This message provides a spiritual GPS to move forward from the beginning of the day to its conclusion to meet the very real challenges that confront us as spirit-led humans. Jesus said, "Follow Me" and this message provides 7 scriptural steps to incorporate the mind of Christ.
[Robin Webber] Well, I want to welcome everybody again. I want to welcome those that are watching on the webcast and, hopefully, what is spoken to you today, as well as what might be heard by others in the future, will be a blessing – something that will motivate you to utilize your mind and to use your heart to glorify God and to be a blessing to other people.
Speaking about music, and I just did a moment ago. I was in the car several weeks ago, and I was crossing through the stations and there was what they call one of those golden oldie stations on. And there was a tune that was played, and it is titled, I Woke Up This Morning and You Were on My Mind . Now, I know that those of you out – there that call yourselves baby boomers – will remember that – when that came out in 1965 by a group that was called The We Five . I think they were a one-hit sensation. And I think that was about it for The We Five. But it is a song that has come down to our day, and whether you are a baby boomer and/or the child of a baby boomer. (Oftentimes, you grow up with the music that your folks – while they are still controlling the radio – listen to.) So, all of us might remember that song. It goes like this – just the first part of it. The lyrics goes like this:
When I woke up this morning you were on my mind, and you were on my mind.
It goes on to say:
I got troubles…(I won’t sing out the whoa whoa, whoa)
I got worries and I’ve got wounds to bind.
A lot happens in one day in the life of any individual, and we all have heart work, and we all have homework to do, from the morning until the evening. When I heard that, and I thought of the title of that message, I Woke Up This Morning and You Were on My Mind , it led me to consider the importance, personally, of who – or of whom – and what I start my days out, as a Christian. Not when I go to bed at night and wonder whether I did something or not, but at the start of the day. At the beginning of the day, as I wake up, what is on my mind and what is on my heart?
Join me if you would in the book of Psalms – Psalms 143 – let’s consider for a moment, on verse 8, because certainly this was also on the mind of David, the psalmist. Let’s notice what it says in Psalms 143, and verse 8, where it says:
Psalms 143:8 Psalms 143:8Cause me to hear your loving kindness in the morning; for in you do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul to you.
American King James Version×– Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning. For in You do I trust. Then he goes on to say something very interesting . Cause me to know the way in which I should walk. For I lift up my soul to You. Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies, and it is in You I take shelter. Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God. Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.
Here is David, three thousand years ago, speaking about waking up in the morning – speaks about his soul being lifted up to God at the beginning of the day. He understood, as you and I need to understand, that the world that we walk out into – the gravity of human nature that we have – can tend to drag us down and pull us down. It can weaken us. So, his prayer, in the beginning, is to God: “Lift me up. Let me be with You.” As we do that, we recognize something. And that is, when we wake up in the morning, we are not only going to have to face others, we are going to have to face ourselves. We are still going to have to deal with this creature called human nature. I remember many, many, years ago, on stage, one of our pastors said, “There must be something about human nature that we like, or we would have gotten rid of it a long, long, time ago.” So, we’re going to deal with that. How do we lift up our soul to God – not only in the morning, but throughout the day?
There are four important words that I would like to share with you for a moment. And you can jot these down. They are probably the most important words in scripture. For when they are stated, everything else that follows in the Bible is predicated upon these first four words. You don’t have to…they’re not hard to find. They are right at the very beginning of the Bible, and it is simply this: In the beginning God… . Interesting. In the beginning God… . Before there was even a physical creation, the revelation tells us that God existed and God was present – leaving us with the understanding that He is the originator of all. He is the starting point. He is . He is before the physical creation. He is before all of that of which we see in time and space today.
