Summary: This message looks at the two of Jesus's parables on the danger of half-heartedness.
I Just Need A Little Help: Will Jesus just fix my problem. . . and leave the rest of my life alone?
- Often when people call on God, they’re not looking to make a big change. They just need a little help with a problem.
- They’re not looking to put God first in everything; they just want Him to keep them from getting laid-off.
- They’re not looking to “take up their cross and follow Him”; they just want Him to pull their 23-year-old back from the drug lifestyle He’s in.
- They’re not looking to make God the love of their lives; they just want Him to heal the cancer.
- What they’re basically saying is this: “Just fix my problem, God, please. . . and leave the rest of my life alone!” (Not that they’d be so rude as to say it like that.)
- This is not to say they aren’t sincere in their prayers. It’s not say they aren’t contrite and even humble in their prayers. They know they need His help. That’s the reason they’re asking – they don’t have anywhere else to turn!
- But within that sincerity and humility there is also a clear understanding that they are not interested in a larger change of lifestyle or a shift in who is usually calling the shots.
- We want help without giving up control.
- Note: I am not saying that if we start with one problem, while being open to God for whatever else He has in mind, that He won’t start there with us.
- I am saying that if we go to Him for a quick fix for one part of our lives while keeping the doors closed to the other parts of our lives, that’s not a plan that works very well, either from God’s willingness to do that or from the success of that arrangement if He does help us.
- As I think we’d all agree, this (wanting help without giving up control) is a very common way that people approach God. So our passage today, which outlines Jesus’ thoughts on that approach, is an important one. Maybe that’s why it was “truth worth repeating” three times (in three gospels).
Two Ways We Would Like This To Happen:
- This brings us to our passage for this morning. The two brief parables He tells here are obviously similar in their point, but there is a slight difference between the two.
1. I want Him to just fix one part of my life while leaving the rest alone.
- Mark 2:21.
- If you try to sew a patch of unshrunk cloth onto a old garment, the subsequent washing and shrinking will create an even worse tear. What does that mean as far as our spiritual lives go?
- I think this points to those times when we want God to fix one part of our lives while leaving the rest alone.
- “Will You fix my marriage, but leave my porn habit alone?”
- “Will You fix my kids, but leave my anger problem alone?”
- “Will You fix my bitterness, but leave my envy alone?”
- But asking God to fix one part of my life while not touching the rest is like trying to sew a piece of new cloth onto an old garment. It’s not going to work – the end result is going to be an even bigger tear.
- Let’s talk about some specific examples:
a. Like trying to sew self-control onto my heart that’s embraced the “me-first” culture.
- Let’s say I have an anger problem. I yell in traffic daily. I sometimes even bang a table at work or let an argument with my spouse escalate into regrettable words being shouted back and forth.
- What I need is some self-control. That’s the patch of new cloth that I want God to bring into my life.
- The problem is that the rest of my life has been organized around the “me-first” idea. I believe I should have what I want when I want it. I believe the world owes me. I believe I should not be inconvenienced. And therefore I get upset when things don’t go the way I want them to.
- Now, how can I expect to have self-control in one area of my life (anger) while simultaneously wanting unlimited self-expression in the rest (what I want is most important). The two ideas are incompatible. In fact, they’re pulling in opposite directions.
- Now, I may be sincere in wishing I would quit having road rage. But I am naïve to think that I can accomplish it in one area of my life while wanting the exact opposite way in the rest of my life.