Monday, April 18, 2011

The Ugly Truth

There's so many thoughts racing around in my brain right now, it's hard to know where to even begin. I just got home from C4, and I tell you...God is seriously at work. Tyson did a great job with the message tonight and was brutally honest...which is something I think we all needed. Tyson's message tonight was called The Ugly Truth...and I have to say, my head is spinning...it was an incredible message...

John 8:31-32 "To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”"
  • Our perception of ourselves and reality can be two completely separate and contrasting things. It may not be fun to hear but the truth is the only thing that will give you freedom.
  • As Christians, we are notorious for putting on a religious facade and making our lives look wonderful even when inside, our lives are the farthest thing from wonderful and we are struggling and hurting.
Matthew 23:25-28 "“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness."

  • We are so concerned with how people see us than with how God sees us. Our image tends to be more important to us than being honest and real. "As long as everyone thinks it's all good...then everything is okay." We have a tendency to act like nothing is wrong. Unbelievers see us and think "what's wrong with me?" because all they see of us is happiness...all they are looking at is a false image. We’re like the Pharisees who make sure the outside looks good, while the inside is broken and nasty. When you deal with life at the core…when we clean the inside – the part that no one sees – the outside cleans itself.
  • As long as we hide our pain and our sin, we'll never be free. Jesus laid it all down...he gave up all of his fame, all of his glory to come down to us. We will never experience freedom if we hide when we are hurting and dying inside. We all have things in our lives that hurt us and try to drag us away from the cross...we need help to surrender those things. 
  • We can't minister to people when we act like nothing is wrong. If you want God to use your life to minister to others, then you have to be real...stop acting like you've got it all together. Be humble about your weakness and struggles...2 Corinthians 12:9 says "“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." 
  • The devil wants to isolate you - he wants us to keep everything inside, he wants us to push people away and hurt alone...but this is the opposite of the gospel! If we rely on our own strength to get us through this season of life - we won't make it. We have to be open enough to love each other. We are the body of Christ - we need support and help. No matter how dark our past is...no matter what we've done or been through, we are not alone! 1 Corinthians 10:13 says: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
  • That way is truth...
  • So often we become familiar...we just go through the motions with our switch on "Happy" so that people don't ask questions...and it's a dangerous place to be. We think we know it all or have heard it all before...but God still speaks to you - are you still listening? We don't just get familiar with church...we get familiar with our sin. When you sin...the first time it hurts, it crushes your soul. But after a while...after repeated offenses, our conscience wears down and gets weaker and quieter until we become numb to sin. If we ignore it, it makes us numb to it. 
  • Proverbs 28: 13-14 says "He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble." If we confess and surrender what is inside of us, then God is merciful and forgives us.
  • The truth can be ugly but when we deal with it...it sets us free. Though the truth in your life may be ugly (either your past or your present truth)…the God we serve…he is the God that makes ugly things beautiful. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Everything is made beautiful in God’s timing…we don’t have to stay bound and hidden…God’s name is the only name that breaks our chains…it’s the only name by which we are saved.
Tyson’s message really got to me…I’m realizing there are some things in my life that I need to be honest about if I’m ever going to be free or ever effectively going to minister to anyone. I think that my happy fa├žade has been a hindrance to my relationships with other people…perhaps even preventing me from sharing the gospel effectively. By hiding what’s going on in my life, I’m not accurately portraying life as a Christian. Even as a Christian, life is still painful and rough and sin is still an every moment battle. If I put up a front that says life is perfect and I never sin or struggle – then I’m not serving anyone (including myself). If I hide my struggles, I’m creating a false image that will be disheartening to an unbeliever. When they look at my “life” and compare it to their own, they will lose hope and think “what is wrong with me!?” If someone buys into that happy front, then they will be disappointed that life was not magically transformed and their troubles automatically dissolved…they need to come to Christ based on an honest understanding rather than a disillusioned image.
We condemn others if they see “perfect”. They think that there is no hope. They need to see the truth, the ugly truth – they need to see that we don’t have it all together and our lives are not where they should be. We have to surrender what is dying inside of us. It’s okay to be weak. No matter what decisions we’ve made or things we’ve done…God’s strength can still be made perfect in our lives. We have to be weak though. No matter how ugly it is, stop hiding it…share what is dying so that you can be free. You don’t have to be perfect for God to use you…if God waited until we were perfect to use us…he’d never use any of us…ever. There is hope…because of Him I have reason to live, to be a part of something greater.

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