Now, with that stated, how about our starting point – as God’s ongoing spiritual creation? As we walk into our families, as we walk into our jobs, as we walk into society, do we go with Him? Does He go before us? Are we with Him? These four words – I kind of want to plant them in your head – these four words are the beginning of our life every day: In the beginning God… . We would never think of going out the door without our wallet. We wouldn’t think of going out the door without our keys. We wouldn’t think about going out the door without our smart phone. We have all of those neatly in place, because we know we are going to need them during the day. What about putting in the pocket of our heart: In the beginning God… ? When we do that… (It was kind of interesting…I was thinking of your message, Paul, when you said to keep our promises. That is basically not a promise, but the vow we took at baptism. When we said that we would surrender ourselves to God the Father through Jesus Christ – that we would give our lives, that we would transform our lives with Their assistance.) And in that sense – in that vow we took when we went under the water – we said that God was going to be the beginning of everything that we do in our life. He is not a side bar. He is the beginning of every motive. He is the beginning of every thought. He is the beginning of every word. He is the beginning of every action. And all of those are actually all linked together, aren’t they? So often we get caught up in actions at 11 am, at noon, at 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon, rather than going back to the beginning of the day and dedicating our day to God, and recognizing that, when we wake up in that morning, that God and Christ need to be on our minds.
Again, let me ask you a question, please – as we draw you into this message – simply this…and understand this. Where do most accidents occur when it comes to the airlines? (I hope nobody is going to fly tomorrow. I don’t want to scare you. If you’ve flown that is good. If you are about to fly, just take this gingerly.) Most accidents occur on take-offs and landings. Most accidents occur on take-offs and landings. Isn’t that where a lot of our accidents with human nature occur – on take-offs and landings – when we are getting ready to get out the door, to face the freeways, to face the office, to face our fellow co-workers, to face the students, to face this, to face that? We are in a rush and we might very well take our smart phone, we take our keys, we take our wallet, we take this, we take that. But we have forgotten to take the most important thing. And that is the center-ness of God – in the beginning, and/or when we come home. There are take-offs in the morning and there are landings. When do a lot of relationship problems develop? It is when we come home, and we have given our all to everybody else all-day long, we have given our best to strangers, we have given our best to people we don’t share space with and we don’t share the same roof to, we give our best to try and interweave the freeways of Los Angeles, we give our best to this and our best to that, and we come home and enter that door – perhaps without praying, perhaps without centering on God and asking Him to continue to be the beginning of every motive, thought, word and deed. See, most accidents do happen on take-offs and landings. One, because we are rushed, the other because we are tired.
Now, let’s just understand this. All of us that are here – all of us in this room – we simply want – that’s why you’re here – we do want to please God. We love God. We do want to give our best to God. But what happens is, we go through the day, and we might say a quick prayer going out the door. We might think of Him a little bit and then what happens is, we are confronted with our human nature. We know that God has promised that He will never be late. That’s a promise. God will never be late. But what happens is, our human nature shows up early. That is where the conflict comes. I don’t think there is one individual here, that when they were baptized, planned to fail as a Christian. Not at all. But I will share this with you: People that fail to plan, do plan to fail. It’s that simple. We need to understand that. What we need to understand is simply this: God does not work in a vacuum. God does not work in a vacuum. Satan does work in a vacuum. And we need to understand that. So, what I want to share with you – I’m about to give you my title in a moment – is simply this: It is often said, “It is not how you start the day, but how you finish it that counts,” but never underestimate how important it is to start with the day right.
I would like to have you join me in Philippians 2, and verse 5 – a verse that, by and large, is familiar to you. But I want to share something with you. In Philippians 2, and verse 5, it says this:
Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
American King James Version×– Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.”Fascinating. Very important to understand that. But what kind of mind is that? You say, “Okay, what does it mean by ‘the mind?’” Well, the mind is described in the first four verses. Let’s read it for a moment.
V-1-5 – Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded – having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. And notice: let each of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others. Therefore, let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus .
It is very interesting. In verse 2, it speaks of being of one mind . The word there, in the Greek, speaks of being in agreement . In agreement with what? Agreement with the mind of Christ – God in the flesh – how He lived, how He existed. To be in agreement, but that agreement comes through – as the Greek root is – in a certain form of discipline – that is, in anticipation to have a plan of action during the day to do so. It is also very interesting, when you go to verse 5 - different Greek word – “let this mind be in you, which is in Christ…” – is actually not a noun, but a verb. We often use this phrase: “to mind something.” “I am going to be gone for a while, I want you to” – what? – mind the store . I want you to mind the children .” So that’s the sense of Philippians 2, and verse 5. It is to be reflective. It is to go in with knowledge – going into a situation – and being prepared to act. It is not about having, in that sense, an unreasoned opinion and not knowing what to do.
