David didn’t confess. Do you know what David did? He suppressed. Because of his disobedience, he became sick. Check him out in Psalm 32:3-5, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’—and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
Have you ever felt like that before? I have. Once we confess, once we come clean, once we turn from it, things change. There is a sickness for death, a sickness for disobedience, and, also, a sickness for the glory of God. Remember the blind man who came to Jesus? When the disciples saw him, they asked Jesus, “Hey, Jesus, who sinned, this guy or his parents. Someone sinned.” Do you know what Jesus said? He said, “This guy is blind for the glory of God.” And then he healed him.
In our pre-fallen state, we would have lived forever. But we messed up. We got the ball of sin rolling, and because sin entered the equation, we are going to die. So there is sickness because we are dying.
Also, there is a sickness for disobedience. If I am sinning habitually, if I am continuing in sin and rebellion before God, I can be sick. Case in point, in 1 Corinthians 11, the Apostle Paul told the church at Corinth that, because you have abused communion and taken it in an unworthy manner, “Many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.” You are taking communion, Paul said, in a flippant pedestrian-type manner and that is why you are sick, and some have even died.
Remember David, that great leader at the top of his game? He lusted after Bathesheba. He committed adultery with this biblical babe. He had her husband killed and then the Bible says David didn’t come clean.
Now the plot clots. Get ready. Hold on to your theater seats. James 5:14, “Is anyone among you sick?” Remember James is writing to Christians dispersed throughout the Mediterranean world. This word “sick” is not post-nasal drip. It’s not sinusitis. It’s not acid indigestion. We are talking about really sick. Let me stop here. The Bible talks about certain types of sickness. The Bible talks about a sickness for death. I checked the stats again this week, friends, and the death rate is still hovering around 100%. We are all dying. The moment we are born, we are dying. Some die quicker than others, but we are all dying. The Bible says we die because of sin.
“The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The compensation for sin is death. Yet, if we are in Christ, we die and our death is a graduation from this life to heaven. But the fact remains that we are going to die.
E stands for enlighten. We need to use the discipline as a teachable moment. A stands for affirm. It is important to affirm the relationship. I say something like this to my children. “Children, God loves you and I love you too much to allow you to get away with this behavior. We are affirming the relationship. L stands for love. Don’t leave that out. Some of the most precious moments of my parenting career have been embracing my children after acts of discipline.
Every time you discipline, ask what the deal is and remember this acrostic. When I opened the message up, I said, “There is nothing quite like a great football game. When a couple of teams are disciplined and doing it right, the combination of pageantry, skill, athleticism and strength is something to behold.” But I have got to tell you something. There is nothing quite like a great family game. When the team is disciplined, running right, playing within the perimeters set forth by the ground’s crew and the referees and the coaches, it is something to behold. Parents, do the discipline deal.
I don’t know why I did what I did, but I bet a close friend that I could turn that birdbath over. I even feel terrible telling you this. I ran and shoved it and it fell and broke into a million pieces. I ran. I thought that I had committed a flawless crime until five minutes later my parents got a call from the neighbor. Let me tell you what my parents did. They did something brilliant. I have never forgotten it.
They said, “Ed, you know the money you have been saving for that rod and reel? You, after you call and apologize, will go along with us to the birdbath store, and buy her another cement birdbath.” I have visions, still, of carrying my piggy bank money, and putting it onto the counter and saying, “One birdbath, please.” It was terrible. But that is discernment, wouldn’t you agree?
You see, discipline is not an option. Instruction is not an option. We are to do it. A couple of years ago I came up with an acrostic. I would ask myself what the deal was with any particular situation. So I took the word deal, made an acrostic of it. It helped me and I hope it will help you.
D stands for discern. We need discernment. We have got to be praying for an extra measure of discernment. We have got to have discernment to line off the field and then have the discernment to discipline our children in an age-appropriate fashion. I was thinking about my childhood and tried to remember the best act of discipline that was used with me. I will never forget it. I was in elementary school and one of our neighbors had a big old, hulking cement birdbath. I used to watch the birds come and go.
And he related these people to a car battery. I thought it was a brilliant illustration.
He said some people are just drainers; they just drain your battery dry. After you’re with them for like 30 minutes, you have nothing left. You’re like, “Oh, man, I want to stay away from him, I want to stay away from her. They drain the fool out of me.”
Jesus had some of those relationships in his life. We don’t have time to study it all, but he did.
Now the second type of relationships related to the car battery would be the neutral relationships. The neutral relationships would be those that are kind of even. There’s some drainage on your part and other person’s part, yet you feel kind of neutral when you leave the interchange or when you leave the golf course or leave the shopping spree or whatever you’re doing. You walk away saying, “Okay, I feel all right.” That’s just kind of a neutral person.
The third type of relationship is the one that so often we neglect, especially those of us who are in the ministry or who are in the people business. I’m talking about teachers and coaches and doctors and attorneys and so forth. The third one is the replenishing relationship.
