Daniel McCoy, PhD, Editor for Renew.org, wrote a brief essay called: Practicing Periodic Disobedience. He gave a great illustration to understand what it means to be spiritual. I have borrowed pieces of his essay for today’s sermon.
When you were a kid, did you ever find yourself saying, “You’re not my boss!” to a bossy older sibling or a bossy neighborhood kid? Believe it or not, saying “You’re not my boss” can be a great spiritual habit when it comes to following Christ.
Let me explain. There are all sorts of candidates for boss over your life. Think about all the things which will control your life if given the chance. Money, pleasure, entertainment, peers, friendships, and social media easily become the overriding voice in your life if you let them. They will sit on the throne of your heart and at the control center of your mind. If you don’t control them, they will control you. Some things that are not evil in and of themselves can still have an evil influence if you let them be boss. Or how about food? If given the chance, food will dominate our choices so that we will begin to eat any and every time our body feels like it. We will need periodic trips to favorite restaurants. We will need dessert after every meal (especially after getting used to it during the Holidays).
All our wannabe bosses have the potential of controlling our lives. So how do you show a wannabe boss that it’s not your boss? The answer is this: you choose to disobey it. You refuse to submit.
This is one of the things Jesus did during His temptations in the desert. Jesus went forty days without food, and by the end of those forty days, one thing was clear: food was not going to boss Jesus. So, in the desert, when the Devil tempted Jesus with food (“Command these stones to become loaves of bread,” Matthew 4:3), Jesus didn’t waver. “It is written,” Jesus replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Food wasn’t the boss of Jesus; God, the Father, was.
Jesus gives us this example: Spiritual people choose God as their boss. We realize we are poor in spirit and in need of His spiritual kingdom blessings and He offers them to us. We mourn because of our spiritual poverty and He comforts us with His spirit’s riches. We meekly submit to His authority and He turns the earth into our inheritance. We hunger and thirst for His righteousness and He sacrifices His only begotten Son to fill us with His own righteousness. What an amazing boss is God! But He does not drag us into His kingdom or force our submission. He allows us to choose this day whom we will serve. But make no mistake, God does not allow us to choose the consequences of our choices. He is the judge. He is the Almighty who is sovereign over all. But God has chosen for us to be able to choose. By the way, not to choose is to choose not. You will serve some master. That is clear.
If you don’t make it clear who is and who isn’t your boss, you will find yourself being controlled by things like the compulsion to binge watch Netflix, the “need” to buy the latest gadget, the compulsion to fit in, the drive to feel respected by everybody.
What is running for election to be boss over your life in 2020? If it’s not God, Where will you cast your vote? If it’s not for God, then the choices are just about limitless. That can feel like freedom, but it’s actually an addiction to rebellion against God. There’s a spirit at work in this world, that will captivate your heart and your mind and will destroy you if you do not choose to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. (Eph. 2:1-3; Phil. 3:18-19; 2 Tim. 2:25-26; 2 Cor. 4:3-4). The truth is, all of us have a boss, and all of us are under spiritual authority. But the question is: who’s your boss? The Bible reveals to us that God’s kingdom of light is sovereign, over all. God is supreme. His kingdom is eternal, glorious, holy, righteous, faithful and good. The character of God’s kingdom is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. God is creator of all and ruler over all. Yet, He allows us to choose. Jesus made it clear that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. Yet, Jesus Christ allows us to choose to answer His call. His spiritual blessings are poured out on all who come to Him and answer His gospel call, all who humble themselves and submit to Him as Lord in obedient faith. God wants us to choose Him. God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Peter wrote. And Paul in 1 Timothy 2:3-6. Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” In Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus told the parable of the king who made a wedding feast for his son and invited the guests to come. When summoned to come they made excuses. Some paid no attention, others mistreated the kings servants and even killed them. They were allowed to choose, but they also paid for their choices. The king sent his army and destroyed them and burned their city. So he made his servants go out to the highways and the byways and compel others to come in. The parable ends with this verse: For many are invited, but few are chosen. It appears that the chosen of God are those who choose Him.
There is a mystery here that we may never fully grasp:
God has chosen that we have free will. God knew we would fall into sin. God knows already who will be saved. He has a book with names in it. Romans 11:32 says: For God has bound all men over to disobedience, so that He may have mercy on them all. God never made us fall, but He allowed us to fall and He knew we would fall. God designed this world to be able to experience the clash between light and darkness. God ordained that His holiness and justice, His mercy and grace be demonstrated through His creation. Perhaps this is partly why we have the blessing and burden of being able to choose. In one sense, planet earth is the Armageddon of the universe, the place where the heal of God and the head of Satan meet. The heel is bruised, but the head is crushed. This world is a spiritual battleground. No one survives it unarmed. This is the place where God’s only begotten Son became flesh and dwelt among us. It is here, on earth, that God created man and woman in His own image and likeness. Here, on this planet, God’s holy, sinless, Son was sacrificed on the cross for the salvation of all who would choose to follow the Lord, God, and surrender to Him as King. Is God your boss? Is Jesus Christ your Lord? If so, then He makes you one of His own children. He pays for your sins by the blood of His own Son. He washes you clean by Christ’s sacrifice and seals you with His own Spirit. He pours out His love into your heart and indwells your very body. He empowers you by His own Spirit within you and unites you with His children. He rescues you from the curse of sin and eternal condemnation and graciously gives you forgiveness, mercy and love. Ultimately, if you are faithful, He welcomes you into His eternal kingdom to reign with Christ on His own glorious throne forever. How’s that for perks. The word “boss” falls far short of the honor due Him. In fact, I hesitated to use the word. So, let me use Jesus’ word. Who is your master? Jesus told us that no one can serve two masters. Jesus said, “Whoever sins is a slave of sin, but if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” God’s word says, “I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, now choose life!”
Grow in your choice of obeying Christ by disobeying your fleshly impulses. Pray for greater faith and self-control by the Spirit of God within you. Start with little things:
If it’s screen time, then periodically fast from screen time. If it’s the compulsion to be respected, then periodically allow yourself to be disrespected without feeling the need to unsheathe your pride to defend your honor. If it’s the need to have things always go your way, then practice disobeying your desires and try to make someone else’s dream happen. If it’s the compulsion to argue for your political party on Facebook, then from time to time, find something the other party’s doing right, and say, “Even if I don’t agree with everything you stand for, in this case, well done.”
Finally, if we’re talking about a sinful habit or impulse, then I’m not advocating for periodically disobeying it. By God’s grace, kill it (see Colossians 3:5). But there are things in your life that can serve good purposes, but they can be very bossy if left unchecked. Whenever helpful things become hindrances, disobey them. Fast from them and pray for Spirit led self-control. Practice this for this week and see how God begins to strengthen your spiritual muscles. In doing this, you will become more like Christ.
(Find the article from Daniel McCoy on Renew.org)