Hands folded in prayer
Hands folded in prayer

Principles of Prayer Part 3

RS : Instead, come back to what we’ve been doing, and I really enjoy doing, is going through some of the parables, and the parable we’re going to look at, some might not even call a parable, it’s more of an illustration that Jesus uses, but many consider it to be a parable even though it’s not a really prominent one. This is a really powerful lesson today, and I’m going to introduce the parable in somewhat of an unorthodox way, so bear with me. This is something I’ve always found fascinating. I’m going to read a verse to you. This verse, I read at my Dad’s funeral. It’s Psalms 139:16. It says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance, and in your book were all written the days that were ordained for me when as yet there was not one of them.” You read throughout the Bible, guys, in both the Old and the New Testaments, is that God has this book, and He’s got things recorded in the book, and what you’ll see, it says, it’s called in the New Testament, you see the words Book of Life , and its crucial, guys, that our names are written in the Book of Life. And this is leading us to a verse in the Old Testament, which is part of our introduction, and I thought you’d find this interesting. From Jase over to here, let’s look up Revelations 20:15, and from Robert over to here, Philippians 4:3, and then I’m going to read Luke chapter 10, verse 20. Revelations 20:15, Drew. 

Drew: “If anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

RS: You want your name to be in the Book of Life. You really do. All right, Brad, I’m sorry.

Brad: Philippians 4:3. “Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”

RS: The book of life. Jesus in Luke 10:20, says, “N evertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice in this, that your names are recorded in heaven.” There’s this record, this book of life. It’s called in the Old Testament, the book of remembrance. And basically for us today, when a person becomes a Christian, his name is written in the book of life. Now, in the Old Testament, we see something very interesting about this book of life, this book of remembrance. And it’s going to be easy to find, because it’s in the book of Malachi. And let me tell you where the book of Malachi is. Anybody know where it is? It’s the last book of the Old Testament. Next to Matthew. So, go to Malachi 3, and we’re going to read verses 16 through 18. Malachi 3:16-18. All right, Jeffrey, you got that?

Jeffrey: “Faithful few, the book of remembrance. Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.”

RS: I find those last words that Jeffrey read to be quite powerful, because he says, this is how you can distinguish the people of God. He says, you have those who serve Him, and those who do not serve Him. And that’s what this parable that we’re going to read this morning is about. It’s called “The Servant”. And as we’ve considered different metaphors over the years to describe our relationship between God and us, here’s a new one. He is our Master and we are to serve Him. Does anybody remember, really quickly, the last words that David gave to Solomon? (Audio drops out) and the last instruction, the very last instruction he gives to his son Solomon who he is passing the torch on to, and he’s saying Solomon, this is the key of life. He says, this is what he says, I Chronicles 28:9, he says, “Know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind.” And then he goes on to say, “If you seek Him, Solomon, He will let you find Him. He is there to be known.” Think about it. He didn’t say, Solomon, let me tell you the key to being a great King. Or a great husband. Or, Solomon, let me tell you about being a father. Which, all are important. It’s like he’s saying, Solomon, if you will know the God of your father, and if you will serve Him with your life, everything else will fall into place. And so, what I want to challenge us with today is to think in terms of your life. What is our life all about? It’s so easy to say, well I’m a businessman. But, in thinking the other day, I’ll just share this, this is a personal note, I was just thinking the other day, you know, and this has application to wherever you are in life, whether you are working or retired or whatever, but I thought, what is my mission in life. What is it that I would really like to see kind of as my mission? I was walking and praying the other day, and there were three things. The first was that I really want to serve God with my life, whether I’m here at the Center, or as a husband, or as a father, but I want to serve Him with my life, I want to labor in the harvest, and I love that part in Micah, and I want to walk humbly with my God. The importance of humility. And that’s it. And I would ask you today to think about what is your life about, because I don’t care wherever you are, He wants you to be His servant out in the world. And as we get into this parable, you’ll see it seems pretty harsh at first, but it’s really just kind of showing us a component of the Christian life. So, let’s turn to the Parable of the Servant. It’s Luke 17:7-10. We’re going to read it, and then I’m going to spend a few minutes explaining it, and you’re going to see it has a really good application to us, a really good theological application as well. Charlie Haynes, you want to read for us?

