January 23, 2022 SUMC 9am Worship Service

Sunday Worship Services:

Sanctuary & online - 9AM and 10:45 AM

Jan. 23, 2022

Better Decisions, Fewer Regrets

Am I Being Honest With Myself…Really?

Ephesians 5:11-17; 1 John 1:5-7

1.  Introduction:

     a.  Throughout this series we are challenged to live a more intentional life—making better decisions with fewer regrets!

     b.  Ask Good Questions – Answer Honestly – Act

          i.  You are not the only person impacted by your decisions, nor impacted by your regrets.

          ii.  Your decisions determine the direction and quality of your life.

2.  First Question: Am I Being Honest With Myself…Really? (The Integrity Question) 

          *Fact: Throughout my life I have lied more to me than any other person.*

“Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.

Wake up from your sleep, Climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!

So, watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.”  (Ephesians 5:11-17)

     a.  Why is it so challenging to be honest with ourselves?

          i.  Truth and honesty were some of the first casualties of human nature when sin entered the picture.

          ii.  Throughout human history, the truth, even when obvious, has often been obscured, ignored, or twisted into almost unrecognizable forms.

          iii.  The largest and most consistent source of honesty issues is the person we see in the mirror every day.

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is extremely sick; Who can understand it

fully and know its secret motives?”  (Jeremiah 17:9)

          iv.  Often, the biggest problems we must navigate in our lives are created by the partial truths or untruths we end up believing and then acting upon.

     b.  The heart of the matter!

“Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.”  (Mark 7:6-9)

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

          i.  It's our heart that takes us on our life journey—and apart from Jesus, we have a heart with one default setting that has us bent toward sin, error, and falsehood. 

“And then he (Jesus) added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”  (Mark 7:20-23)

          ii.  We have become experts at justifying our decisions. For many, the truth is our justifying is most often “just-a-lying” to ourselves and to others!

     c.  What is God's cure for this heart problem—a sin-stained, self-centered heart?

          i.  My heart condition is never a mystery to God.

“Then they prayed, 'Lord, you know everyone's heart…” (Acts 1:24a)

               > Kardiognōstēs: “Heart-knower”—literally translated, “You, Lord, heart-knower of all…”

               > God is the only being whose identity and character include the knowledge and understanding of our thoughts, feelings, desires, and intentions.

          ii.  I need a spiritual heart transplant. 

“‘This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,’ declares the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.’”  (Jeremiah 31:33)

          iii.  I can have a clean heart.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” (Psalm 51: 10)

          iv.  A transformed, clean, God-loving heart becomes my spiritual GPS that guides me to truth. 

“But thanks be to God! For though at one time, you were slaves to sin, you have obeyed with all your heart the truths found in the teaching you received.” (Romans 6:17)

“For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

“This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So, we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. But if we are living in the light, as God is in the light, then we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

3.  Conclusion: Am I making better decisions so I can have fewer regrets?

     a.  While the truth is sometimes challenging, difficult to hear, or even at times painful, it is always better to be led, guided, molded, and make decisions based on what is true and not on a lie we try to sell to ourselves.

b.  We can thank God for specializing in making our hearts new so we can genuinely live our lives being honest with Him and ourselves, making better decisions with fewer regrets.