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Don't Let Your Future Self Down

David Kim
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If we human beings always did what we knew was the right thing to do, we'd all have six pack abs and fabulous smiles. Knowing something in your head does not always, or even often, translate into action. This reality also gets in the way of many individuals' walk with the Lord. In this message, David Kim suggests a way that we can close the gap between knowing and doing, and will inspire you to take action in your spiritual life.

Presenter

David Kim

Adventist Business Executive and Co-Founder of the Nicodemus Society

Recorded

  • April 15, 2017
    10:00 AM
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There's an interesting. There's an interesting dynamic with human behavior. That human beings those of us you and me we always do what we know what we're supposed to do isn't that right. Human beings always do what they're supposed to do don't they don't way. We always do what we're supposed to do right now I'm not getting any agreement here. And I think you're right in fact actually many times dare I say most of the time often times. We mere human beings will know that we're supposed to do something but we don't do it. Sometimes we'll even do the opposite and one common subject that comes up when you talk about human behavior and what you're supposed to do versus what you actually do and following through on the things that you try to do is health of course health and. Whether it's diet or exercise. By the way today's sermon is not about health reform. In case any of you were starting to sweat. But I do want to draw a small analogy here based on health and exercise and diet so according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Which is a governmental agency in two thousand and twenty fifteen. Only twenty one percent of adults met the recommended exercise guidelines for aerobics and strength training so only twenty one percent of adults actually do the bare minimum recommended exercise in the United States. Twenty one percent that's one out of five. I won't ask you to raise your hand whether you're in the one out of five or the four out of five. But you know who you are. Furthermore when it comes to diet according to the Center for Disease Control in twenty fourteen. Seventy one percent of adults were either overweight or obese. Seventy one percent. Which is nearly three quarters of us. Now. According to the research. There are three reasons why someone might not do what they're supposed to do. Three reasons one is you might just not know any better. If you don't know any better how can you do it whatever it is you're supposed to do of course you can't so you might not know any better you don't know what you're supposed to do that's reason number one. Reason number two is you might know what you don't believe. You might know what you're supposed to do or or what people say you're supposed to do or what the experts say you're supposed to you might know what you're supposed to do but you don't really believe it. You might think Oh well come on in fact I've been guilty of saying this myself. I would have to be on the treadmill for thirty minutes just to burn off a Snickers bar. So what's the point. I don't really believe in this whole exercise is important thing. I mean come on that's a lot of work just for a little Snickers bar and so you might not believe it you might. Yeah this is not a big deal yeah I know that you're supposed to do that but it's this is not a big deal I don't buy it. So that's the second reason. What was the first reason. You don't know you don't know any better and what was the second reason. You don't believe it you might know it in your head but you don't believe it. The third one is that you don't want it. You might know it. You might even believe it's true. But you don't really care enough to do something about it and generally it's not so much that you don't care enough about it because. Most people would say they want to be healthy. Use it continuing with our analogy. But it's more that. That destination of Health is a long term proposition. And there are things in the short term. Which are just more desirable. I heard someone say ice cream. That's a great example that that that that creamy refreshing desserts in the short term. Is more desirable than. That long term destination of health. And so it's when when we say we don't want it it's not so much that you don't want to be healthy. But it's that you want that short term benefit more. You want that short term benefit more so it's actually not so much a competition between what you should do and what you want to do but it's more a competition between long term and short term. Long term versus short term and which you've which you value. Do you value that long term objective or goal or destination or do you value that short term enjoyment of whatever that whatever the competing forces are so what was the first reason. You don't know about it so what was the second reason. You don't believe it and what's the third one. Yeah short term versus long term you don't want it enough you want something else more you don't want it. So we've been talking about health and remember I told you this is not a sermon about health reform today so let's switch topics instead of talking about health let's talk about the need for a daily devotional walk with the Lord. The need for a daily devotional walk with the Lord and I'd like to share with you a few quotations that emphasize the importance. Of having a daily prayer and scripture walk with the Lord the first one here is from a book called messages to young people. On page ninety six. Beware how you know glad to secret prayer and a study of God's word These are your weapons against him who is striving to hinder your progress heavenward. The first neglect of prayer and Bible study makes easier the second neglect. The first resistance to the Spirit's pleading prepares the way for the second resistance thus the heart is hardened and the conscience seared. The author here is saying that if you skip having your devotionals once it makes it easier to skip it a second time. And you can proceed that second skip makes it easier to skip it a third and then a fourth and a fifth and a six and pretty soon you're not having any sort of walk with the Lord. And the way she describes it here is that your heart is hardened. And the conscience is seared it gets to a point where you don't even feel the need. You don't even feel the gap you don't even feel that anything is missing if you're not walking with the Lord. And so it is critical to have a daily devotional walk with the Lord let me share with you another quotation here this one is from a book called