Appealing is Revealing | The Beginner's Guide to Predicting Your Future: Part 4 – Andy Stanley

– So, as we wrap up this series, I wanna go back and I wanna talk specifically about things with strong emotional appeal The power of appeal And here’s why, and again, this is what we have in common The path or the paths to be avoided is always paved with strong emotional appeal There’s no way to avoid this, this is just a reality we’re all facing, we’re all challenged with That the path that is to be avoided, whether it’s financial, relation, or whatever it might be, is always paved with something with strong emotional appeal Newer, faster, bigger, 25% return, honey It’s a guaranteed 25% return and she’s like, that’s our college money, okay? That’s our kids’ future That’s what we’re saving up for vacation I know, but it’s guaranteed and all of that, suddenly, there’s conflict 25% return, romance, desire, acceptance, attention, adventure, security I mean, the path, the wrong paths are always paved with one or more of these things and especially the security thing, the security thing is tricky I mean, do you really love her? She’s got a great job I know, but do you love her? Do you really love him? Well, I’m not getting any younger And to be clear, these things aren’t bad, in fact, these things are all good These things aren’t bad These things just aren’t enough These things aren’t wrong These things just aren’t enough when it comes to making decisions in life and choosing the pathways that we choose Because shiny things and appealing things do two things to all of us They lower our defenses and they raise our defensiveness These things always lowers our defenses and shiny, new, appealing things lowers our defenses and raises our defensiveness And friends come along, boyfriends come along, spouses come along and they say wait wait wait Do you realize where this is headed? Do you realize where this is going? And we won’t listen In fact, it’s like we can’t listen And here’s why Confirmation bias kicks in, do you know what confirmation bias is? Confirmation bias is I see what I wanna see I hear what I wanna hear I see what I want to see I hear what I want to hear Any information that confirms what I want to do, I see Any information to the contrary, it’s hard for me to see It’s hard for me to hear In fact, when confirmation bias kicks in and we get locked in emotionally on something, our IQ actually drops Do you know how I know this? Because every one of you has looked back on a decision and you said this, these are your words, not mine You said, maybe to yourself or out loud, how could I have been so stupid? So your IQ drops You’re like no, it didn’t Yes, it did, you admitted it How could I have been, I’ve got some great news Here’s the positive news You are not stupid But when you get fascinated with something that’s fascinating and when your emotions get locked in on a something or someone, well you said it Okay, anyway So not only does your IQ drops, you know what else drops? Your EQ Your emotional quotient Your EIQ, all just disappears Now, I just wanna talk about this for one second and we’re gonna move on If you are currently, if you are currently in an ongoing conversation with someone, and maybe this person, you know in your heart, they have your best interest in mind They’ve been your friends since high school And there’s your mom You know your mom has your best interest Older brother, it’s your younger sister It’s somebody at work, it’s a teacher, it’s a coach It’s somebody that you know that they have your best interest in mind But if you’re in an ongoing conversation with somebody who has your best interest in mind and whenever a specific topic comes up, you get defensive You need to pay attention No, granted, they’re not approaching it the right way I say that because that’s how we get out of those conversations Well I just don’t like your attitude, great They have a terrible attitude They don’t have all the information Granted, they don’t have all the information They don’t see it the way I see it Granted, they don’t see it the way, they haven’t even met him yet They haven’t even met her yet, granted All that for sure If when that topic comes up, you become unusually defensive Pay attention to what’s going on inside of you and please do not use their lack of information Their odd attitude Their incorrect approach as an excuse to miss something that’s on your path that they can see