Charlie: “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

RS: Thank you. You know, again this seems rather harsh. Harsh might not be exactly the right word, but it seems kind of, it’s real matter of fact-like, and the bottom line is a Christian is a servant and he serves the Lord with his life. This is not an option we have guys. This is what we’re supposed to do. And this is really, it’s about our duty as Christians. I don’t know about you, but I find that word “duty” is not a real popular word in our culture, because we’re a culture that’s into freedom. And therefore, it seems like duty goes against my freedom. I’ve got to be dutiful. But as we think about this idea of being a servant to God, serving Him, serving others, you remember what Jesus tells us in Matthew 23:11? Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of God? The servant, the one who serves. And so what duty means, is that there are certain obligations we have regardless of how we feel, regardless of the consequences to us. Now, some of your translations, some say servant, and some say slave. Now, I looked up the actual Greek word, and it’s the word Doulos, and you may not be aware of it, but there’s a really wonderful ministry here in Birmingham called Doulos , and it means bondservant or bondslave. This is not an employer employee relationship.

But, to really understand it, I want to share with you some words from a commentator that commentated on this. He said, “This is the story or a parable of a farmer who has a small farm. And on this farm he has one farmhand, and that one farmhand is a servant. This farmhand goes out to work all day, but when the farm hand comes in, does the farmer say, let me get you something, or would you liked some iced tea, why don’t you put your feet up. No, the farmer says, you have more work to do. When it’s all done, the servant doesn’t expect anything from the master. Rather the servant says, I’m just doing my job. I have only done my duty. I don’t need pats on the back. I don’t need anybody to give me a watch when I retire. It doesn’t matter to me because I’m only doing my duty. In other words, the servant is somebody who says to the master, and this is the heart of the parable, he says, you owe me nothing.” I want you to think about that for a second and then we’ll come back to it. You really owe me nothing. Do you know why that happens? This isn’t an employee. One of the difficulties we, as Americans, have when we read the Bible and we see that word servant or slave, we read it thought the grid of American slavery and the slavery we know something about in our history. The slavery we know something about in America was not only race-based, but the master owned the person of the slave, and therefore had complete power over that slave and could do whatever he wanted. When you ever see the word slave or slavery in the Bible, that’s not what – it’s not talking about American slavery.

Most slaves or servants in the Old Testament were called indentured slaves or indentured servants. This servant was somebody who had fallen into debt. Back then, they didn’t have such a thing as bankruptcy. We’ve talked about this before. In bankruptcy, the government legally dissolves all debts. If you declare bankruptcy, the government declares your debts are gone. But back then, people didn’t think that was right, or just, so, if you fell into debt, or developed debt, far greater than what you could pay, you either went to debtor’s prison, or you could go into service to your creditor until the debt was paid off. Which means the creditor owned your labor but not your person. And therefore, he owned your labor until the debt was paid off. And we’ve talked about that. They had a certificate of debt and they stamp it, remember all that. Very significant in our theology, because they would stamp it “teleo”, paid in full, which is what Jesus yelled out right before he died on the cross. “Teleo”, saying our sins are paid in full. But this is what we really have a hard time getting guys. For some reasons, as Christians, once we become a Christian, and God, He’s our Father, and we His child, we somehow think that He owes us, but He really doesn’t. The truth of the matter, if you think about it, we owe Him everything. We owe Him everything. And you know who got this better than anybody? The apostle Paul. Turn to I Corinthians 6. This is really, really powerful stuff. This message this morning is not bad news, its kind hard news, but the second half of the study is the good news. It’s the great paradox of all this. I need to put this in context. Paul is writing this to the church in Corinth and Corinth had a real problem. They had a real problem with sex issues, and Paul, in I Corinthians 6, is writing to the church about the body of a Christian and keeping your body holy, and look what he says in verses 19 and 20. Tom Wall?

Tom: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who you have within you, and you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price, therefore, glorify God in your body.”

RS: You hear what he says at the end of 19, guys. You are not your own. In other words, as a Christian, you don’t own yourself. Then he goes on and says what? You have been purchased, bought with a price. And Peter tells us what that price is in I Peter 1:19-20, when he says, our lives were redeemed and purchased, not with silver and gold, but with the precious blood, as with a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. And this is a hard thing for people to grasp. My life is not my own? You’ve got to be kidding me! Yes, Bill?

