact that I am a reverend and still find myself unworthy of being in the presence of God. I mean I have tried. There is nothing I want more than to be righteous. Yet with all my Bible training and the time I spend in prayer I still fall so short. I discovered this week that I may no longer have delusions of grandeur but I do have delusions of adequacy. The misconception that I could be good enough was keeping me from the grace of God. My fighting sin only gave sin its strength. Ok enough about me lets go to God’s word and I will show you what I mean.

            In this 7th chapter of Romans Paul is explaining the truth that no mater how hard we try we are still bound to fall into the trap of sin. He writes that what he wants to do he does not do and the things that he does not want to do is what he ends up doing. He knows the bible and what it says. He knows that God loves him and that Jesus died for his sin yet he still finds himself falling into sin. Sometimes it seems the harder we try to overcome something the more we end up doing it. It is like dieting. You never knew how much you liked food until you denied it from yourself. Except this is more serious than dieting. This concerns your eternal destiny. Do you remember when Jesus was telling His disciples that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven? It is found in the book of Matthew 19:24-26. The disciples then ask Him “well then who can be saved?” His reply is so important for us today. He said that if it were left up to us it would be totally impossible. “But with God all things are possible.”

            Now let’s go back to the 7th Chapter of Romans, Paul says the same thing. In the 24th verse Paul admits his inadequacy to set himself free from the bonds of sin, but in that recognition acknowledges that it is God that deserves all the credit because He has made a way for us, through Christ Jesus our Lord. That is that great verse that reads “Oh wretched Man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

            That gets us back to me and the revelation that God had for me this week. I have strived for so long to get ahead. I tried the State University. I tried the Military. I tried the corporate world. I tried the world of entertainment. I may have more education than most and more experience and more knowledge of the arts and science and theology and philosophy but none of that amounts to a hill of beans because they won’t grow in the wintertime either. I may have 6 years of bible college, Graduated from the Berean University of the Assemblies of God and Have a Bachelor of Theology from Christian faith College. I may be a licensed minister in good standing with Open Bible Standard Churches. None of that matters. It is not the money, it is not the fame, it is not the recognition. When I seek out these things I end up in the same place. I end up realizing that of myself no matter how much I try to fool others and myself with delusions of adequacy, I am inadequate. I am unable. I am inept. I am a failure. But thanks be to God He has a better plan. And that plan is realized through Jesus. Philippians 4:13 reads “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” It is through Jesus that I am given the power to overcome sin. It is through Jesus that I am given that strength to get through another day. It is through Jesus that I can find God’s purpose for my life and fulfill it to His glory.

But what does it mean “Through?” Let me give you three word pictures that God gave to me to help understand this concept. First for those of you that need glasses in order to see clearly. You look through the glasses. Secondly in order to get form the outside of a house to the inside we walk through a doorway. Thirdly when you water your garden the water passes through a hose to get to the garden. Using these three illustrations we can see how we can become more than conquerors through Him who loves us. The glasses show us how when we look at situations through the eyes of Christ we can see the possibilities rather than then difficulty. Nothing is too difficult for God. Think about it. As wee look at things through the eyes of Christ we see things in a whole new light.

The idea of going through the doorway showed me how I sometimes will be banging my head up against a wall only to have the door way a couple of feet away. It is like that proverbial fly that keeps buzzing against the closed window trying to get out side ( Buzzzzzzz- Thud, Buzzzzzzz- Thud, Buzzzzz----Thud….) until it dies , when not two feet away there is an open door. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. We need to stop trying to do it our own way and turn to him.

            The hose is perhaps the best for my personal situation. Think about water. Left to its self it will gather to the lowest point and stay there until it dries up and evaporates. Either that or you end up with a flood. When water is directed it can be taken from the reservoir and poured out upon a dry and dying ground to bring forth life.  And you know the tighter the constraint the stronger the pressure. 2nd Corinthians 5:14 Tells us that the love of Christ constrains us. It urges us on, it controls us. When we allow God to direct out flow then and only then can we produce fruit worthy of His table.

So There I was driving all week with out the radio on crying out to God. That 

was the answer. That is the answer. I never really knew before what it could mean to have a personal relationship with God. Oh I knew I was saved, but it goes so much deeper than just knowing that your sins are forgiven and someday you are going to heaven. It is an every second He is right there with you and He created the whole thing so He can figure out the small stuff for you, type of relationship. I quess I am still kind of inadequate at communication. This is how Paul puts it in the 8th Chapter of Romans beginning at the 5th verse. “Those that are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.”

            This is what I discovered this week. When we finally come to the realization that we are not able He can then demonstrate his love to and through us. Jeremiah 33:3 says call upon me and I will show you great things that you have never seen before. The encouragement this week is the knowledge that even though I am inadequate He is able. Even though I am week He is strong. Even though I have no understanding He is the answer. I have learned one great thing at Calvary; Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not upon your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and He will guide your path. With that in mind let’s talk to him about all our hearts desires.

 

                        Father; I turn it over to you. I give you all my frustrations, all my fears, all my pain, all my sorrow, all my hopes and dreams and dreams lost. I give you my anger, I give you my joy, I give you my love and love lost. My broken heart belongs to you. I am your child. Lord you know what I have need of more then me. You know what I am going to say and even think before I think it so I am giving You my thoughts. Direct them towards you. Open the eyes of my heart so I can see clearly the beauty in you that far surpasses anything this world has to offer. Open the door that you would have we walk though so that I can be where you can best use me. Pour me out on the dry land that I might be used by you to bring life, hope, vision, direction, purpose, joy and so much more because you are all these things and more. I surrender all. Knowing that you are a rewarded of those who diligently seek you. So Jesus I am going after you with everything I've got. I want you in my life. I want all you have for me Father God, I desire you and your eternal blessings. You alone are worthy. (Continue to pray and know that God is blessing you even now unto ages of ages in Jesus Name. Amen)