Summary: This message focuses on how we lose our dreams or forget what God has told us about ourselves and our children when we experience different things in our life.
What Were You Told?
Scripture: Eph. 4:22- 24; Prov. 18:21; Luke 1:11-38; Heb. 11:1
As we enter into a new year many of us have made resolutions about things we are going to do differently this year. Most of these resolutions are based on personal desires of things we would like to change about ourselves or to do differently in the New Year. Even though we make these resolutions, we often fail to commit to them and eventually return to doing things the way we have in the past. The statement “old habits are hard to break” is a very true statement. Our old habits are very hard to break. Paul statement in Ephesians 4:22-24 confirms this. In these verses he says “That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” These verses speak of us putting aside the old man (who we were prior to receiving Christ) and taking on our new nature (the nature we received after accepting Christ). In other words, break the habits of the old self and start establishing new habits. We have been tasked with making a resolution to permanently change and this is what I want to address in my message this morning.
The title of my message this morning is a question. It is “What were you told?” It is a two part question because first I want you to consider what you were told about yourself and what did you do with this information and second I want you to consider what you were told about your children (if you have them) or those children where you play a vital role in their development. When you consider what you were told about yourself or a child that you influence, I want you to focus on what God told you, not people. You might not have heard the voice of God speaking audibly to you, but it could have been a special feeling that there were things you were supposed to do with your life or something a child you influence would grow to become. The reason I want you to consider this is that we often confuse the Holy Spirit of God speaking to us with “feelings” or “intuitions” that we may have about something. As you think about your answer, I want you to also think about the answer to this second question: “What did you do with the information that was given to you?” Did you ignore it or did you act on it. Whether it pertained to yourself or to your child, what did you do with the information?
When we have children there will come a time when we will look into the baby’s eyes and consider their future, just like our parents did with us. We see them becoming a professional in whatever field they may choose to enter whether it is through entering college or developing another trade. Whatever they choose to do, we see them being successful at it. There are also times when we will “sense” that a child will do something special. We just sense that there is something special and/or unique about that child and we begin to watch them with a great expectation as to what the child will do. Our parents went through this same process for each of us and took on a responsibility to help us fulfill those dreams. The responsibility started with the parents and then shifted to us individually. As we became parents, the initial responsibility for developing our children to become what God said they were to be started with us and then as our children got older, shifted to them. Ultimately it is every person’s individual responsibility to become what God has called them to be – but it starts with the understanding of what it was that God has spoken. God has not given me the insight as to what He has for everyone present in this Church today, but I know that all of you have dreams and desires, some of which were placed within you by God. If those dreams and desires are still within you and have not been fulfilled and you know which ones are from God, what are you doing with them? It is not too late!
I. The Power Of The Tongue To Kill
We just celebrated the birth of Christ. During the holiday season we thought about Christ’s birth and how He came to enter into this world. But I want you to consider what Mary was told about His birth and life and think about what if her responses were different. Let me give you an example. I do not know of any parent who brings a child into this world and looks upon that baby and thinks “this beautiful baby is going to grow up and be a thug.” I personally do not know of any parent who sees their baby and makes the assumption that they would not do anything with their life and therefore they have no expectations for them. I am not saying that these parents do not exist; I am saying that I do not know one. But I do know parents who have children and as they get older these parents kill the dreams within their children. I do know people who have dreams but will never act on them because of things they have been told. Even if they know God has told them to do something they are locked in a closet of fear based on what people have said about them. This is the point that was made by Solomon in Proverbs 18:21 which say “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love will eat its fruit.”