These are my notes from an Andy Stanley talk given at his church very recently, you can find the link here. I’m not claiming that this is exactly what Stanley said, or that I have interpreted his meaning correctly. These are just my notes from his talk. I was introduced to Andy Stanley a few years back, one of the things I love about the way he communicates is that it is simple and usually has one point. He uses memorable phrases and spends a lot of time thinking about how to present the main point of his message concisely. In fact he wrote an amazing book on preaching, which I’d highly recommend…anyways!
L.O: How to prepare for what’s next
(Next = Transition = Change = Stress) What’s next usually results in stress, stress of some sorts
Are there things we can do now to prepare for what’s next?
- Regardless of whatever else you’re packing, for the next season, you pack you. Wherever you go, there you are. We often think that when we’re in a new environment, we will become a new person. Same ethics, morals, weaknesses and strengths.
- There is no necessary correlation between knowing what’s next and being prepared for what’s next. For example, wedding vows: “I do”. Preparation trumps a plan and a promise.
James, the brother of Jesus, said “you will be blessed in what you do”.
- Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive Listening was the equivalent of reading. In other words: “just because you heard it, don’t think that alone makes a difference”. We often think: since I attended x,y,z I am sorted!
- Instead ‘Do what it says’. Often we hear a convicting message, we confuse feeling bad about ourselves with a religious experience.
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says, is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself immediately forgets what he looks like. A mirror requires a response…You stand at a mirror until it looks better. When we look in a mirror we will be convicted, and we will do something about it.
Looking good is far less important to the direction and quality of our life than our behaviour. Chances are when we make the biggest mistakes, we probably looked good. No one gets credit for looking in the mirror. In the real world, we get credit for responding to the mirror. In the spiritual world we think this is different! We think we should get credit for the conviction. If this is your pattern you are deceiving yourself.
If you are in the habit of seeing something but doing nothing, you will carry this habit into the next season.
But…Whoever looks intently (stop, and get down on one knee to study/stare) into the perfect law (Greatest commandment: Love the Lord with all your x,y,z AND love your neighbour as yourself – these are the greatest TWO…later on in His life He said a new command: “Love one another the way I have loved you!”), that gives freedom… (seeing and doing now, results in freedom later).
E.g: Give…Save…Live. This is how most people were taught to handle their money. This doesn’t sound very liberating. We think liberating is the reverse: Live then save then give. We give money away, because it helps other people. And why do we help people, because this is what Jesus has done for us. What’s the result of giving, saving and then living? financial freedom.
E.g. Forgive. Doesn’t sound like it gives freedom, but have you experienced both? Not forgiving and forgiving. Forgiveness is freedom.
E.g. Sexual Purity… Enables you to honour the other person, and every other future relationship they have. Sexual Purity paves the way to intimacy. Exclusivity, is what leads to romance not experience! In this there is liberty.
Why does looking and doing make a difference? Because the seasons of life are connected. The season you are in now is connected to the season of what’s next.
James 1.25: “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.”
Its not what you’re doing will be blessed, but you will be blessed in what you are doing.
The habit of doing will make you happy. There is a pleasure in responding to the conviction in the mirror. Likewise there is a satisfaction in the response, the surrender – the obedience to Jesus. Being a does now is preparation for being a doer later.
“Obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. God takes full responsibility for the life wholly devoted to Him.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley.
Sometimes what you read/hear will make sense, sometimes it won’t. But if God tells you to do it, you start running.
If you aren’t doing now, you probably won’t do later. Think about the wise and foolish builders. Matthew 7.24-25. The way you lay a solid foundation for your life is by being a doer, not just a hearer.
- What are you doing now, that you shouldn’t be doing, that you’re telling yourself in the next season you won’t do anymore?
- What do you need to do?