testimonies for the church volume five on page one ninety two. All who do not earnestly search the Scriptures and submit every desire and purpose of life to that unerring test all who do not see God in prayer for a knowledge of His will will surely wander from the right path and fall under the deception of Satan. The author here is being very plain. That if you do not search the Scriptures and if you do not see God in prayer if you don't have this is daily walk with the Lord. Not only will you wander. But you will fall under the deception of Satan. Now who wants to be deceived by saying Please show me by raising of your hands. I didn't see any hand go up here. No one No Are you telling me no one here wants to fall under the deception of Satan. Well are you having your daily devotion. Walk with the Lord. Because if you're not. I'll let you fill in the blank. But you are. To some extent under the deception of Satan. And let me share one more statement with you here this one is from a publication called The signs of The Times July thirty first eighteen three neglects the exercise of prayer or in gauge in prayer spasmodically now and then as it is deemed convenient. And you lose your connection with God. The Christian life becomes dry and the spiritual faculties have no vitality the religious experience lacks health and vigor. There have been times over the years when people will come up to me and say I feel that my relationship with God is not where it needs to be that in fact I feel that it's dead I feel that my prayers hit the ceiling and bounce back to the floor I feel that I'm not connected with the Lord and my first question always when I'm presented with that scenario is how is your daily devotional walk with the Lord how is your prayer life how is your searching of the Scriptures and every single time the person looks down sheepishly. Their shoulders fall and they say something like not as good as it should be. Every single time. And we can see very clearly. There is a direct connection between having a daily devotional walk with the Lord and having that vitality of. Relationship with Jesus Christ and if that relationship is broken. We will wander we will fall under deception and we will lose our eternal life. So let me share a couple other statistics with you according to the magazine Christianity Today they took a survey in two thousand and twelve. And they said that only nineteen percent of Protestants read the Bible daily. Only nineteen percent one out of five similar to the percentage who exercise daily. Now that seems to be actually a little bit better for Seventh Day Adventists there was a survey done that said forty two percent about double forty two percent of Seventh Day Adventists read the Bible daily. And I am a man I hear a few people say amen to that but let's do the math. If forty two percent are reading their Bible daily. That means fifty eight percent almost sixty per cents do not read the Bible daily that is a strong majority if in a presidential election anyone ever got sixty percent of the vote that would be a massive landslide. Of the likes we haven't seen for many many many years. And so the strong majority even of Seventh Day Adventists we who have been known once upon a time as people of the book. Fifty eight percent of us do not read the Bible daily. So let's go back to our three reasons why don't we do it what's reason number one. Because we don't know any better. Do we know better. Do we know better do we know that we should have a daily walk with the Lord amen OK so let's cross that one out. So it's not that we don't know better what was the second reason. You'd You know it but you don't believe it. You don't believe it's that important. You think well maybe it's not that big a deal come on I mean. What's the big deal. So the question is is do we believe it. For those of us who don't have a daily devotional walk with the Lord and I'm not talking about if you miss one it went out of ten days or something gets busy and you you overlook it one day that's not what we're talking about we're talking about chronic systematic structural lack of a daily devotional walk with the Lord. Maybe you don't believe it maybe you don't believe that it's necessary. Maybe you don't believe that it's beneficial. Or three What was the third reason. Yeah you don't want it. Because whatever is in the short term outweighs this long term proposition. So let's think about that for a moment. If I think about the conversations that I've had with people about why they don't have a daily devotional walk with the Lord. What are some of the top reasons. What's the reason number one. I want to sleep longer Thank you sister that is that and perhaps the number one reason that I hear. Oh you know I'm just so busy I got to get to work in. We got to get ready for work and. I'm just I don't have time in the morning to do it and so unfortunately that means that I don't have a daily devotional walk with the Lord. Don't have time so what's the short term benefit that they're looking for. More sleep. Now let's compare the two what's the long term benefit here. What's the long term benefit of having a daily walk with the Lord. Everlasting life character development peace a relationship with the God of the universe that's the that's the long term benefit here what did we say the short term benefit was. Sleeping fifteen more minutes. Hitting the snooze button so let's weigh these out we've got on the one hand an everlasting relationship with all loving all powerful god of the universe. And on the other hand we have fifteen more minutes of sleep. How do these weigh out what would you prefer. I'm hearing that people would prefer eternal life who prefers getting fifteen more minutes of sleep. In the moment it is hard to get out of those covered that that well that's what we're talking about Bo who prefers the fifteen minutes of sleep. Over a turn a life and relationship with the Almighty God. I'm not getting one single hand. Sometimes you do. Well that is honest sometimes we do in fact for those of us every single time we defer or skip our devotionals in exchange for that extra fifty. The minutes whether you think it or not. You are making a decision that says you prefer the fifteen minutes. Over eternal relationship with the God of the universe. Have mercy. Have mercy. And so. The question is is what are those short term benefits that are causing you not to want long term salvation not to want peace not to want character development not to want the power of God in your life in a personal way what are those things because we just talked about sleep and I think that that's probably the number one reason that comes up but there are many reasons that get in the way of people saying I want that and I will make time for that. Because