Summary: If we are going to find the freedom we have in Christ, we have a decision to make.
This week I heard the story about a pet store delivery truck going down the road. And every stop light he came to he'd run to the back of the truck, grab a 2x4 and start beating on the side of the truck. Nobody could figure out what he was doing, so finally somebody asked him, "What are you doing?" He said, "This is only a 2 ton truck and I'm carrying 4 tons of canaries and I've got to keep 2 tons of them in the air all the time."
Now, that's a picture of too many lives. Many of you here today are working hard to keep a lot of things "up in the air" so that they won't come crashing down. And sadly, that's where too many people are stuck. They don't know any other way to live. So they get stuck in unhealthy relationships; or unhealthy habits; or unhealthy grief; or unhealthy anger. They try to stay one step ahead of the bill collector, or the last lie they told, or that person they're trying so hard to hide that "secret" part of their life from. How does one get "unstuck?"
That's what we've been talking about. Step 1 - Admit it - I've got a problem. That's the "R" in "recovery" - realize. Step 2 - Believe it - Not only am I powerless but God has power and He is willing to help out. That's the "E" in "recovery" - earnestly seek God. But it's not just enough to know God will help you. You got to take action. You've got to make a decision. You've got to walk across the line. Which brings us to the "C" in "recovery: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ's care and control. (READ TEXT)
Jesus says, "Come to Me . . . Take my yoke upon you." What did He mean? When we think of "yoke" we think of eggs or oxen. But what Jesus referred to was that we should follow Him. Jesus was a Rabbi; and in His day every Rabbi had a distinctive "yoke" which was the way they lived in accordance to their understanding of God's law. Rabbis would have disciples, who would follow them so they might learn from them. They took that Rabbi's "yoke" upon them. That's what Jesus is inviting us to do, to follow Him and learn His way of living. This is God's invitation: "I will make your life easier; lighten your load; give you relief. You will have release; rest; rejuvenation. Give me control of your life and watch what I do."
Why would anybody turn that down? Yet some of you have heard this before and you've never acted on it. It's like having an unopened gift. What causes us to procrastinate giving our problems to Christ and delay surrendering our lives to His care and control?
"Pride leads to destruction . . ." - Proverbs 18:12 (CEV)
"The self-sufficient fool falls flat on his face." - Proverbs 10:8 (Living Bible)
At one of the first church's I preached at that recorded the message, I was handed a cassette tape following the service. I was honestly very proud of the sermon I had delivered, and couldn't wait to play in in the car on our way home. As I was pleasantly listening to my sermon, I was dismayed to hear myself speaking about pride. I spoke of "Pride, pride - P R I D." Needless to say, I was knocked down a peg or two.
Maybe you're not ready to give control of your life to Christ because you're thinking, "I'm doing pretty well on my own." Well, if you're not facing any problems just wait a while, because if you are calling the shots, it is inevitable, your pride with catch up with you. You just need a greater dose of pain. And God will allow it to get your attention and show you that you don't have it as together as you think you do.
"Problems, far too big for me to solve are piled higher than my head. Meanwhile, my sins, too many to count, have caught up with me and I'm ashamed to look up." - Psalm 40:12 (Living Bible)
You may say, "Do you know how many times I've made a promise to God and broke it? I'm embarrassed to ask God for help. You don't know all I've done wrong. I couldn't go to God and ask for help." You're dead wrong. There's no sin God can't forgive. Don't let pride or guilt keep you from taking this step. He wants to forgive your guilt.
We're often afraid of what we might have to give up.
A guy fell off a cliff and on the way down, he grabs a branch. It's foggy, and he has difficulty seeing. He's hanging on for dear life. He cries, “Somebody help!” He hears God's voice, "This is the Lord, trust Me, let go and I'll catch you." He thinks he's hearing things, so he asks, "Is anybody else there?" Again, he hears God's voice, "This is the Lord, trust Me, let go and I'll catch you." He finally decides to let go and trust God and when he does, the fog disappears to reveal that he is only 2 feet from the ground.