Bill: Can I ask you a question? I remember as a child, I was a preacher’s kid in a small town, and the Methodist preacher’s kid in a small town would quote this to me about your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and I think he probably thought I was doing things that weren’t right with my body to glorify the Holy (Spirit). How do you interpret that passage, because I know people take that literally a lot.

RS: Well, what it means is that when we become Christians, it’s just like when you get married, you say to your spouse when you get married, you know what you’re saying to them, I’m giving myself completely to you. All of me, everything. And we get that when it comes to marriage, and we really understand that. And I think most people don’t have a problem with that, and if they do, they don’t ever get married, they stay a bachelor. But you recognize to have a union with another person, both people have to come and give themselves. And so that’s what we do when we come to Christ. And basically, he says your body is a temple. And do you know why it’s called a temple, he uses that language? Because in the Old Testament, where would God meet with the people? In the temple. And that’s the way it was until Jesus comes along and He refers to Himself as the temple, His Body. He says tear this temple down and in three days, we’ll rebuild it. You remember that? During that period, God resided in Jesus. And now, guess what? Once Christ leaves, what does He say? It’s a good thing that I’m leaving, because when I leave, I’m going to leave the Holy Spirit and He’s going to come and reside in you and therefore, our bodies are the temple of God, where the Holy Spirit resides. I think Bill, what he’s saying is our bodies are important, they really are, and we are to care for them.

We are to look after the temple of God that we’ve been given. I’m going to read this from the NIV, and I’m going to read Titus 2:11-14. Listen to it as it relates to what we’re saying. Paul says, ” For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say No to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” alright, this is important, listen to this, verse 14, “Who gave Himself for us.” Some translations say He gave Himself to us. Go back to the marriage. When you get married, you give yourself. Each of you give yourself to each other. Well, here we’re talking about God says I gave myself to you at the cross, and that’s why we’re called to give ourselves to Him. “He gave Himself to us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.” The question is, guys, do we see ourselves this way? Are we His servants? Do we belong to Him recognizing we don’t’ belong to ourselves? It’s crucial to understand this. Tim Keller likes to say it this way. As businessmen, you can understand this. He says, “Too many people, even Christians, see God as their consultant, and we’re the client.” And so we tell Him we’ll listen to you as our consultant, and then we’ll decide if we’re going to follow your advice. He says this is our problem as Christians. We think that God owes us a good life. That God owes us a life that is trouble free and happy. And when that doesn’t’ come to pass, we get angry, and then we begin a vicious cycle of making life more painful. One of the really fine counselors in this town, told me that this happens in the lives of Christians. That we think God owes us and when things don’t go our way, we get angry, and he said it’s one of the sources of real depression in people’s lives. He said, somehow, we’ve come to believe that God owes us me a better life than I got. We’re going to talk about how to overcome that. Anybody have a comment or question on anything I’ve said? Are you with me?

Unidentified audience member: It’s interesting, Keller’s consultant analogy, somebody you hire, a consultant. You take their input, but you make a decision whether or not you use it.

RS: That’s exactly right. I’m going to use this part, but I don’t think this really applies to us, and that’s what he’s saying, that’s the way we approach God. Give me your advice, tell me what I need to hear God, give me your consulting advice, and then let me decide, and yeah, I will implement that, but that, uh, nah, I’m going to put that aside. And from this parable you read, that’s not the way it works.

Unidentified audience member: A lot of the times with a consultant, you think they don’t really understand my question.

RS: God, you don’t really understand what I’m going through.

(Laughter)

Unidentified audience member: No, you talk too much, you say too much.