time is one factor but what are some other reasons that people might not want to have a daily devotional walkable or. T.V. programs are all their activities they prefer Yes. OK That's all right you know it'll come back to you. Yes. You might have to change that is a very powerful one because the Lord will not the Lord will take you as you are but he won't leave you as you are and so if you walk with the Lord you might have to change in fact you will have to change if you're walking with the Lord and some of us like the way we are better than what the Lord has in store for us let's turn to second Timothy Chapter three. Second Timothy Chapter three. Verses one through five I think there was a. A slight mistake in the in the in the scripture reading this morning because it was chapter three not Chapter two so although Chapter two is also good so praise the Lord but let's turn to second Timothy chapter three verse one through five. And when you get there please say men they men are a second Timothy right after first Timothy. Chapter three starting in verse one but know this that in the last days perilous times will come for men will be the lovers of themselves lovers of money boasters proud blasphemers disobedient to parents thankful unholy on loving and forgiving slanderers without self-control brutal despisers of good traitors headstrong Hachi lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Having a form of godliness but denying its power and from such people turn away we have a list here from Paul of what people will be like in the last times in these perilous times. And what are the key themes here lovers of themselves lovers of money boasters proud blast femurs disobedient to parents unthankful unholy unloving unforgiving slanderers without self-control brutal despisers of good traitors headstrong haughty lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God and these are people who have a form of godliness so he's not talking about the world here. He's talking about people in the church. Who have a form of godliness meaning you look at them and they seem like they go to church maybe they they they look nice. Yes maybe they have a nice outward facade. But what's really going on is they love themselves they love money material things they brag they're prideful they speak against God. They are disobedient to their parents they're not thankful. They're not thankful to God for what they have their own holy on loving on forgiving slanderers without self-control brutal despisers of good traitors headstrong haughty lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Now this sounds like a pretty bad list. But if I think if we were to be brutally honest with ourselves. We probably have a number of these attributes in our own lives. And these are the things that hold us back. We don't want to change we love ourselves why should why should I be spending time worshipping the Lord if I'm really at the center of my universe. Look at this great kingdom which I have created. Or perhaps it's not about that maybe it's about something else maybe maybe you have. Pain in your life maybe there are grudges you are holding. Maybe there's anger. You don't have peace. You're hostile you have hot buttons you have a temper you have these things in your life and they're holding you back from having a daily devotional walk with the Lord. Someone mentioned television and media. How many of these things are displayed on. Any given program that you turn to on television or Netflix or whatever your preferred mode of content delivery is. All of them. Every single popular prime time. Binge watching worthy show out there you could check every single one of these boxes off so whether it's inside of you or whether it's on a screen and you're allowing it in or whether it's in a book or whether it's in music or whatever it is that has these kinds of ideas and feelings and sentiments and an ethos in them. They are holding you back from having a daily walk with the Lord because when you have a daily walk with the Lord you need to slow down. You need to slow down you need to meditate upon Him and His Word. And when you are bombarded by the craziness of life. And when you inflicted upon yourself through the different modes of content and media that we might take part partake in it doesn't help you to slow down and be contemplate of a meditative upon the word. It creates. It's addictive actually. They've done studies where this kind of thing is addictive and you're always looking for that next level of excitement that next level of that next hit. And so these are many of the things that these are the short term things. That cause us that we desire more then the long term outcome of walking with the Lord eternal life with all loving on the put in God of the universe. And his gift of character development changing us to be like Jesus. All these things we're giving up. For these short term things all around us that we allow into our lives. So that's a problem but I don't want to just leave you with the problem I'd like to propose a solution and mad. One of the concepts that's gaining some currency in. In their different fields and psychology behavioral economics they're there number of fields which study human behavior and there's a concept that's been gaining some currency and that is to in order to help people change their behavior and do the right thing there's this idea of thinking about your future selves. It's this idea that we're not actually these these rigid monolithic people you're not a rigid monolithic person. That there's a person you were. There's a person you are. And there's a person you will be in the future does that resonate with you does that make sense if you think about yourself ten years ago or twenty years ago you think about who you are now are you a different person in some ways maybe for better in some ways not maybe not for better but you're different person what would doesn't it stand to reason that if if you were a different person today than you were a year five years ten years twenty years ago if you're different person today than in the past then most likely if you fast forward ten fifteen twenty years you'll be a different person then. That makes sense and so thinking about your future self and the idea here is asking your. Self what would your future self think about what you're doing right now. How would your future self feel about the track that you are on right now and they've done studies about this one specific study looked at saving for saving for the future good financial habits and they found that a significant number there was that people there are two groups of people one person one group was just asked how much do you want to save for your retirement. And then there was another group of people where