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Breaking the Chains Part 2: Encounter


Recorded on August 7th, 2018

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Day 2 of Bogart UMC’s 2018 Revival, Pastor Alissa Rothschild delves into Jacob, Essau, and our tendencies to allow our wants and desires to overpower us.

Transcript of Sermon:

amen right you may be seated I love that and I don’t know where I heard it first because I probably heard it from TV how much you want to bet it’s probably true well this is the fun part of the night this is the part of the night that God has been working on inside of me for a while this part actually came weeks and weeks ago when we were talking about Jacob and Esau and then he built on it when we started talking about David and Bathsheba and then finally we get here to this night where we get to talk about how to handle sin or the temptation of sin in the moment so I will be reading for it for you from Genesis chapter 25 and we read over this a few weeks ago but we’re gonna plant ourselves and one specific portion of it the part where Jacob and Esau talked to each other where they bargain about Esau’s birthright let us hear the word of the Lord the boys grew up and Esau became a skillful hunter a man of the open country while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents Isaac who had a taste for wild game loved Esau but Rebekah the mom loved Jacob once when Jacob was cooking some stew Esau came in from the country famished he said to Jacob quick let me have some red stew I am famished and this is why he is also called Edom Jacob replied first sell me your birthright look I’m about to die Esau said what good is a birthright to me but Jacob said swear to me first so he swore and oath to him selling his birthright to Jacob then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew he ate and drank and then got up and left and so Esau despised his birthright the Word of God for the people of God thanks be to God so growing up I had a single mom and for my elementary school years from one time when I was about five to the end of fifth grade I lived with my grandparents and my grandparents were the most wonderful people on the planet of Earth truly they cared for us as if they were we were their own children they loved on us so completely and so wholly my sister’s and I had a special relationship especially with my grandmother and if you knew my grandmother even though she was from California like the rest of us you would have thought she was the perfect southern lady although I don’t know that she ever spent any time in the south at all but she loved cooking and I did and I got this does a great love for cooking from her she also loved manners and held them very very high in life we had manners books that we had to pay attention to we went to something called cotillion I don’t know if you know what that is but they teach you correct ways of eating and all of that and she also loved the theater and she loved the theater so much that even though we did not have a lot she made it a priority for her to take herself my mother my sisters and I to the theater at least once a year and one year when I was about 10 or 11 years old I we were it was the day for us to go see babes in toyland it was our yearly theater date as a family and that afternoon it was a Saturday so I spent the afternoon playing with a friend and as the time got closer to when I was supposed to go home and get ready for the play I decided I no longer wanted to go to the play I wanted to stay at my friend’s house because I thought if I stayed just a little bit longer at my friend’s house she might invite me to stay over the night which for whatever reason I want to do very badly so I called my mom and I talked her into letting me stay and I have no idea how that conversation went honestly because I know the tickets cost a lot of money I know they cost money that we really didn’t have and I know that this was something that we really treasured as a family but I was also a very stubborn strong-willed child imagine that so I don’t know how I did it but I got my way well wouldn’t you know it I was not invited to stay over the night at my friend’s house in fact not only was I not invited to stay the night in my friend’s house shortly after my family left for the play I was told it was time for me to go home and I spent the night with my grandfather by myself and to this day I deeply regret the decision that I made in the moment I don’t remember that friend’s name don’t have it I tried as hard as I could I couldn’t even I don’t remember the name I don’t remember what she looked like I don’t remember what her house looked like but I do remember and I still hold this strong sense of regret for missing that moment with my grandmother in my family I also feel a lot of disappointment in myself because I know I let my grandmother down this woman who did so much to care for us who too went above and beyond to make special things happen for us I kind of just spit in the face of that by saying I’d rather not and she never mentioned it to me she never said anything to me she didn’t make me feel bad she didn’t hold it over my head but every day not every day but since then for over 30 years that has stayed with me this regret it’s something that I did wrong in the moment now granted my little 10 year old in the moment decision-making process is nothing compared to David and his moment on the rooftop as he saw Bathsheba or Esau and his moment before Jacob as he was considering giving up his birthright but that should make our points even more clearly because something so insignificant a choice that seems small in the grand scheme of life is one that stayed with me and I think that’s true for all of us and I think what we have to learn to understand is that every decision of every moment of our lives matter even the smallest of decisions matter in the big picture because once we make one decision it builds upon each other so if we make a good decision we’re more likely to make another good decision and then another good decision