that you can’t Because if you are distracted by what’s on the path, if you are distracted by what’s on the path, you will be distracted from where the path is taking you And they have an advantage They are not emotionally involved with it, him, her, they or it If you’re distracted by what’s on the path, you will be tempted to opt for appealing over satisfying Which isn’t satisfying and we’ve all lived long enough to know this Now here’s the amazing thing, or not the amazing thing if you’re a Christian Maybe amazing to you if you’re not a Christian, is that the Apostle Paul, who wrote a lot of the New Testament actually talked about this 2,000 years ago Most of you know, but if you don’t, quick update, the Apostle Paul stepped onto the pages of history as someone who hated Christians, who had decided to single-handedly end the church You may be a person who really doesn’t like Christians and you kinda wish he’d been successful Darn it, he was not successful In fact, not only was he not successful, he actually became a Christian, a spokesman for Christianity and he planted churches and non-Jewish areas around the Mediterranean realm and then he would visit these churches, preach to these churches, and then, write letters to these churches and we have several of these letters that make up the documents of the New Testament And in his letter to first century Christians living in Galatia, he talks about this topic, but he talks about it in different terms And these terms aren’t our terms, but I wanna read you what he said and then sort of put it in our terminology so that you can understand because what he says is powerful and this is the coolest part to me and you’ll think that I’m a total geek for this He makes a statement in this particular passage that’s one of my favorite statement in the enter New Testament I’ll tell you when we get there so you just go like, really, that’s it? So anyway, here’s what the Apostle Paul says and I will sort of explain this as we go He says you, he’s talking to Christians Now if you’re not a Christian, that’s okay You get to pick and choose which parts of these you like, dislike and wanna do or not do And to let you know, we have, and I have, specifically, no right in the world to tell you what to do, I get it We have a different world view, different believe systems So I’m not telling you what you should do I’m just inviting you in on a conversation between Christians But you’re gonna like part of this Hang on, here’s what Paul said He said, to you, my brothers and sisters, talking to believers “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.” which is amazing Because you see, if your version of Christianity isn’t liberating, you have the wrong version If you are raised on a version of Christianity that wasn’t liberating, you were raised on the wrong version If you left a version of Christianity that wasn’t liberating, perhaps you left the wrong version And I would like to invite you back But we’ll talk about that more another day He says this He says, “But do not this freedom that you have to indulge the flesh.” Now, I know, it’s a terrible Bible word So it seems kinda amous All he’s talking about is something that you experience every single day That your appetite, that you see, what you hear, what you taste, what you touch, and what you see, taste, hear and touch that elicits desire inside of you, something that we all experience He says don’t allow that dynamic, don’t feed that dynamic to the point that it gets you in trouble Don’t say yes to every impulse and here’s why And you know this If you say yes to every luscious term, every fleshly impulse, you will lose freedom If you say yes to every temptation, that desire that’s elicited in you because of what you see here, taste or touch, you don’t gain freedom, you lose freedom And not only that, here’s the worst part, he’s gonna get to this Not only do you lose your freedom, you infringe on someone else’s freedom Not only do you hurt you, you hurt someone else And at the epicenter of the New Testament ethic, what Christianity is ultimately all about relationally, is how you treat other people so the Apostle Paul says, look, you are free, but don’t use your freedom to harm you and don’t use your freedom to harm anyone else He says rather, here’s the contrast, here’s what you’re supposed to do with your freedom Rather, serve one another humbly, we’re gonna come back to that later Humbly in love That is, leverage your freedom for the sake of others And here’s a promise And some of you have lived long enough to know this, others of you will figure it out I just hope you don’t figure it out too late That leveraging your freedom, leveraging your freedom for the benefit of other people, leads to a very satisfying life And leveraging your freedom to the neglect of other people

leads to a very dissatisfying life And Christianity is an invitation to freedom and satisfaction Then, moving along, the Apostle Paul takes a play from Jesus playbook because he knew Peter and he knew John and Jesus had revealed himself to the Apostle Paul, on the Damascus road, that’s why we call it a Damascus road, the experience, or I saw the light that all came from this experience with the Apostle Paul And he says this, quoting Jesus He says for, this is an amazing statement For or because the entire law, and he’s talking about two things here He’s talking about Jewish law which was 613 different commandments The entire Jewish law and I think because of context, he’s talking about law in general For the entire law, for the entire rule book For anything that you would teach your kids or hope your husband does or your wife does, and do all of that He says for the entire law is actually fulfilled in keeping this and I want us to all say this