they created a they created a a picture of them. In retirement so they said here's here's what you're going to look like at age sixty five and they use software and things that take you and make you look like you might look at age sixty five I say here's your future self in retirement and they just introduced the subject the people participating in the subject they introduce them quote unquote to their future self by using this picture and those people saved. They indicated in the survey they indicated a much higher rate of savings. Than those who were not introduced to their future self and it's because all of a sudden became personal they could see this picture of this representation of what they would be like in twenty thirty years and they could relate to that person and say you know what I better do something today to make sure that my future self is not angry at me. And so I think we can apply that to our topic right now of having a daily devotional walk with the Lord. What would your future self think about the track that you're on now. Lets take a moment. And think about really think about that imagine yourself in the future. And in the future where where is your future self based on the track you're on now where is your future self is your future self walking on streets of gold in the New Jerusalem. Or is your future self in the other place. Being consumed. Take a moment think about where is your future selves. And the next question is. What does your future self think about what you're doing now. Is your future self say thank you I'm so glad that you put yourself on that right track and you are walking with the Lord on a daily basis. And because of that you have this love relationship with the God of the universe. And because of that now you might your future self I am here in pain in streets paved with gold under the tree of life in the waters of life thank you. Is that what your future self is saying. Or is your future self cursing you. Because of the short term decisions you made. And losing the long term reality out of your concept. Some of you may like what you see some of you may be sitting here thinking about your future self feeling pretty good and for you I'd like to turn to Hebrews Chapter thirteen. And let's all turn to Hebrews Chapter thirteen. Vs twenty to twenty one Hebrews Chapter thirteen. Thread before James Hebrews Chapter thirteen. Vs twenty three twenty one so this verse is for those of you who have a happy future selves. Hebrews Chapter thirteen verse twenty Now may the God of Peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead that great shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you complete in every good work to do His will working in you what is well pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ to whom be glory forever and ever amen. Because if you're on the right path now thank God for it thank Jesus thank the Holy Spirit for where you're at now and never take it for granted keep on praying keep on inviting the cooperation of the Holy Spirit in your life so that you can stay on that good path so that you can continue to be fed and nourished by the Word of God and by the breath of prayer and that someday when Jesus returns he will fade to you Well done my good and faithful servant this should be your prayer. But for some of you something might be holding you back. Something might be holding you back you might not believe it or you might not want it and for you let's turn to first Corinthians Chapter six First Corinthians. Chapter six right after Romans first Corinthians Chapter six verses nine through. Eleven. First Corinthians Chapter six verses nine through eleven. Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God Do not be deceived neither fornicators nor idolaters nor adulterers nor homosexuals nor sought of minds ne nor cover nor drunkards nor reviler nor extortionists extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God And here's the key phrase and such were some of you. But something happened but you were washed but you are sanctified but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the spirit of our God. Can someone say men do that. There were people in the early church just as there are people now who suffered and struggled with many things. But there is hope there is hope through the washing the sanctification and the jokes justification of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. And so. If this is you and if you don't like what you see in your future and if you think your future self will be angry at you. Heed this warning. The darkness of the evil one encloses those who neglect to pray the whispered temptations of the enemy entice them to sin and it is all because they do not make use of the privileges that God has given them in the divine appointment of prayer. Why should the sons and daughters of God be reluctant to pray when prayer is the key in the hands. The face to unlocks the heavens storehouse where our treasure the boundless resources of omnipotence without UN seizing prayer and diligent watching we are in danger of growing careless and of deviating from the right path the adversary seeks continually to obstruct the way to the mercy seat that we might not by earnest supplication and face obtain grace and power to resist temptation. That is the road that we're on if we do not have a daily walk with the Lord. And it's not because God is vindictive and wants to punish you it's because if you're not connected with him he cannot help you. And if he cannot help you we have no help. And we have an adversary. Why wouldn't you want to have the omnipotent all loving god of the universe who knows you better than you know yourself and who has your best interests at heart wants good for you more than you want good for yourself why wouldn't you want that God in your life and to walk with him on a daily basis. And so don't let your future self down. If you're not walking with the Lord today I'm pleading with you. Start tomorrow. And then do it again the next day. And then do it again the next day after that you can start small start with five minutes. Start with five minutes start with two minutes just start and see what the Lord will do with you. If only you will just start and give it to him because even the desire to have a walk with him is a gift of God in and of us. So just start tomorrow morning get out of bed you know you have to get out of bed fifteen minutes early just get out five minutes earlier than you might. Just. Down and say Lord. Give me the desire to walk with you today this media was brought to you by. A website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about. If you would like to listen to more sermon. Visit W.W.W. dot. Org.

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