but if we make decisions that aren’t the best for us we’re more likely to continue on in that way in fact every decision we make builds a pattern of habit and routine inside of ourselves inside of our brain in fact we create neural pathways inside of our brain by the decisions that we make so when you make good decisions you’re creating neural pathways physical things inside your brain that tell your brain to act in a certain way and that certain way is healthy but if you make negative decisions you’re building pathways in your brain that work against you because the next time you come into a situation like that your brain is wired to make a decision that is not the best decision for you so bottom line is that we have to be intentional and thoughtful and mindful of the decisions that we make because if we just let nature take over if we just let these neuro pathways get built by happenstance we’re more likely to build neural pathways that are of this world and are from our flesh the neural pathways are gonna reflect our our desire engine more than they reflect God inside of us because what’s around us more often the world everywhere we go everything we see outside of this building almost is of this world billboards and commercials and talking at work with coworkers I mean most of our life is filled with the things of this world so your morning truly inclined to make decisions that go along with the world unless of course you take a minute and choose intentionally to act differently so tonight we are going to talk about how maybe just maybe if we exert some self-discipline and yes I said that ugly nasty word it should be and it should be one of the bad words in my opinion discipline is what I’m talking about because it ain’t fun right and my grandmother would have told me aints not in the body and not in the dictionary so I shouldn’t say that since we’re talking about my grandmother but anyway it’s not fun there’s nothing fun about discipline but there’s something very positive and productive about discipline and it can be very life-giving and it can end up being something you enjoy if you create neural pathways in your brain that tell you that this is something that you enjoy our goal for tonight well our goal for the whole week has been to learn how to break the bondage that this desire engine keeps us in to break the bondage of temptation in our life last night we talked about vulnerability and we talked about how Porton it is to understand when you’re vulnerable the times you’re most vulnerable the people you’re with when you’re most vulnerable we also looked at what are the strongholds in your life and it’s important to be aware of what your strongholds are and when you’re most vulnerable tonight we’re going to take that knowledge and move it forward so now that you know those things and if you haven’t done it yet you can still do the homework if you missed last night there’s handouts on the bottom back there from last night and inside the handout like today there’s a very practical little guide for you to walk through figuring out what your vulnerabilities are and what your strongholds are and then that’s the first step that goes before what we do tonight tonight we’re going to take it one step further what I’m hoping to do this week is to give you a practical way of making change happen in your life change is not easy and a lot of times we’ll talk about change we’ll talk about why we should change we’ll talk about the fact that God is with you and really you don’t have to make the change yourself you just have to actively participate in your life with God but what does that look like in real life that’s what I’m hoping to do this week is give you steps that you can actually take when you leave this place so that maybe maybe you can experience the freedom that Christ has promised you because what is our birthright our birthright is the promise of a freedom from sin and temptation our birthright is the fact that Jesus died for our sins went to hell conquered death and rose again and in Jesus rising again you and I have been set free forever all we have to do is participate in that freedom but most of us at some time in our lives if not at multiple times in our lives feel so bagged down by temptation and the weight of this world and the last thing that we feel is free and that’s because we still have a sin nature inside of us and that sin nature is hungry like we’ve been talking about right there’s never enough no matter how much you give the inside of you that wants that negative thing it’s still always going to want more so we’re going to approach God tonight knowing that he’s giving us tools to experience the freedom that was bought for us on the cross I want to pause here and pray as we get into this next moment god I ask you to fill this place with your spirit lord I pray that every stubborn heart in this place right now opens itself up to you in a way that has never been done before so that your word and your promise can shine a light of hope into the darkness of our sinful nature so that we can walk out of this place knowing that there is something more for us and knowing that we can experience it it’s not just something that’s written in the Bible it’s not just something that the great holy of holy people get to experience it’s for all of us God empty me of myself so that you can flow and radiate through my body and through my mouth maybe your words and your words only that fill this place tonight it’s in your name we pray amen so like Bathsheba like David when he was on the rooftop looking at Bathsheba ISA finds himself in a place where he is forced to make an in-the-moment decision now we’ve talked about in the past how Jacob and Esau were brothers they’re twins and from the moment that they were in their mother’s womb they were fighting for position in life and though Jacob was the second born God made a statement to Rebekah the mother that Jacob would end up ruling the family and his older brother Esau and so there was conflict between this family from the day one from before day one and when we pick up this story