The Community Fellowship is in the middle of a series called EMPTY PROMISES. Before I share with you from this weekend’s message I want to give a big shout out to Pastor Pete Wilson from CrossPoint.tv in Nashville for sharing this series with us. The meat of this series is exposing the things that keep our hearts from being changed by and turned to God.
Jesus doesn’t want to edit behaviors; he wants to change hearts. That’s what the crux of this series leans upon because often the idols in our lives keep us from being changed by God.
We would prefer to hear “don’t be greedy, don’t be self-centered, don’t have sex outside of marriage, don’t be power hungry”, but we must ask this question: what is it about our heart that makes us want to chase things that keep us from pursuing God?
We can only answer that question by dealing with difficult things in our lives. One of the biggest idols of our day is a desire for success and achievement. We live in a performance driven society.
Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 2 that “anything I want, I can have”. He ended the section with “it’s all meaningless”. In our culture we define success by getting anything you want. We say that getting possessions, or relationships, or position is being successful. But when we say we want to be successful like this we step over the line.
Deep inside all of us there is this longing, a huge desire, to succeed, to live well, to make something of our life, to make a difference in the world. It's a God-given part of what it means to be a human being.
We were created to do something great with our lives. We want to make a difference, yet each one of us has been corrupted by sin, so we start looking to success and accomplishment to give us something only God can give us.
We can either base our self worth on success or achievement which is externally. The reality is when something good happens we let it fill our worth externally. Then we realize it will never be enough.
The problem actually is that we “confuse who we are with what we accomplish”. Reality from God is far different. When we base our confidence on success, we will often seek to be approved by others to feel good about myself or want our children to behave well so others will think I am a good parent. There are lots of other thoughts on what this success looks and feels like
You know you are not any more or any less valuable to God because of your job, your salary or social status, and even if you lose your job or your family is struggling. Even if you fail miserably and make mistakes, God's affection for you does not change. Your value in His eyes does not decline.
Our worth is based on what God says and what Jesus has done for us!
Matthew 16:26 NLT
And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
On the other hand we are to base our identity and self worth on Christ. We lose it all if we chose anything else as our foundation. Real self worth doesn’t come from our performance or our evaluation of our performance; it comes from how we believe and apply our position in Christ.
Psalm 139:14 NASB
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
God declares we have worth while letting anything else define us grinds us down. God declares we're somebody. We matter. We are loved, treasured and valued, which means our value is not up for grabs based on how successful we are.
Remember this big thought: What we worship shapes what we are and what we worship determines what we become. Jeremiah made a similar statement regarding his faithless ancestors:
… They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves.
If we worship money, we’ll become a greedy person. If we worship sex, we’ll become a lustful person. If we worship power, we’ll become a corrupt person. If we worship accomplishment, we’ll become a restless. If we worship love and acceptance, we’ll become a slave to what others think of you. And worshipping anything other than the true God will make us something other than what he created us to be.
That is not what God desires for us and from us. You cannot be a reflection of God if you are worshipping anything besides God
Breaking the pattern of idolatry in our lives not only requires a “turn from” but a “turn to”. We can’t just stop worshipping a certain idol. We have to start worshipping God. Worshipping him continually reminds us…. It’s about his power, not ours. It’s about his purposes, not ours. It’s about his glory, not ours.