So, let’s understand something. You and I go out every day – LA, Culver City, Santa Monica, out in the valley, Van Nuys, Chatsworth – some of you are downtown, others of you are working over here in the San Gabriel Valley. Others of you are working at home. Others of you are at home serving the family and working with our next generation – our small children, our teenagers, etc. But I want to share something with you here. Join me in Psalms 119, and verse 10 – again, back to the words of David. In Psalms 119, and verse 10, we notice this:
Psalms 119:10 Psalms 119:10With my whole heart have I sought you: O let me not wander from your commandments.
American King James Version×– With my whole heart I have sought you. Oh let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word… – this is one of my favorite verses and action items in the Bible - your word I have hidden in my heart. Why? That I might not sin against you. Blessed are you O L ord! Teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have declared All the judgments of Your mouth. And I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches.
What I’m going to share with you – for the remainder of this message – is a spiritual GPS to, maybe, guide us through the day – to guide me through the day. I have a GPS. It tells you to go left, go right, go left, go right. It can be in Bulgarian. It can be with an English accent. It can be with a Canadian accent – Kim – that’s where they say, “Eh?” It can be with this accent or with that accent, and it tells you where to go. You are following a robot. Welcome to the 21st century! Well, I am not a robot. I’m your pastor. I am a minister of Jesus Christ. I want to share some spiritual GPS with you today, as to how we move through the day, and how we hide some of the words of the Bible in our hearts that we might have the mind of Christ. There is a simplicity which is in Jesus Christ. What I’m going to share with you is not high theology on steroids. I am just going to be sharing principles on the way of life. There are going to be 7. We are going to go rather rapidly, But I want to ask you – this is to make you think – a message like Paul’s is never an end in itself. It is, basically, a springboard for you to go forward and to think now how you are going to put this into practice.
So again, the title of my message is simply this: Christ, I Woke Up This Morning and You Were on My Mind. How do we show God above – and Christ – that He truly is on our mind? As we go out that door and have the mind of Christ, there are 7 points I want to give you. Allow me to give you the first one.
The first one – all of them build upon one another – the first one is very important. As I go out the door – number one: All men are made in God’s image .
Join me, if you would, in Genesis 1:26 Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
American King James Version×. As I go out the door, I recognize that there is a purpose that is being worked out here below – that there is a creation.
Genesis 1:26 Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
American King James Version×– And God said, “ Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness. Let’s drop down to verse 27:
V-27 – So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And notice: Then God blessed them.
As I go throughout the day dealing with my family, dealing with my loving spouse, interacting with our children, interacting with the grandchildren, interacting with the neighbors, interacting with my co-workers, and you, in all the various veins that you interact, the first thing we need to remember is that man is made in God’s image.
So, “Okay, Mr. Webber, what’s that about?” Thank you for asking that question. I am going to answer it. Therefore, that demands our respect and our understanding toward all human beings – because they are made in the image and the likeness of God. When you go out the door, and you wake up, and Christ is on your mind, and when you recognize that all those people are living for a purpose from God above and for a reason, you will treat them differently. Why is that? After all, Jesus Christ died for them, as well as for you and for me. They might not even understand that right now, but they are not the descendants of a gorilla. Their ancestor is not a love-sick amoeba in a pond, hit by sunlight, all the sudden coming to life. You and I, and all of those around us – all 18 million Angelinos – are not the result of evolution. We have a Creator. There is a cause. There is a purpose being worked out here below. When you go back to those basics – in the beginning – and understand that and understand that our Lord and Savior has died for every one of them – even when they do not understand that right now and do not act like it – you will begin to treat your fellow man and woman differently. When we don’t recognize that, when we don’t respect what God is doing with humanity, we can drain life from others around us.
Genesis 9:6 Genesis 9:6Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
American King James Version×is very interesting in this regard. Genesis 9:6 Genesis 9:6Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
American King James Version×– join me, if you would there, for a moment, because it says this…and it tells you a little bit about what happened in the pre-Noachian world, and why He had to bring that society to an end.