Esau is hungry it says that Esau came in from the open country famished now we don’t know how long he’d been out there we don’t know if he was hunting we don’t know what kind of physical work he was doing but whatever it was he was starving he was so hungry and the desire engine inside of him was telling him if he did not eat immediately he was going to die can you relate to that feeling maybe not die but something right he’s so relatable I love that about Scripture is that we’re not put forth these perfect people we’re we’re shown people who are just like you and me and we get to learn from their mistakes if we’re Jakub that wily little fox sees an opportunity here because he’s not patient and I don’t know if you’re like that but he doesn’t want to wait till this thing when he’s been promised that he gets to be in charge he doesn’t want to wait for that he thinks he can help it move along quicker by saying well if you trade me your birthright I’ll give you some of this too now I did read by some theologians that they thought that Jacob was a good cooker that didn’t make any sense but you know what I mean and I don’t know how they knew that he could cook well but apparently the food was good and Jacob saw an opportunity to take what he thought was his or what God had promised him for himself now let’s remember that the birthright is a big deal it’s not like today where it just means you’re the older and you have a little bit more responsibility no the birthright in this time and in this culture was huge the firstborn son got an extra portion of money of possessions they also got to be the ruler of the entire family unit now in this culture the family units stayed together until the day they died girls went to live with their husbands but other than that the brothers stayed the brothers wives stayed the brothers children stayed all of the slaves and the people who worked for each of those separate family units in a family all lived in one community and the person who had the birthright got the opportunity to lead that group of people so this is what is at stake this incredible gift is what is being traded in this moment so Jacob says to him well I’ll give it to you but you have to swear to me first and so Esau swore an oath to him selling his birthright to Jacob and then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew he ate and drank and then got up and left and so Esau despised his birthright what did he saw do in the moment in the moment Esau was vulnerable just like we talked about last night he was hungry he was tired he was probably mentally emotionally and physically tired and so he was vulnerable and then he finds himself in the position to make a very important decision he is tempted by the stew that is in front of him and thus in nature this desire engine that’s inside of him is screaming that he has to eat this stew or else he is going to die it is certain that that is what’s going to happen and so Esau listens to that sinful nature inside of him that fleshy desire and he sells his birthright for a bowl of stew and the sad thing is that we’ve all done this we are all like Esau we are all hungry to the point of death right now we are all hungry for something to the point of death there is this pit inside of us and it wants to be filled but the only thing that can fill it right is God but the world the people around us that sinful nature inside of us convinces us that the thing that should fill it that can fill it that will satisfy that will make us content are the things of this world things like food for me or cigarettes or sex or power achievement maybe SEC football will fill that hole for a few of you I’ve heard that could be possible our sin nature makes us believe that if we could just have more of whatever that thing is for us then life would be better I would finally be happy I would be content for the first time in my life but the empty pit cannot be filled by any of those things the empty pit stays empty until we fill it with the things of God and when we feed the desire the desire engine what have we learned it just gets hungrier and hungrier it becomes a nasty monster that we can no longer control so if you ask me I say our flesh is nothing but a liar our flesh lies to us all the time telling us that we need something that we really don’t and we want to believe it because the thing that we want is pretty good right whatever it is that hat is your stronghold is good to you it’s good it feels good or it tastes good or it seems good but it’s not so we find ourselves in the moment making decisions that like Esau for every moment of every day of the rest of our lives we will regret because I promise you that’s what happened with Esau man he was satisfied oh he ate that stew and it was so good and he drank and he ate of the lentils and the bread and he was so satisfied I’m guessing that lasted about twenty two and a half minutes if that long and then he was hungry again yet he was hungry and no longer had his birthright so moment by moment day by day we are selling our birthright for a bowl of stew we are selling the freedom we’ve been promised we’ve been selling the the peace that comes with that freedom the joy that comes with that freedom the contentment that comes with that freedom we’re giving it away for a stinking bolus do that has lentils in it yeah [Music] but we do it and we know that we do it at first I thought well if Esau had just taken a minute to think about what was happening to pause he might have made a different decision and it’s possible but I also know that you saw was human like you and me and I know that humans even though they know that isn’t the best decision to make even though they know that there’s probably going to be consequences because of that decision we still do it right why is that well it has a lot to do with what we’re going to talk about now there is hope and there’s hope because what I know is that the superpower that we need comes when we participate with God in our lives we’ve talked about how we cannot create the change we need in our life there’s not enough