RS: Keller wrote a really great book, if you haven’t read it, it’s a short little book, one of his first books, it’s called The Prodigal God . Any of you read it? It’s about the parables of the two brothers, the prodigal son. And he shares a great story that kind of gives some understanding here. It’s a really good story. Keller says, “Some years ago, I met a woman who began coming to Redeemer, the church where I minister. She said, I had gone to church growing up, and she had always heard that God accepts us only if we are sufficiently good and ethical. She had never heard the message that she was now hearing in our church, that you are accepted by God by sheer grace, through the work of Christ, regardless of anything that you have done. She says, you know, Dr. Keller, that’s kind of a scary thought to me. It’s a good scary though. And he says, what do you mean? What’s so scary about unmerited grace? She replied something like this, well, if I was saved by my good works, then there would be a limit of what God could put me through, because I’d be like a taxpayer with rights. I would’ve done my duty and I would deserve a certain quality of life and eternal life. But, if it’s really true that I’m a sinner saved by sheer grace at God’s infinite cost, then there is nothing He can’t ask of me. She could see immediately that the wonderful beyond-belief teaching of salvation by sheer grace had two edges to it, that double-edged sword. On the one hand, it cuts away slavish fear; He loves us freely, despite our flaws, despite our failures, that we are saved by grace through faith, not a result of good works. But that leads us to the other hand. The other side of the sword. She knew that if Jesus had really done this for her, if He had really completely given Himself to us at the cross, she said she realized that she was not her own, that she had been bought with a price, and that was the scary part, and that is scary.” This idea of me giving my self completely to Him, He is my master and I am His servant. It can be frightening, guys. But now, we’re going to kind of move into the good news. The part that really makes sense of all of this. And, before we do, I want to show you how Paul really got this. He really did understand this. Turn to Acts 20:24, and, as we’re turning, if you’ve got a comment or question, speak up. Dennis, how about reading that for us, Acts 20:24.

Dennis: “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me , if I only may finish the race the Lord Jesus has given me —the task of testifying to the Gospel of God’s grace.”

RS: How does Paul regard his life? What does it say in that first sentence?

Unidentified audience member: It’s worth nothing.

  1. Nothing. My life counts nothing to me. What he’s saying is, and the reason is, because my life is His. In the NAS, it says, I don’t consider my life as any account as dear to myself. Then turn over to Acts 27:23. If you read this passage, it’s kind of interesting. Paul is on a ship, and the ship is sinking. It’s going down in a storm, but he says don’t worry, because I’ve been told nobody is going to perish. He says, an angel told me this. And look at the way he puts it. Look what he says to them. Butch.

Butch: ” Last night an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve stood beside me.”

RS: That’s good. All he said, think about it, all he had to say was an angel of God came and stood beside me last night and told me this. But Paul doesn’t say that, he makes it clear. What do we know about his relationship to God?

Butch: To Whom I serve.

RS: Yeah. To Whom I belong and to Whom I serve with my life. You know, another good example of this, and one of my favorites, in fact this should be scripture you go to when things are not going well in life, and they are not going according to your plan. I always get encouraged, I go back, and this is really good to tie all this together, in Luke 1, we talked about this back in January, when Mary, remember Mary? The Virgin Mary? Here she is. She’s got this perfect picture of her life in the future. She’s engaged to Joseph, she is going to marry the fine carpenter Joseph, and they’re going to have a great family, a nice home, white picket fence, you know, just the perfect life, and all of a sudden, this angel shows up and blows her picture out of the water and tells her you’re going to be pregnant. And, what was her response? How could this be?

Unidentified audience member: She was greatly troubled.

RS: She was greatly troubled. How could this be? I’ve never been with a man. In other words, I’ve never had sex before. How could I get pregnant? And he said, the Holy Spirit is going to come upon you. Now, I’m going to tell you, she was a young girl. She was, most everybody believes Mary was a teenager. And most teenage girls, to hear this, in that culture, to be pregnant and not married, was brutal. But what was Mary’s response? She surrendered. She says, depending on your translation, “I am the bondservant of the Lord. Be it done to me according to Your Word.” You see, Mary wasn’t saying, I deserve better than this. You don’t hear that do you? You see, it’s a surrender. You see, guys, if we can get, this is what I hope you can take hope with you today. If we can get rid of the assumption that God owes me a good life and we can replace it with a servant attitude, like Mary, I am your servant, I may not understand what’s going on right now, but I am here to serve you. It can radically change your life. But in order for this to happen, guys, we have to move away from this idea of conditional servant, the consultant idea, to complete servanthood, my life is completely yours. Really, what you do when you get married. We’ve talked about this. You have two basically holy covenant relationships in life. Your relationship with your God, and your relationship with your spouse. And in both of them, you give yourself completely to both of them in order for the relationships to really thrive. And ultimately, we’re called, and Jesus isn’t asking us to do something that He Himself didn’t do. In Mark 10:45, Jesus Himself, what does He tell us, is this the example we’re supposed to follow? For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and give His life a ransom for many. And this is what I want to share with you guys over the next 10 minutes or so. This is the way we were designed to live. This is the way we were designed to live. To give and to serve. This is where the great irony is. This is where the great paradox lies, that when we truly give ourselves to Him, as we truly give ourselves to our spouses, as we seek to truly give and serve in this life, this is what leads to our own experience of a high quality of life. It’s the byproduct, It leads to what Jesus called (audio drops out) life (audio drops out) in your life, (audio drops out). Any comments? Any questions.

