Summary: If I’m a spiritually connected person, do I have to look like everybody else?
Preserve My Personality
Series, “Being Spiritual without being Religious” – Part 2
Pastor Jeff Christopherson
September 26, 2004
Start with Authenticity
Preserve My Personality
Experience a faith that fits how I am wired.
per•son•al•i•ty. p&r-s&n-’a-l&-tE, 1 : the quality or state of being a person. 2 : distinction or excellence of personal traits. 3 : the complex of characteristics that distinguishes an individual.
“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me…You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it.” Psalm 139:1, 13-14 (NLT)
how to religiously avoid ‘the happy me’…
1. Force myself to become something that I’M NOT.
“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its mold, but let God re-make you so that your attitude of mind is changed. Thus you will prove in practice that the will of God is good, acceptable to him and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (JB)
“Healthy faith allows us to express faith as individuals, not just as conformists to some rigid religious system.” Stephen Arterburn—More Jesus, Less Religion
2.Focus on being RIGHT rather than building RIGHT RELATIONSHIPS.
“If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates their brother or sister, they are liars. For anyone who does not love their brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he (God) has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4:20-21
3. Forget to become who I was CREATED to be.
“The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ … What a strange thing a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:1, 19-20 (TLB)
Experience a Faith that Fits how I’m Wired.
1. God always knows WHAT I AM.
“There was a chief tax collector there named Zacchaeus, who was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was a little man and could not see Jesus because of the crowd. So he ran ahead of the crowd and climbed a sycomore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way.” Luke 19:2-4 (TLB)
God’s Love Understands…
a)Our Emotional Insecurities: “a chief tax collector”
b)Our Phyical Insecurities: “a little man”
c)Our Spiritual Insecurities: “he ran ahead of the crowd”
2. God always meets me WHERE I AM.
“When Jesus came to that place, he looked up and said to Zacchaeus, “Hurry down, Zacchaeus, because I must stay in your house today.” Zacchaeus hurried down and welcomed him with great joy.” Luke 19:5-6 (TLB)
3. God heroicly loves WHAT I AM.
“All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’” Luke 19:7
Principle: Jesus never writes-off anyone who remains open to God.
4. God always reveals WHO I AM.
“Jesus said, “Today is salvation day in this home! Here he is: Zacchaeus, son of Abraham!” Luke 19:9
5. God always wants to use me WHERE I AM.
“All the people saw this and began to complain, “Jesus is staying with a sinner!” But Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “I will give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I will pay back four times more.” Luke 19:7-8 (NCV)
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men and women, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?” Galatians 1:10
Become who OTHERS WANT me to be!
Become who GOD has DESIGNED me to be!
Scripture passages from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.
Digging Deeper: being real
1. What is one of your greatest ‘childhood accomplishments’? What were some of the factors in you (heritage, personality, environment) that helped you achieve your success?
2. Read Galatians 1:10-24.
• What was Paul’s reputation?
• Why do you think God would use this ‘type’ of individual in establishing new churches and teaching Christianity throughout the known world?
• If you were consulting God on who you think should be hired to fulfill this role, what qualifications would you think that the candidate should have?
• (Check out Philippians 4:1-14 for Paul’s resumé.)
3. Look closer at verse 10.
• What are some of the ways in which we get caught up in ‘pleasing people’ rather than heroicly following God?
• How can we overcome these outside ‘pressures?’
• If we’re honest, how much of our motivation in life has to do with pleasing people? (Why do think we get caught in this trap?)
4. Read vs. 13-16
• What factor caused Paul to change his worldview?
• What actually changed within Paul? What didn’t change?