[Ed walks over to a friend of his in the audience…]
When I’m with Ray, we click. Ray replenishes me. And when we’re hanging out together maybe we’re having espresso together, or eating sushi together, or fly fishing together, or just hanging out together—all of a sudden I look at my watch and think, “It’s 1 a.m.!” That is a replenishing relationship.
In the Bible, when people publicly profess their faith, it was through baptism. Now I’m all for public invitations, we do that sometimes, but I just want to throw that in. The Lord is my banner. Is, is, is the Lord your banner? Is the Lord your victory? Too many Christian’s walk around like, man, you know I’m all defeated and down, depressed, and all this, and they speak whinnies (Ed gestures crying spell and audience laughs). Hey, I read the last page, we win! (audience laughter and clapping) And that should be a quality of a Christ follower. The Lord is my banner. He’s my victory. He’s my victory. That’s powerful stuff. What are you fighting right now? I know you’re not fighting the Amalekites. I know that. I’m not fighting them either. But we’re all in war. What do we, what do we fighting? Maybe the greed-ites, the self-ites, the sex-ites, the career-ites, what are we fighting? Who are we fighting?
Jesus had his nailed pierced hands stretched out over our valley and he is praying, the Bible says, on our behalf. Even the words we cannot articulate to God, Christ is our intercessor. He is our high priest. That’s why we don’t have to go through a priest or a pastor to get to God. It’s the priesthood of the believer. That’s why I pray, “in Jesus name. Amen.” I get to God through Christ, any time, any where, 24/7. I can do a microwave prayer or a slow marinate type prayer, just any where I am. God is your victory, he’s my victory. Jesus is praying on your behalf and my behalf. He’s gonna give us the victory. Let’s act like it. Lets don’t act defeated because we’re not. Meet Jehovah Nissi.
Also, meet Jehovah Rophi. “Rophi” what does that mean? I’ll let the Bible explain it. Psalm 23 verse 1; the Lord is my (audience saying) shepherd. That’s what it means. Jehovah Rophi the Lord’s my shepherd. The Lord is my guide. The Lord’s my shepherd, I shall not be in want. I’ve studied the Bible for a long, long time.
I was watching television years ago and my oldest daughter, LeeBeth was probably 5 at the time.I was watching ESPN, I remember, and she said, “Dad…Dad…Dad…Dad…” And finally, she took her hands and grabbed my chin and turned my face toward her and said, “Dad, listen with your eyes.”
Wow, that hurt! You know, the people I love to talk to; you know, the right they in my life; you know, people that build self-esteem in my life—they don’t have to say a lot. All they have to do is just give me eye contact. I don’t mean crazy eyes. I mean eye contact. When I have eye contact with you I’m saying, “You matter. What you’re saying is important; let me stop and listen to you.” And then, while you’re talking, I can repeat back in a summarized fashion what you just said. But as I’m listening I am affirming you and giving you dignity and value. Hear people’s messages.
I have a friend of mine who lives here in Dallas and he’s the worst listener ever. I love the guy, but if you’re at a party or a social setting, he’s talking to you and he’s always looking over your shoulder. He’s always trying to improve his conversational lie. (That was for the golfers here. You get it? You might get it this afternoon.) He’s always trying to talk to someone, maybe better, maybe more important, maybe someone who can do more for him than I can.
How do you treat the person who can’t do jack for you? That’s a good question. How do you treat the person who can’t do a thing for you? How do you treat the person who can’t make you more money or give you a great pat on the back, or move you to the corner office or develop some kind of contact for you? How do you treat those people? That is the mark of someone who has a great self-esteem. That’s the mark of someone who is building a true construction sight, s-i-g-h-t, into someone’s life.
The victim card. We’re amazing enablers. We’re amazing entitlement people. “I’m entitled. I deserve this. I deserve that. No, I don’t work. I don’t step up and take responsibility. I don’t hold a job, but I’m entitled to that.”
That swims against the currents of Scripture! Because I become a believer when I take responsibility for my life. That’s how I become a follower of Christ. I take responsibility of the fact that I’m a sinner and sin has separated me from God. I take responsibility for that. I own that fact. I confess that. I turn from that and turn to Jesus Christ.
It is time for us to take responsibility for ourselves. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned more when I failed than when I’ve succeeded. Looking back if the rear view mirror of my life, I thank the Lord for all of the failures in my life. And I thank the Lord for parents who were tough enough to allow me to fall flat on my face. I’m glad my parents did not rescue me every time little Eddie tripped or got hurt or made some stupid decision.
“Oh, you’re okay. I’ll rescue you.”
Helicopter parents. Well now the government is like the helicopter government. But it’s good to fail. We learn from failure. We learn from messing up. But the victim card, we love it.
Here is what Scripture says and these are some pretty great verses here. James 1:5, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should…” what? “…ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
So we need to ask God for advice. We need to ask God for life. We need to ask God for common sense. Because common sense really is kind of a stupid phrase, do you know what I’m saying to you? Common sense is not common. Common sense is uncommon. It should be called uncommon sense, because common sense is uncommon.