Genesis 9:6 Genesis 9:6Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
American King James Version×– Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed – notice – for in the image of God, He made man. Maybe you have never seen that before. It’s fascinating that this is double amplified in the book of Genesis. Before the flood humanity, did not appreciate this special creation from our loving Creator. There must have been much pillage, much murder, incredible violence, life extinguished. You and I – every day, as we go out the door and we go into society – we either have an opportunity to lift people up by our witness, by our words, by our actions, and by the motivation that is behind that, or we can drain the life out of people – our mates, our children, who deserve our best, our grandchildren that deserve our best, our co-workers, who may not understand everything that we do, but they know that you are a Christian. And each and every one of us that are Christian, are to be a witness that people might believe that God above brought his Son to this earth. That was Jesus’ prayer the night of His betrayal. Christianity is not that complex. There is a simplicity which is in Jesus Christ.
The first thing we need to recognize is that…you say, “Mr. Webber, well how does that work?” Let’s go to Matthew 25, and verse 40. In Matthew 25, and verse 40, I want to share something with you and that is simply this:
Matthew 25:40 Matthew 25:40And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me.
American King James Version×– If you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me.
“Jesus did not really mean that when He said that. He must have had an off moment.” No, He did not have an off moment. If every human being is made in the image of God – straight out – and number two, if Jesus said, “If you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me,” He means that. We need to understand that. When we do that, that does not mean that we are going to be in a world with all nice and loving people and all giving people. But it is our approach. It is how we direct our human traffic and our heart towards engaging with this world.
Number 2. Jesus said this in John 15, and verse 12 – join me, if you would – “ love one another as I have loved you .”
John 15:12 John 15:12This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.
American King James Version×– This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for His friends.
Now it is interesting that Jesus here – maybe you’ve never noticed it before – says, “I am giving you a new commandment.” Well, what does that mean? Well, out of Leviticus 19, and verse 18 – and let’s understand, as the one who was the Word and at that time interacted with ancient Israel and gave this message to Moses – in Leviticus 19, and verse 18, it basically says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Webber paraphrase: “I will scratch your back if you will scratch my back.” Doesn’t this all feel good when we are all doing this together? But what happens when somebody doesn’t return the favor? Doesn’t keep the promise, as Mr. Shemet brought out? What we have here, in John 15, is not transactional love. What is transactional love? “I scratch your back, you scratch my back.” One plus one equals two. But what happens when one plus one doesn’t equal two? What happens when we don’t have a response? That is when we go from transactional love to sacrificial love. Sacrificial love. And sometimes the closer the individual is to you, sometimes the harder that is and the more challenging that can be.
Why is it so important to understand? Join me, if you would, in 1 John 4. In 1 John 4…let’s pick up the thought, if we could, in verse 7.
1 John 4:7 1 John 4:7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God.
American King James Version×– Beloved let us love one another, for love is of God. And everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Born of God means this miracle which is now in the process – that God is intervening in our lives. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. And the love that is being spoken about here is not romantic love. It is not transactional love. It is sacrificial love – the way Christ loved us. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God – not that we loved God – but that He loved us and sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Beloved if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
The song goes like this: “I woke up this morning and you were on my mind.” When we wake up in the morning as Christians, is Christ on our mind – and this is how we are going to respond through the entire day? Now these words are spoken. You have heard them. You have heard them before. But let’s understand something. When it is all said and done, when we meet the Christ one day, He is not going to ask us what we read. He is not going to ask us what we know. Are you with me? But He’s going to ask us what we did . What we did . Christianity is not theory. It is not just simply prose. It is action – to mind something. To have that mind of Christ means that we mind ourselves from the time we wake up until the time that we go to bed.
You say, “Okay, Mr. Webber, but some of the challenges out there for me…I am dealing with some very unlovable people, some very real problems.” I get that. I understand that. So am I. But let’s remember what is spoken in the book of Esther. Recognize somewhere, somehow, by God’s grace and by your understanding of what God the Father and Jesus Christ has done for us, that you, as an individual, might make a difference in another person’s life by having this kind of spiritual GPS motivating you during the day.