next word out loud together because this is remarkable In keeping this – [Crowd] One – One more time – [Crowd] One – How many? Now this is remarkable This is why Christianity is liberating He says the entire law, any rule you can come up with is actually fulfilled with one rule The one commandment You don’t even need the whole tablet, you just need like a three by five card The one commandment Really, yeah it’s all to fulfill this one commandment, here it is Drum roll, you’ve heard it before Love your neighbor as yourself This is the New Testament ethic Get this right, you don’t need everything else Embrace this as a lifestyle, you really don’t need everything else And if you get this right and if this becomes a driving ethic of your life, you tend to know what to do In other words, if it infringes on their freedom, I’m not gonna do it If it’s not good for her, I’m not gonna do it If it’s not good for them, it’s a sin If it’s not good for him, it’s a sin How do you know what sin is? Well how does it affect them If it negatively affects them, if it infringes on their freedom, if it sets them up for problems in the future, if it undermines their future, their success, their future relational success, then absolutely not Because I’m not gonna use my freedom to infringe on theirs I don’t need a verse I don’t need a quote I don’t need to remember what my mom or my daddy said, I can’t remember half that anyway Half of the time But love my neighbor as myself and then Jesus would take it at a whole new level at the end of his ministry when he said, no, it’s even bigger than that You’re to love each other the way I have loved you Wow, he keeps going, he says, so I say, Paul keeps going, so I say, walk by the spirit Which sounds like, you hear strange music in the background that seems to intangible and do a look up, something spooky going on No, this is very simple It means to live or to walk in sync with the internal nudging of your heavenly father through his spirit That God will always nudge you towards other’s firstness God will always nudge you towards sacrificing for the sake of other people God will always nudge you toward never ever ever infringing on their freedom and sacrifice yours instead And the outcome he says, is this And if you will give in to the internal nudging and God’s spirit in you, you will not gratify or say yes to the desires of the flesh Maybe a better translation for us is you will not fulfill selfish desires You will not follow through on selfish desires You will see shiny things and appealing people and you will not act on what you see, you will not act on what you hear, you will not act on what you touch and you will not act on what you taste Because you’ve decided to say yes instead to the internal promptings of the holy spirit that always puts other people’s future first You will be far less susceptible to the emotionally appealing things on the paths that crisscross your path He’s not that, he’s so thorough For, he says, let me explain it further For the flesh, we’ve explained that, for the flesh desires what is contrary to the spirit Now, again, this is a human thing This is the New Testament version of what you experience every single day There is a war within There’s a conflict within I know what I ought to do, I know what I want to do Isn’t it interesting that ought to and want to are in conflict? Isn’t it interesting that there is an internal law inside of you that conflicts with your bodily and fleshly to use these terms desires Now why isn’t that? Why is that? It seems like they would be in synced It seems like I should want to do what I ought to do But if you always did what you ought to do instead of what you wanted, there wouldn’t even be dessert on menus

Because nobody would order it There wouldn’t even be, I shouldn’t start listing things or I’ll get in trouble with companies that I appreciate So, let’s just say, there would just be a whole lot of things that don’t even exist in the world Because if I always did what I ought to do, there’s a battle, no If you’re not a Christian or a religious person or maybe from a different religion, I hope you have an explanation for that battle within You experience the battle, you should have an explanation The New Testament says, there is a law in our heart written by God, because you’ve been made in the image of God and it is in conflict, with oftentimes, with a strong emotional appeal He says they’re actually, here’s this word, conflict They are in conflict They’re in conflict with each other So that you are not to do whatever you want or desire You are not to embrace and chase everything that is appealing to you Which means, and I hope you know this But let me just say this in terms that we can all kind of get our hearts and heads around Strong, emotional appeal Even though it is part of goodness of life within its proper context, but strong emotional appeal is actually a red flag, not a green light That is when something is emotionally appealing, instead of leaning in immediately, we should step back immediately and say, you know what? This may be a great thing, she