willpower in this world to create the kind of amazing change that is promised to us and that we need only God can create that for us but that doesn’t mean you stand around and just wait you don’t just stand there say god I’m here I mean that we’re saying Here I am Lord right it didn’t say it means Here I am Lord stay here and don’t ever move here and just come to me Lord no what God wants is for us to actively participate in our lives with him he wants us to walk with Him he does the changing he does all the heavy lifting but we have to choose to participate in that process and participating in the process is not always fun because participating in the process requires discipline so how do we win in the moment it comes from two things and this is what participation it probably comes before more than this but tonight we’re going to look at two things that I think makes participation powerful one is being prepared right knowing what’s coming well actually I’m going to go through a few one is knowing where we’re vulnerable we talked about that last night right so do at work figure out what makes you most vulnerable know those times and know how to handle that the second thing you needs to do is know what your strongholds are we talked about that last night figure out what your stronghold is then you need to figure out the one that you’re gonna work on right now because if you try and take on every single thing that’s holding you back you’re not gonna win with any of them one at a time slow and steady wins the race okay so you figure out that one so now that we’re aware of our strongholds we’re aware of our vulnerabilities and we know which one we want to try and conquer we need to look at how we take that the next step and what science tells us is that when we do things over and over again we create habits and routines we create neural pathways that that propel us to keep doing that same thing over and over again but the craziest thing about our brains and if you don’t believe in God this should convince you that God exists the craziest thing about our brains is that once those neural pathways are created they are physical structures inside your brains once they’re created you can change the physical structure of those neural pathways in your brain they’re not created there forever you can change the way that looks so that when you are tempted your brain now thinks a different way because over time you have trained it to do that and the way you do that is by this thing called the habit loop I’m gonna ask you to open up your bulletin has a little diagram for you there look at that aren’t I so nice now I learned this from an author called Charles Duhigg from the power of habit he is a reporter he is not a scientist what he did was collect all of the information from scientists and make it very accessible to readers like you and me and what he teaches and this is actually probably not from him but it’s something that he teaches in this book is that habits happen in three steps and when we do something over and over and over again it be comes the neural pathways in our mind so the first thing that happens in the habit loop is that there’s a trigger or a cue those two words go together there’s a trigger or a cue so for Esau his trigger was that he was emotionally tired he was very very hungry because it being hunting and he came upon some stew right so first he starts vulnerable and then there’s the temptation of this to you in front of him that’s his trigger for me a trigger would be something like last night when I almost killed my husband by poisoning him with cashews and I am stressed out and I get home and I feel like I’m just very anxious and I have tension all the way up to here that’s a trigger for me my brain tells me when that happens that I need something yummy and everything will be all better Jacobs brain was telling him he needed something yummy and everything would be all better so that’s the trigger the next part is that your brain tells your body what to do when that trigger happens so when you feel that way your brain is telling your body what you need to fix it some of you that’s with smoking some of you you have the trigger of I don’t have any more nicotine in me I mean needs more right now so your brain tells your body you need a smoke or some of you it’s drinking it’s the same thing where if it’s TV it’s I really need to escape this moment because I’m just so worn out so your brain tells your body you just need to turn on the TV and zone out for a little while whatever it is we all have it or some of you it’s I need a matter in this world so I need to do more accomplishing I need to do more things so people can think I’m important but the next part is is the actions the routine that happens and then the last thing is the reward this is what gets us in trouble is that there’s actually a physiological response to the action that you take to answer that trigger or that cue something happens in your body that you can feel I don’t know if you’ve heard this it’s all over the news these days but they can show that technology kids using technology adults using technology as actually physically releases dopamine in the brain and physiologically makes you feel better just using technology so the cue is I need to feel better the response is the action is I’m going the routine is I’m going to look at my I’m going to look at social media for a while and their reward is the release of dopamine the best thing about this process is that we don’t have to worry about two of these things the best thing about this is that the only thing we need to do in order to participate in order to enact change in our lives is to look at number two the routine because here’s the thing the queues are going to happen none of us are holy enough to experience or to not have temptation ever temptations gonna come you don’t have to create it your brain is gonna tell you you need something some day some time it’s always gonna happen and then the reward is gonna happen when you do an action something’s gonna happen in your body to make you feel better or worse