Do you think that the words that are found in the book of E sther are merely for the 5th century BC – where Mordechai chides Esther, in that sense, towards that which is right by saying, “You know not whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as now – that you can make a difference?” Is there one individual in your life today that you can make a difference? You know, when I get up here for forty years giving a sermon, I realize when I am speaking, I’m going to have people fall asleep on me. They are not just nodding in agreement. They are going to say, “When is this going to get over?” About three hours from now. “When is this, when is that?” When I pray – and I’m sure our other ministers pray – I just pray that if I can motivate one individual for a moment, and for a day, and for a week, until that next sermon – not all of you even, but just one – that will take it to heart – that knows that you have been called of God and for a purpose, and to set your heart’s compass, and hide His truth in you heart, that you might not just simply not sin against God, but that you might glorify God by what you do – not by what you don’t do – and can be a blessing – a light for your spouse and for your child that needs you, for you grandchildren in this world that they’re growing up in, for somebody who is having a bad day at work – that you can make a difference, because you understand what the love of God is about.
How do we make this happen a little bit deeper?
Let me go to point number 3: The word of God says, “Don’t be a stumbling block . ” Don’t be a stumbling block for other people. Do you wake up in the morning and say, “Father above, help me not to be a stumbling block to another human being.” The difficulty is, most of the time, the people that I have met that are stumbling blocks are the last ones to get it and know that they are. God tells us not to be a stumbling block.
Let’s go back to the law. Let’s go to Leviticus 19. Let’s notice a word here in Leviticus 19 – way, way back there, 3500 years ago this was written – Leviticus 19. There is a principle here I want to draw upon – Leviticus 19, verse 14. Interesting, it says:
Leviticus 19: 14 – You shall not curse the deaf . Yeah, you can tell them what you really think of them when they can’t hear it. The Bible says, “Don’t curse the deaf.” …nor put a stumblingblock before the blind . Why? But you shall fear – or revere – your God. I am the Lord . You know, when the kids were small and we lived over here in Monrovia, as a father, you know, when they were chasing around and moving around, I would never think of being by a door and thinking…I would never be behind a door, while Laura and Julie and Amy were running around, and say, “I’m going to get them,” and put out my leg. I wouldn’t do that as a father and I ought not do that as a Christian, because you are my brothers and you are my sisters. And everybody out here in LA is made in the image of God – both male and female. We need to pray brethren, we are not a stumbling block to others.
1 John 2, and verse10 – at the other end of the Bible – 1 John 2, and verse 10 – notice what it says here:
1 John 2:10 1 John 2:10He that loves his brother stays in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
American King James Version×– He who loves his brother – and again the word there is agape – it’s sacrificial. He who loves his brother abides in the light and there is no cause for stumbling in him – no cause for stumbling. God tells us not to be a stumbling block.
I simply have a question for you. Are you a stumbling block today to someone else? Are you in the way of another individual’s understanding the love and compassion and warmth of God by how you are acting towards them? By what you’re kind of holding back from them? By how you are, maybe, punishing them because they don’t quite agree with you on a matter? I can’t imagine our Lord and Savior being a stumbling block. (He was a stumbling block, and that’s prophetic because of the message He brought.) Let’s just talk about His humanity and being the Son of man. Jesus was somebody that drew people. Children were drawn to Him. Women were drawn to Him – the whole village, the whole cities. There was something magnetic about Him. He was not a wall, but He was a bridge to something. And at times people didn’t fully understand – perhaps it was not their time – but He was a bridge.
I realize sometimes, over 4 decades of being a minister, in my own ministry, thinking I was doing what was right, I have been a stumbling block at times for individuals. And I have to go back over 40 years and beyond and think about that. It hurts at times to go back sometimes and ponder and think about that.
Brethren, God has not called us to be stumbling blocks. He has called us – like Jesus, who was that lively stone – you and I have been called to be a living stone, and not to be a stumbling block. But sometimes we can get so, so very stuck on our own rightness, and our own opinion, and our own way of doing things, and “This is just how I am, take me or leave me. I am just going to hunker down here and I am not going to move.” God hasn’t called us to be a wall. He has called us to be a light - and not our own light, but the light of Jesus Christ. Just ask yourself, because I presume you come to services to consider and reflect, “Have I been a stumbling block to somebody this week? Have I been a stumbling block to somebody even today?” You can do something about that. You can recognize that this message is for you and that you’ve been called to be different. You’ve been called not to just simply take a seat, but as a Christian, to transform yourself into the life of Jesus Christ.
