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Summary: One of God’s purposes for our lives is that we enjoy them., but it is not the ONLY purpose. He wants to deepen us, and that comes not so much from joy as it does facing the sober realities of life. Facing life’s realities opens us up to receive wisdom,

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Sober Thoughts and Balanced Living OR What Does A Mature Person Look Like?

(Ecclesiastes 7:1-22)

1. The gift of enjoyment is a wonderful gift.

2. But remember that from chapter 3, “a time to weep and a time to laugh.”

3. We have to take the good with the bad; like Job, we have to say, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

4 (Illustration below Borrowed from SermonCentral)

In a perfect world:

A person should feel as good at 50 as he did at 17 and he would actually be as smart at 50 as he thought he was at 17.

Forget-me-nots would stimulate the memory.

Doing what was good for you would be what you enjoyed doing the most.

Pro baseball players would complain about teachers being paid contracts worth millions of dollars.

Potato chips might have calories, but if you ate them with a dip, the calories would be neutralized.

If the guy from the government said to you, "I’m here to help," not only would he mean it, but also he’d do it.

First impressions wouldn’t count for nearly as much as ultimate performance.

Winning might be a nice thing, but that would be about all.

Every once in a while at least, a kid who always closed the door softly would be told, "Go back and slam the door."

Highway patrolmen would never be around when you’re running late, but would always be at your side when a BMW blows past or a Mac truck won’t get off your bumper.

The better food tasted, the less calories it would have.

Warranties would be for 13 months and products would fail at 12.

The times of laughter lighten our load; the times of weeping deepen our souls and mature us.

5. But God has planned a world that is less than perfect; for sure, the curse has affected everything, but God is not a slave to the curse; He has an over-riding purpose, to glorify His Name….and we are part of that process. And maturing people through life’s difficult times is part of what He is doing, like it or not!

6.In a way, the crux of chapter 7 is found in the first half of verse 14: “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other.”

Main Idea: One of God’s purposes for our lives is that we enjoy them., but it is not the ONLY purpose. He wants to deepen us, and that comes not so much from joy as it does facing the sober realities of life. Facing life’s realities opens us up to receive wisdom, and including wisdom in our lives means maturity.

The people I most admire are men and women who have great walks with the Lord, enjoy the good times of life, but have been deepened by soberly facing the entire spectrum of life’s happenings.

I. Relish and Cherish the Sobering Moments of Life; They Make You Receptive to Wisdom (1-6)

1. Contemplating the limited nature of our lifespans, the limits of our dreams and aspirations -- and the things that matter most in life -- can make us melancholic and sober, but we need to be melancholic and sober to mature….

(1) whatever helps us to adjust to reality is to our good

(2) humility is an adjustment to reality….

(3) some depression is bad, but no depression is bad, too…

2. They can also make you bitter and hateful:

In a story that appeared in the New Yorker CNN founder Ted Turner was suicidal after the breakup of his marriage to Jane Fonda and losing control of Turner Broadcasting. Turner told the magazine that his marriage to Fonda broke up partly because of her decision to become a Christian.

Turner is a strident nonbeliever who is filled with bitterness not just because of his marital and business problems. His own father killed himself when Ted was 24. His sister later died from a painful disease. When asked about these tragedies, Turner responded, “I couldn’t understand how someone so innocent should be allowed to suffer so much.” (Associated Press, 4/16/01). (http://sermoncentral.com/)

II. As You Contemplate God’s Wisdom, You Mature in Wisdom (7-18)

Here is what you begin to look like:

1. A mature person has character (7)

---dishonest and corrupt people are also shallow people…

2. A mature person has patience (8)

3. A mature person controls his temper (9)

---temper tantrums and immaturity are like peanut butter and jelly

4. A mature person does not trust his memory; he accepts that his mind will rewrite history (10)

--hagiography

5. A mature person places a high premium on wisdom (11-12, 19)

6. A mature person anticipates that life is a mixed bag (13-14)

7. A mature person values balance, avoiding extremes (15-18)

8. A mature person makes allowances for the sins of others (20-22)

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