may be the one, he may be the one, this may be the job, this may be a good investment, this may be a time to lease a car, this may be a time to move This may, it might, it may, it might, it may, it might But you know what? There is that strong emotional appeal I’m gonna be wise enough to step back, it is a red light It is not necessarily a green light It is a red flag, not necessarily a go sign He says but, now he’s coming back to those of us who are Christians, he says but, if you’re led by the spirit, again, this isn’t spooky, this is just paying attention to that internal nudge that God’s gonna kinda nudge on your conscience and kinda, he’s not gonna yell, he’s not gonna scream, it’s a still, small voice, it’s more like (clears throat) Ever get one of those? (clears throat) Honey was that you? Nope (audience laughing) Dad, was that you? Nope That was inside of you That internal thing that, here’s the thing, will always nudge you It will always nudge me toward reigning in my freedom for the sake of other people He said, you’re to be led by the Spirit and if you do, you’re not under the law This is an amazing statement Why? Because the reason you’re not under the law is because Jesus has given you one command and if you live by one command, you are no longer accountable to, in fact, you don’t even need the law And if you submit to that, to Jesus one command, and you can take either version you want, love your neighbor as yourself or the bigger, grander one, love other people like I have loved you He says, if you embrace that as a lifestyle, if this becomes the marching orders of your every single day time, the way that you parent, the way that you relate to people, the way you do school, morality, dating If that becomes your marching orders, then you will know instinctively what to do You will know instinctively which path to choose You will know instinctively which path to avoid Because Jesus one command always brings us back to this terrifying, but clarifying question And this is the question What does love require of me? What does love require? What does other firstness require of me? What does selflessness require of me? What does lay down my life for a friend require of me? What does love require of me? Well if it’s not good for him, it’s a sin If it’s not good for her, defer If it’s not good for us, why would I do it? If I have to hide it, if I hope they never find out, what does love require of me? It’s appealing but does this run the risk of undermining our relationship? It’s appealing but does this set us up for conflict later? It’s appealing but why is that our hope my children? Never find out Then he goes on He says, just to be really clear And then, basically, he’s about to tell us I’m gonna tell you something you don’t need to know because you already know it but he tells us anyway He says the acts of the flesh are obvious Selfishness is obvious Nobody needs to give you a list of what it looks like to be self-centered Nobody needs to give you a list of all the things that distract you from the things you should do In fact, if he, he gives us the list anyway I guess he just thought in case we didn’t know And here’s the interesting thing about his list We’re not gonna look at it by the way If we had a smaller group here and we were all sitting all around the table and I were to say, okay, let’s list all the things that are expressions of selfishness List all the things that are expressions of things that undermine other people’s freedom and take away other people’s future and temporarily satisfy my desire but hurt people later

and ultimately, hurt myself Let’s make a list of those things We would come up with virtually the identical list, the same list that the Apostle Paul gave us 2,000 years ago Because you haven’t changed And I haven’t changed So I’m not gonna share you this list But I’m gonna share you three things on his list And this is gonna be a little tough for some of you but you know what? Only the people who love you tell you hard things, right? Besides, I get to get in the car and go home Anyway, so Only the people who love you tell you the hard things and this is why this is such an important, this is a life-changing message for somebody today, maybe some somebodies Because somebody has already tried to point out what I’m about to point out and you have just had such ton of vision, and you have just given and to just hear what you wanna hear and see what you wanna see So the Apostle Paul says, let me, in case you’ve missed it Let me tell you what following the flesh looks like as opposed to saying yes, the God’s spirit in you And he gives us this list, I just wanna share you, give you three off the list Here’s three Sexual immorality, selfish ambition and envy Now, if you’re not a Christian, maybe one of the reasons you left the church and left Christianity was this right here And that’s the problem Christians are always trying to come up in everybody’s bedroom and tell them how to conduct themselves sexually and it’s none of your business I have some great news for you The Apostle Paul who have us this literature, the