Last Saturday I spoke at Grace Church's quarterly men's breakfast on the subject: The 4 Questions Rattling Inside Every Man's Brain. I've always wanted to preach this title. However, I didn't have the questions yet! (Young preachers, I don't recommend starting with your title and then filling in the gaps). But I did...
1. Do I Have What It Takes?
The short answer is no. Sorry guys. In and of yourself, you don't have what it takes. However, through the power of the Holy Spirit working in you and through you, the Bible says that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.
This question reminds me of a dream that I have regularly. Here's how it usually goes:
I am playing some sport, acting in a play or getting ready to give a big speech or sermon when something terrible happens.
In my baseball dream, it's always ways the last inning and I'm up to bat to win the game. The only problem is that I can't find my bat. I'm looking frantically for it and feeling everyone watch me. Seconds creep to minutes and I'm stuck. Then I wake in a panic.
In my football dream, I'm the quarterback and we're in the fourth quarter in the 2 minute drill. I look over to the sidelines at my coach for the signals and I can't remember the play. I freeze. My brain locks up. Frozen. I wake up in a panic.
In my acting dream, I'm on stage getting ready to act my heart out and I forget my lines. I wake up in a panic.
In my speech dream, I've created the most amazing speech ever (at least in my mind) but I can't find my notes. I'm backstage and someone introduces me to come out and I freeze. I wake up in a panic.
All of these dreams point to the same insecurity...I I have what it takes?
Jesus disciples were complaining one day when they could't cast a demon out of a young boy. Jesus said these words, "Only this can come through prayer and fasting." Maybe the reason why we don't feel like we have what it takes is because we are trying to operate in our own strength, not in the power of God!
2. Will I Be Discovered As A Fake?
We hide. As men, one of the most horrific moments is to be discovered as someone who really doesn't have it all figured out. We put on a good front, but we're not fooling anyone. We need to realize that God calls us to live in authentic community with others - warts and all.
That's why James 5:19 is so powerful to me that says "Confess your sins one to another that you may be healed." Maybe the reason why we are not healed is because we still hiding behind a mask. Drop the mask. Smash it.
3. Why Can't I Conquer The Sin In My Life?
There is a cycle of sin that grips us. It's been around since the Garden of Eden. Here's how our enemy works.
1) Deceiver: Satan is the great deceiver saying things like, "You deserve this. You can't live without it. No one will ever find out."
2) Forbidden Fruit: We take the fruit and it's fun, enjoyable, exciting.
3) Accuser: Satan switches identities on us and becomes the great accuser saying things like, "How could you? You're a loser! You better not go to church! You'd better NEVER confess!
4) Shame: We are filled with shame. Shame is different than guilt. Guilt is feeling sorry for what you did. Shame is feeling sorry for who you are.
5) Silence: We remain silent with others and God. We don't confess. We don't receive healing. It's a vicious cycle.
Round and round we go...Will it stop, no one knows.
4. What Will My Legacy Be?
As William Wallace (Braveheart) once said, "Every man dies, not every man really lives!" This is true. How will you be remembered? What will your legacy be? Are you going to be remembered as someone who had loads of potential, but never saw it realized? Are you going to be remembered by those closest to you as one who was a selfish, arrogant person? Greedy? Lazy? Workaholic? Drunk?
Or, will your adult children brag about you to their grandkids about YOUR amazing, godly, life-giving legacy? We all have a dash that will be on our tombstone. The dash between the time we were born and the time we died. How will you live your dash?