Jeffrey: Change the I deserve, to I serve. Take the “de” out.

RS: Yeah, and that’s it. That’s good, Jeffrey. I’m not that creative. That’s good.

(Laughter and unintelligible chatter)

RS: Very good Jeffrey, very good. You know, C.S. Lewis said that this was one of the most enlightening things that he ever learned, once he had surrendered his life to Christ. It’s like a light bulb had come on. And this is what he learned. This is what he realized, and of course, he has way of saying things, he said, “Real personality, finding your real personality, finding your real self, involves losing yourself in your relationship to the Creator. Until you’ve given up yourself to Him, you will never have a real self.” In other words, do you know what he’s saying, you will never find out who you really are and who you were meant to be. And he said the verse in scripture that had a real impact on him was Matthew 10:25. Where Jesus says, whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. And again, this seems so radical. This seems so counterintuitive. To any human being, the thought of losing your life, because the idea of surrendering your life and losing your life to God means I’m no longer free, and therefore, there’s no way I can ever be happy, if I give up my freedom. As we’ve talked before, that’s how you find your freedom in this relationship. This is the problem. People’s mentality is I can never be happy if I don’t have my freedom, and yet the problem is, in the world that we live in today, human beings are finding happiness to be so elusive. Do you realize that our generation, us right here, the rate of depression is ten times greater than the rate of our parents’ generation? What’s going on? People are searching for happiness and they can’t find it. And Tim Keller puts this so well. This is so good I’m going to read it to you twice, just a sentence or two. He says, “If you expect this world to give you happiness, you will be utterly disappointed because you will be asking the world to give you something it cannot give.” Let me read that again. “If you expect this world to give you happiness, you will be utterly disappointed because you will be asking the world to give you something it cannot give.” Now, the world (audio drops out) a lot of pleasure, a lot of (audio drops out), but it leaves the heart empty. I want to close with two final thoughts, as we really kind of tie all this together, and this first thing, I find to be very powerful. I wrote some of it, but I got a lot of it from somebody else, so, if it sounds familiar, I wrote this in one of the blogs I did in January, so, if you’ve read my blog, this may sound familiar, if it doesn’t sound familiar, it means you’re not reading my blog.

(Laughter and chatter)

RS: Jase can tell. With our analytics, we know what all of ya’ll are doing.

(Laughter and chatter)