Apostle Paul himself, catch this, in another letter, actually asked the question that you think we should ask He asked this question What business is it of mine, talking about himself as a Christian in the church, what business is it of mine to judge those outside the church to which you would say it’s none of your, fill in the blank, business And the Apostle Paul would say you are exactly right, it is none of our business to tell you how to conduct your sexual life or your morality, it’s none of our business Paul would agree with that So, when Paul talks about sexual immorality, he’s not trying to tell everybody in the world what to do, he’s trying to answer the question, what does it look like for a Jesus follower? What does it look like for someone who’s decided I’m going to embrace other’s firstness What does it look like for a man or a woman to decide you know what? I don’t want to do anything that undermines my freedom and I don’t wanna do anything that undermines your freedom I don’t wanna do anything that undermines my future relationships and I don’t wanna do anything that undermines your future relationships I don’t wanna be mastered by anything or anyone and I don’t want you to be mastered by anything or anyone That is the essence of the New Testament sexual ethic And so of course, he’s gonna talk about sex Come on, let’s face it When someone comes to see a pastor privately, when someone comes to see a counselor privately, and they sit down with a look of remorse and regret and shame on their face and they whisper, they can barely say that out loud, pastor or counselor or father, I wanna tell you something I’ve never told anyone It is rarely about a parking violation (audience laughing) It’s rarely about I didn’t fill out my expense report properly No 90 something percent of the time, it’s something sexual Because Paul knew what you know, what I know, what we know, that when it comes to our sexuality, when it comes to expressions of sexuality, nothing has the potential to undermine your future and other people’s future Nothing has the potential to complicate your life and complicate other people’s life like sexual activity So of course, your heavenly Father has an opinion about this Because if God really loves you, is he gonna stay silent? On a topic that has the potential to make your life amazing and at the same time, make your life, in some cases, unbearable? Of course he’s gonna talk about it So the Apostle Paul says come on, just about everyday of your life, if you’re an adult, and you have a job and you’re out in the marketplace, if you’re a student or a college student, on a fraternity or sorority, just about everyday of your life There is going to be a path with strong emotional, sexual appeal, I mean, it’s just a part of life But what’s appealing is distracting And so, it’s not a green light It’s a red flag And it’s a red flag that most of us have lived long enough to know we wish we had paid attention to earlier so of course, the New Testament, and of course the Apostle Paul specifically, is gonna put this on his list Not because he’s against you

Because he’s for you And besides this, my hunches, if all of us could go back and erase an event, a weekend, a week, a season of our life, for most of us, it would have something to do with how we expressed or mismanaged our sexuality So of course God mentions it, he loves you And it’s very, have you noticed this? It’s very emotionally appealing You should say amen to that (audience laughing) Okay, so, selfish ambition, the same thing, I’m gonna get ahead I know it’s not legal, I hope my boss don’t find out, the president of the company doesn’t find out, hope my wife doesn’t find out, hope my husband doesn’t find out, hope my parents don’t find out Who is it’s appealing? Envy, I’m gonna catch up with her, I’m so jealous of my brother, my brother-in-law Envy, I want what they have, I’m gonna do whatever it takes to get and I’ll be appealing and it’s so appealing to me ’cause then they’ll look at me and they’ll have respect for me and they’ll wanna be like me, envy Envy is trying to catch up with somebody that doesn’t even know you’re trying to catch up with them That’s what’s so crazy about envy I made it, they didn’t even notice Did you notice? Uh-uh Wait, I broke the law and emptied my bank account, you didn’t even notice? What are you talking about? I mean, it’s just crazy Why? Because we just get so locked in emotionally Strong emotional feel Then, what he says next is so disturbing and I’m not even gonna try to resolve this, so you maybe mad at me about this, but we don’t have time today and we’ll come back maybe some other day but I don’t wanna skip a verse just for the sake of making this (mumbles) easy It’s been so easy so far Anyway (audience laughing) He says this He says, I gotta be honest, I warn you, because remember, he’s been to Galatian, we have heard him say all this, this is a letter just reminding them so there’s so much more detail He said I warn you, this is in the letter, I warn you, as I did before, not the first time you’ve heard this, that those who live