Summary: This sermon deals with the desire to move beyond being tempted to sin to having an overwhelming desire to be in the presence of God.
The Other Side Of Me
Is there anyone here besides me that has discovered that you seem to be a much better Christian in church on Sunday mornings than you are during the other parts of the week? Even though I know I’m saved, and I know I am a new creature in Christ, and that Jesus lives inside of me, there is a part of me I just don’t like. I guess I can call it the other side of me. Just when I think, he’s gone, he shows up at some very unique opportunities completely uninvited.
That other side of me wants me to believe that if I am going to move ahead in life, I’ve got to let him come to the fore front every now and then, to either get my point across, to win someone’s favor, to express my desires or to really enjoy something in life. When Pastor Toby preached last Sunday on moving forward, the spirit in me said yes, that’s what I want to see happen in me. But the other side of me, said, you don’t deserve anything like that. The other side of me is trying to convince me, it’s okay to stay like I am. But inside I know, “it’s not okay for me to stay like I am and God is calling me to something higher.
Picture with me for a moment a house is a two story building with a basement. The paint is peeling on the outside, the shutters are hanging crooked, some of the windows are boarded up, and it’s obvious the roof is leaking. Most people looking at it would want to tear it down. But someone comes and sees the beauty that could be in that house if the right price was paid to fix it.
They pour in what is needed and the house is transformed. It’s a two story home that’s beautifully decorated. When people pass by the home they see a very attractive building. The home has a basement that is usually dark. The first floor is very nice and simply decorated with some nice things. The second floor is decorated with some absolutely beautiful things inside. Obviously no expense has been spared.
Now I want you to know that we are like that house that was ready to collapse and be torn down. Jesus saw that we worth saving, and because of his great love he paid the price to restore us to beauty. But inside there are three floors that represent where our soul chooses to dwell. There is the basement, which is full of the evil desires that long in our hearts. It is a cess pool or urges, desires, bitter feelings, rage, anger and defiance.
The first floor is the place where we try to do the right things. We try to be nice, we try to be kind, we try to be loving and we try to impress others. It is the place where most of us as Christians live. The second floor is the place of invitation to come and be a part of the presence of God. It’s the place of moving beyond doing the right thing to becoming the right thing. You see it’s one thing not to steal, but its something else to become honesty. I want to know honesty in my life. That’s where Pastor Toby was telling me I could move to last week in her message
The other side of me does not want me to climb the stairs. It wants me to come back down to the basement where it is in control and allow it to run rampant on the first floor. The other side of me is nothing more than my selfish pride, which is demanding to be satisfied to protect my own self interest. It’s the part of me that can never go upstairs to the second floor. Worse than that, it is the part of me that tells me I don’t need to go to the second floor and my life is fine just as it is.
Pride is probably the best name for the other side of me. We find a good description of pride in our New Testament reading when James gives a warning to us who go about busily planning our lives of making money, going to the mall, taking vacations and setting our calendars without recognizing, we are not in charge of tomorrow. God is. Pride is what makes us think “I deserve this, I should be able to do this, I’m entitled to this.”
It is so easy to get into trouble when we think we deserve to be where we are in life. Look at what happened with former County Commissioner Russo and all those who already pled guilty in the county corruption scandal. But at the heart of it, it was not greed that began their downfall. Rather it was pride. Pride tells us I am entitled to this because of who I am.