RS: If you aren’t reading my blog, maybe this will encourage you to read it. Think about the issue of commitment. The issue of commitment. Whenever you truly commit to something or someone, you have to give up something in the process. In one sense you can see it as a sacrifice. Where you forfeit something of great value for the sake of something of greater value. In our culture, the commitment we are most aware of is marriage. When a man proposes to a woman, he does so knowing he’s giving up all other relationships with single women. He’s giving up a great deal of autonomy and he’s giving up all of his assets. When you listen to the marriage vows, you recognize that you are giving all that you have and all that you are to that other person. You are telling them that I belong exclusively and permanently to you. All of me. But isn’t this what we yearn for? And we do it to experience union and oneness with another person, and, in the process, experience incredible joy. You know, I can truly say, I was telling Holly about this last night, we went out and got a bite to eat, and I said, you know, and she agreed, that when our marriage is really operating on all cylinders, that when we are truly connected, that our communication is good, every area of your life, your sex life, everything is going well, there is no greater joy in life than that relationship. The problem is it doesn’t always operate on all cylinders. Let’s face it, there are times when the marriage does not, and I don’t know about you, but, when it’s not, there’s a lot of pain there. But, in marriage, when you give up your life, you gain the ultimate human relationship. Jesus is telling us the same thing. That a new right relationship with Him is worth everything. However, He has made it clear that we must give ourselves to Him, to surrender to Him, and when we do, we will suddenly find everything that we have been searching for in this life. Elisabeth Elliott shares a wonderful illustration to help us understand this paradox. She says, “The growth of all living green things wonderfully represents the process of receiving and relinquishing, gaining and losing, living and dying. Think about it, a seed falls in the ground, but before the seed can really grow, the seed dies. It breaks open. The seed falls in the ground and it dies, and a new shoot springs up. There must be a splitting and a breaking for the bud to form. The bud lets go when the flower forms. The calyx lets go of the flower. The petals must curl up and die in order for the fruit to form. The fruit falls, splits, and relinquishes the seed. The seed falls into the ground. There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything that is given to us, unwilling to pick up when the time comes to let it go, or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul.” And then she closes with this great little illustration. She says, “Think of your life as an acorn.” Any of you have oak trees in your yard? We used to have several and it was, acorns were everywhere, in the fall, it was a real nuisance. But, if you ever picked one up and looked at it, they’re amazing little things. She said, “Think of your life as an acorn. It’s a marvelous little thing. Perfectly designed for its purpose, perfectly functional. Think of the grand glory of an oak tree. God’s intention when he made the acorn was the oak tree. When you look at the oak tree, you don’t feel that the “loss” of the acorn is a very great loss. The more you perceive God’s purpose in your life, the less terrible will be the losses or sacrifices we have to make.”

You know, that’s a great illustration, because in Isaiah, we are told that God desires for us to be oaks of righteousness. I don’t know about you, but to me, one of the most beautiful things in nature, is a big, old, powerful oak tree. For you who are golfers, that big oak tree on 17 on the west course is just always setting there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit balls into that tree but it still stands. It’s a picture of strength as any big old oak tree is, but he starts with the acorn, but the acorn has to die, and then we begin to take off and grow. Comments or questions? Charlie.

Charlie: This is really hard for us. You’re talking about total surrender, and I think that just about everybody around this table, leans on their mind in just about everything they do, but this is a heart process, and until we allow ourselves to be totally vulnerable, it’s hard for it to happen.

RS: Yes, and as you were saying this, and I’d love any of your thoughts on this, and my firs thought was going back to my own marriage. You know, the day I married my wife would be kind of a picture of the day I became a Christian, and I had no idea what I was doing, I had no idea what I was getting myself into, I mean, I was giving myself to my wife, as best as I knew how at the time, and I think that’s what happens, when you become a Christian, you come to Christ as best you know how, it’s all new. But I do know this, over time, my marriage has grown through good times and bad times, but we’re on a real serious growth track right now, and what I’m finding is, is that you become more and more deeply committed to the person you are married to over time, and I think that is what happens over here if you truly are seeking God, if you truly are, because as you seek God, as you read the scriptures, what you read over and over again, as you realize the clear necessity to do what Charlie just said is to be totally surrendered. And yet, our big problem is we want to go back to the consulting relationship and not the servant master relationship. So, I think there is the battle, but what you want to do is to be going in a direction where you are more and more surrendered as life goes by. What do you think about that Charlie?

Well, we’re about out of time, so let me close with a final thought and I’ll see if you have any final thoughts to share. One of my favorite Proverbs is Proverbs 11:25 and, in that Proverb, it says if you refresh somebody else, it says you yourself will be refreshed. Some translations say when you water other people, you yourself will be watered. What the verse is saying when you refresh or enrich somebody else’s life, the irony of it is, is that you will find your own life refreshed and enriched. This seems to be the way God designed life to work, guys. As you give and serve, it impacts the quality of your own life. Jesus even says this. In Luke 6:38, it says, give, and it will what?

Unidentified audience member: Be given.

RS: It will be given unto you. You give and it will be given unto you. You know what, ultimately, Christ is saying? Losing your life to Him will enable you to find real life and you will discover who you were meant to be. In other words, that’s the great irony, when we learn to truly surrender and lose our lives, that’s when we find the life that we’re all searching for, but most people don’t see it here. They see it something out in the world. There’s something out in the world that’s going to make me happy. And that’s why Keller says, if you expect the world to give you happiness, you’re going to be utterly disappointed, because you’re asking the world to give you something it cannot give.

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