Number 4. James 1:19 James 1:19Why, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
American King James Version× – part of our spiritual GPS as we go through the day. As we wake up and Christ is on our mind – James 1, and verse 19. I have used this verse more than any other verse in my ministry over the years in counseling with people.
James 1:19 James 1:19Why, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
American King James Version×– So, then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
Notice again: “ swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.” All of this goes back…remember when we began the message – about so often we get caught up on our actions, but we haven’t worked it back that, what is our motivation of what we do and why we do and how we do it? You give a speech in anger and you will give the best speech you have ever regret. Have you ever noticed that the thoughtless are rarely wordless? The thoughtless are rarely wordless. We are to bring everything into the context and the mind and the heart of Jesus Christ – swift to hear, slow to speak.
Why is that so hard? Have you ever talked with somebody and they just…you know they are not paying attention? They’re just not paying attention. Everybody’s eyes are on me, like you are all paying attention. You know, you just know they are not paying attention. But do you know why? There is a physiological reason why. Back here, on the back side of the brain, you are moving words at thousands of words per minute in the back of your brain, but you are listening to me right now, and you can only take in about 250 to 275 words a minute. So, there is competition going on. See what I am saying? There is a human reason why this is happening. God says, “Mind the store, mind the brain, mind the heart. Check yourself in. Show love. Listen. Be slow to speak.” We are swift to speak, because normally we what we want to do is, we want to have other people understand our point of view before we have heard them out.
So here’s a simple thing. I’m not giving you Hebrew and I’m not giving you a lot of Greek here today. Here is a battle plan. Now Mr. Shemet gave you a battle plan about keeping promises and how to do that. Do we wake up in the morning and do we contemplate that “I’m going to be swift to hear?” – as they used to say in the Marine Corp, ‘Listen up’ – that I’m going to be slow to speak? “Yeah, but they just…oh no, they’re speaking right now – they’re pouring their heart out to me. Maybe I should just be quiet, because they are sharing more than their words. They’re sharing their heart” – and slow to anger?
Let’s go to number 5. Don’t compare yourselves amongst yourselves . Just jot these down: 2 Corinthians 10:12 2 Corinthians 10:12For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
American King James Version×and Galatians 6, and verse 4. Don’t compare yourselves amongst yourselves. Actually, I’m going to go to one of those – 2 Corinthians 10. Join me, if you would, there for a moment. No, I don’t want to there right now. That’s fine. Just leave that be.
When we go back to the course of the Bible and we see what has happened when people compare themselves amongst themselves, there, just simply, is not good fruit. We think of Cain and Able. Cain and Able. Cain compared his sacrifice to Abel’s. And we know what resulted from that – sin. Comparing ourselves amongst ourselves. We think of the publican and the Pharisee in Luke 18. “Oh, ho, ho God. Ho, ho. Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho.” (That’s Hebrew for ho, ho, ho, ho, ho – [chuckles].) “I am so glad…frankly, I am so very, very, thankful that I am not like him. Thank you, Lord.” And yet the other man – the publican – did not compare himself to the Pharisee, but only looked up to Father above, and petitioned Him, that he might come into His presence. The whole church was bent on comparing themselves with other factions in the church – the Comparative Church of God at Corinth. Cliques, factions, know-it-alls that thought the other person didn’t know anything, meat eaters, vegetarians, singles, marrieds, “I am of Paul,” “I am of Peter,” and the really, really special ones – “I am of Christ.” And they were comparing themselves. We only have one individual to compare ourselves to – that God the Father has given us – that is Jesus Christ – as to whether or not we rise to the full stature of what is before us in the book.
I want to share this with you, because so often I get in the middle of discussions of people comparing themselves amongst themselves, and I recognize that is just going down a bad rabbit hole. Each and every one of us has so much homework and so much heart work, just of and by ourselves, that we need to spend all of our time on ourselves, measuring up to that to whom we are to compare, Jesus Christ, and not to be looking to other people and comparing ourselves amongst ourselves.
Number 6. James 4 tells us to judge not, that you not be judged . Join me in James 4 . In James 4, and verse 10, let’s read this:
James 4:10 James 4:10Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
American King James Version×– Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. Do not speak evil of one another brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one Lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy . Notice what James says here. Who are you – who are you – to judge another? Who are we to judge another?