the routine is where we sit the routine is where we need to come prepared and ready for battle because what scientists will show what this work shows is that if you simply change your routine that if you do that over and over and over again I’m sorry to tell you one time won’t do it two times won’t do it probably a hundred times won’t do it but over time as you do something different when that cue happens you’re gonna rewire the actual structure of your brain so that it becomes habit and it’s something that you actually don’t ever have to think about again because it’ll become something you do by habit and some of this instead of something you have to think about doing and make happen so what does this mean to us right so what does this mean what I want to get a little practical inside that handout and I lost it on the other side is a list of things on this side of this is your take home this is your homework like last weeks this is what we do in order to change that routine we have to first prepare in advance you can’t wait till the queue happens and then think you’re gonna go to battle and win you can’t do that you have to be prepared ahead of time in order to stand toe-to-toe with temptation and win so step one is to know your strongholds we’ve talked about that step two is to know your vulnerabilities step three is to choose the stronghold that you want to kill right now so we’ve talked about those three now we’re taking it a step further you need to create a plan now I wrote in here it must be written obviously it must not it does must is an interesting choice of words nobody’s going to check it you’re not gonna get an A or an F based on whether or not you wrote it but writing it is more powerful and your brain responds better when you write something down it must be written simple and clear for example I’m going to get rid of the stronghold by doing the following so we’ve talked about how my stronghold is food and I hit my my plan is I’m going to get rid of this stronghold by eating a certain number of calories a day walking a certain number steps a day and tracking what I eat simple right but it’s also measurable so when the genie and the genie is the one who tries to rationalize bad behavior when she pops out of her bottle I know there’s three things that I need to do today I need to stick within a certain limit of calories I need to walk this many steps and I need to track my food it’s simple I can stay on task then the next thing you need to do this is all preparing right you do this ahead of time so that in the moment you can stand toe-to-toe a temptation you ask yourself when I experienced temptation when I experienced that cue or that trigger I’m going to replace my normal routine with this routine and we’ll get into that a little bit deeper down here so I’m gonna wait for a minute there but just know that the second thing you need to do is know what you’re replacing your routine with the third thing you do is choose a few scriptures to memorize to speak God’s truth into your desire what I have learned is that the rationalization Genie is one smart little girl and she knows all the words you want to hear too you into doing the thing that that one part of you really wants to do she knows you deserve it so much cuz even working hard and she knows that you were tired and worn out and she knows that if you just had a little bit you’d feel so much better she’s got some good fancy words and your little thoughts aren’t enough to take her down only the truth of God can speak straight into those lies you know when it in Ephesians when it talks about the armor of God the only proactive weapon is the sword of the Spirit which is what the Word of God only the Word of God is strong enough to pierce the lies that we have been buying into you for almost our whole lives so it’s worth just start with one one verse and it can be the one verse that you say over and over every time this temptation comes step 5 is to be certain of your plan because if you’re not certain you’re going to waver you’re gonna waver if you’re not certain that this is something you want to do you will easily be talked down from it because it’s not easy and this world wants us to just kind of float and relax and if it feels good do it we talked about the diet coke commercial right drink this bad nasty thing that can cause cancer well because what because I can you have to be certain that this is something you want to do and being certain isn’t as much as telling yourself 10 25 times a day I’m certain this is what I want to do I’m certain this is what I want to do all right that’s all it takes so in the moment what do we do in the moment so in the moment I have these four steps and I’ve been practicing them for two-and-a-half days and it’s going okay no 1 and a half days yesterday and half of today it got me through last night after I’m gonna say this one more time and I promise I won’t say it again after I almost killed my husband but it got me through last night the first thing you do is say no and I’m gonna amend this and if I ever rewrite this again I’m going to add some people the word no is very constricting and I’m one of those people who naturally rebels against the word no if you tell me I can’t do something that I really really really want to do it if you’re one of those people don’t tell yourself no what you say instead is well I could do that but do I really want to you make it a choice not a command some of you really need that some of you when you’re forced with the know it is harsh and it makes it harder to stick with it so instead you say well yeah I could I could eat that but is that what I really want to do first thing you do so the first thing you do is you capture their thought you hold it captive the second thing you do is that you speak truth to the lie you say that Bible verse in your head or you could say it a lot loud I’ve done both then the next thing you do is you replace the routine with the new routine now this is the hard part because it takes a while to find a new routine that works for you but you have to stick with one long enough for it to have any effect so the one that I’ve come up with is that when I feel the need to have that tactile eating I don’t know dopamine release I’m gonna drink a cup of tea now there’s nothing about me that thinks a cup of tea is just as good as a piece of cake I promise you and I know that the reward immediately that dopamine release that feeling that we get when we eat something or do something that we don’t want to do but it feels so good in the beginning I know it’s not going to be the same in the beginning with the tea but what science shows us and what God tells us is that over time that will become the new thing that you want it just takes consistency it takes sticking in there but if you try tea for like two months and it’s really not cutting it and you’re really struggling alright try something else or I did think today I need a few different ones because we talked about vulnerability and your differently vulnerable in different areas so when I’m driving I like us I’m vulnerable because I like to snack while I’m driving long distances that is so what I’m gonna do for that routine is have something ready right I’m gonna make it so that I’m not as vulnerable Esau could have done this when he went to the wilderness guess what he could have brought food with him and then he wouldn’t have been starving when he came out and he wouldn’t been nearly as vulnerable right so you have to be thoughtful about what you’re gonna do in the moment because if you’re making the decision in the moment you don’t have that all the tools that you need and then step four is to repeat and then to repeat again and then to not give up because you’re really gonna want to give up and then to repeat and then when you do mess up because guess what you are going to go off track at one time or another when that does happen you just get right back up and say it’s okay it’s okay I’m not going to stop because I messed up because that’s what I do when I mess up is this what you do when you mess up do you say oh well I had a burger today so I may as well have ice cream tonight and then maybe someone tomorrow morning and then tomorrow I’ll get back on the plan and then you get to tomorrow and you’re like well we have that potluck today so I’m gonna wait till after the pot Luck’s over and then after the Pollack’s over then I think I right it becomes a snowball and then all of a sudden you’re three years later and you’re still not back on track the key here is consistency Jesus our hope our Savior was led by the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness and after 40 days and 40 nights of fasting the devil showed up and tempted Jesus every time you are tempted you can find rest and knowing that Jesus has felt exactly what you’re feeling right now in fact Esau was so hungry to the point of death but I have a hard time believing he was hungrier than Jesus who hadn’t eaten in 40 days and in 40 nights and the first thing that the devil says to Esau it says to Jesus is well you know you could eat you could turn these stones to bread and Jesus answers right back stands toe-to-toe with temptation doesn’t run away doesn’t turn his back on temptation no he faces it head-on and he says that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God toe to toe and then devil says well he doesn’t give up because they don’t give up right that desire engine is not going to give up til it gets what it wants and the devil says well you know what if you’re the son of God why don’t you just throw yourself down off of this building because the devil quotes scripture back to him he tries to push back on what Jesus is doing the devil says that the scripture says that God will command his angels concerning you and they will lift up your lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against the stone but that Jesus says face-to-face with temptation it is written do not put your Lord God to test and then the last thing that the devil tries to tempt Jesus with is power and ambition the devil showed him all of the kingdoms of the world and their splendor when the devil said I will give these to you if you will bow down and worship me and every temptation that comes before you my friends is asking you to bow down and worship it because that’s what we’re doing when we can’t let something be a stronghold in our lives when we let something have our hearts and our minds we are bowing down to that temptation and we are letting it be an idol in our lives and Jesus says away from me Satan for it is written worship the Lord your God and serve him only our hope tonight is that in Christ we have the same ability to stand toe-to-toe with our temptation and rise victorious it is a promise for you it is a promise for me we are promised freedom and as we experience freedom in our lives as we become consistent with not bowing down to other idols we become better light bearers we become people who can take the good news into this community into this world in a whole new way and lives are changed simply because you’re being consistent in your life with God because you’re making teeny tiny decisions that make a difference so you have to choose today whether or not you believe that all of your decisions are important or not if you do and if you want to change these are some ways that that can happen but what I know is this freedom is a promise that is made to you and I know in the times when I’ve experienced in my life I have never been happier or more content than when I am exerting self-discipline and walking in the spirit with my god let’s pray Lord we ask you to break these chains of bondage that we have in our lives we ask you to show us where we are bowing down to idols that are not you God we ask you for help and hope as we take on this process of doing the hard thing of being disciplined of replacing routines with something new God as we walk forward in faith may you meet us there hold our hands and direct our way it’s in the name of Jesus that we proclaim the wind that I know is in the future for each one of us amen

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