What I have noticed sometimes, brethren, is that doesn’t hold back people from judging one another, does it – of getting into their lives. Dealing with another person that we do not live with. We do not know what is on their heart. We don’t know their knees are rubbed raw from praying because of an issue. We talk about people. We vilify people. We belittle people. We trespass on people’s personal property. They belong to God. They are made in His image, after His likeness. Jesus died for them, like He died for me, and He died for you.
Susan loves….she’s is a photographer, for those of you that who know Susan. And sometimes we’ll be, maybe, up in Solvang, or in areas up north, or maybe the back country of San Diego – just gorgeous country, rolling country. And I’ll see a sign. “Hey, let’s go up that road. Look how pretty it is, Susan. There are really going to be some wonderful pictures to take up there. You’ve never seen that oak tree. You’ve never seen an oak tree quite like that.” That right. She’s seen 10,000 like that…but anyway, “Let’s go up that road.” So, I will pull off and there is a big ranch fence, and I am already looking – looking for the No Trespassing sign. And you that No Trespassing sign. What does a No Trespassing sign mean? It means no trespassing. Don’t go over the fence. Don’t cross the threshold, because once you cross a threshold, whether be a gate or something in life, you have to do all the answering. But I see that No Trespassing sign, and I have to stop. I have to kind of get my attitude around. I really wanted to get up there, but Susan, being the law keeper that she is, says, “Robin, don’t even think about it.” I do. And I don’t trespass.
God is telling us, here in James 4 , there is a No Trespassing sign when it comes to judging individuals. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have discernment. That’s a whole other sermon on how to righteously judge. But just to go into somebody’s life, and start talking about them minutes on end with other people, or allowing their life to just weigh down our life, when we have enough heart work and home work in our own life – we have such a target-rich environment, of and by ourselves until the trumpet call – that we don’t need to judge another individual.
Do we wake up in the morning with Christ on our mind and take this concept out of the door, and through the day, and through the night – that it is not my role to be God’s judge? After all the holes are only in pair of hands, the last time I read the book. Our Father above has made Jesus the judge, not you, not me. You know, when we take these burdens of human nature off our shoulders by just simply following what God says to do, and this spiritual GPS that leads us through the day, we become free to serve Him. We become free to serve others. We become free to grow in grace and knowledge.
Number 7. Last point. James 4 – right at the end of where we are at. Notice what it says here in James 4. It says in verse 13:
James 4: 13 – Come now, you who say today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city spend a year there, buy and sell and make a profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” If the Lord wills.
I have a question for you. As we go out the door in the morning – as we wake up, in that sense – do we have this on our mind as we approach the day: Not my will, but Your will be done ? How flexible are you and I in God’s hand? You know, I’m basically known for many years with the phrase: Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. We need to remain as clay during the day. We need to be flexible and claylike in God’s hands. Getting our plans ahead of God’s plans is a lack of faith. And you and I can be our own stumbling block . If God wills .
Now in all of this, let’s notice James 4:17. I have given you 7 points today – a spiritual GPS – a waking up with Christ in our mind and going out the door. Notice what it says in James 4:17 James 4:17Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.
American King James Version×.
Let’s remember something. Let’s remember something. I want to plant this in your head. When we meet the Christ – when we meet Him – He is not going to ask you how much you know. He is not even going to ask you what you know. He is going to ask you what you did . He is going to ask what you did, because God not only loves a hearer of the word, but a doer. Can you see somehow, if you just incorporate these seven points, how your life can be different as you go through a day in serving God Almighty and Jesus Christ – how you can be a light, how you are free to serve, because you are becoming free from self? Do you wake up in the morning and say, “Father help me to glorify You?” “Help me to glorify you.” When we have that mind and are mindful to be mindful of the mind of Christ, we give God glory. When we have that mind of Christ, we go back to that prayer in John 17, where Jesus said, “Thank you that there are those who have believed that You have sent Me.”
When we have the mind of Christ, we are also giving God the Father glory, because the glory ultimately goes up to Him. Then you and I can be a blessing to other people. That is so very important. So very important. So very important.
So that song rattled my cage, rattled my heart and I wanted to share some thoughts with you today about waking up with Jesus Christ – and not only that He was on our mind, but that we build upon that and have the mind of Christ.