like this, that those that make it a lifestyle of chasing what’s appealing to the neglect and how it affects other people The person that chases what’s appealing to the neglected, how it undermines their own future, their own conscience, their own mind, their own heart, their own future For the person, he says who consistently neglects and ignores God’s promoting within To that person who lives like that, they will not inherit the kingdom of God There is loss There’s not simply consequence of sin There’s loss You’ll never experience the kingdom of God in this life He’s gonna explain what that looks like in just a minute so hang on You’re not gonna experience the kingdom of God in your marriage or in your relationships or in your finances or in your conscience or in your, you’re not gonna experience the kingdom of God in this life, and you’re not gonna inherit, and this generally looks at the life to come You’re gonna miss out on something, the life to come Now, some people says, this means you won’t go to heaven I don’t think it means that I think if it meant you don’t go to heaven, he would’ve said you don’t go to heaven Let’s just be clear, right? That’s not what he’s talking about I don’t think, some people think it is Some people think that if you live continuously in sin, you will go to hell for living continuously in sin I hope they’re wrong, but a lot of people think that, believe that The Apostle Paul, I think, is pointing at something else And I’m not gonna tell you what I think he’s pointing but I’ll tell you this much If you never sent anything in your conscience, when you do something that benefits you short term and hurts somebody long term, if you’re able to just chase all the emotionally appealing shiny things and it’s never a matter of conscience, it doesn’t even bother you If you never sense the vibe between perhaps what God wants for you and what you know you ought to do, you should wonder You should be a little worried You should look up You should use Bible or repent or use my word which is longer, you should begin living in a different direction The direction of yes, to God’s promptings within Living in the direction of yes to when God nudges you in a different direction It’s time to opt for satisfying over appealing which is far more satisfying How satisfying you say? Paul says, let me let you what it looks like And if you’re not a Christian, this is the invitation This is the carrot on the stick This is the try it, you like it This is the promise, this is the liberty This is the part maybe I didn’t tell you about Growing up in the church you grew up in But the fruit of the spirit, in other words the outcome The outcome of saying yes to God The outcome of saying yes to that internal nudge is exactly what you are after in this life It’s love It’s joy, it’s peace, its patience, it’s kindness,

it’s goodness, it’s faithfulness, it’s gentleness and it’s self-control Single people, it’s who you want to marry It’s who you should become It’s what God has invited you into And then, here it is One of my favorite verses in the New Testament, it’s not even a whole verse, just a phrase Don’t judge me Against such things, there is no law See, I knew it, it’s like, that’s it? (audience laughing) How about John 3:16, don’t you like that one better? Okay Let me tell you why this is so brilliant and so inspired Listen to what he’s saying, okay? He’s saying against immorality, against envy, against jealousy, against lust, against other things, you have to set up laws, you have to set up restrictions or you will self-destruct You’ll become addicted all the wrong things, you have to have all these rules, all these laws He says when you embrace the one command, when you embrace others first, when you embrace love people like God through Christ loved you He says, the result is this and there are no laws against this, in other words, let me illustrate Hey, that’s, you have too much peace, let’s tone down the peace (audience laughing) Hey hey hey hey, you’re being so patient You know the problem with my wife, is she’s so ridiculously patient, she needs counseling (audience laughing) Hey hey hey, not sir, hey, the kindest kids, kids, knock it off in the backseat, you’re being too kind, you have overdone the kindness, you’re too good and you know what the problem with my husband? He’s just so faithful, I trust him all the time He goes on trips, I never worry Writes me love notes, he sings me songs, he push together music on a CD for me to listen to to know how much love for me He’s so faithful, I mean, somebody pray for us (audience laughing) This is the beauty This is the invitation You can’t overdue any of this You can’t have too much self-control, you can’t over, Paul says I’m telling you This is the freedom you’ve been invited into You don’t need any laws You don’t need any rules It’s powerful It’s a life of one rule No regret It’s a life of one rule where you don’t create regret It’s a life of one rule where you don’t become somebody’s regret Why? Why wouldn’t everybody be a Christian? Why would you resist that? I never heard it explained that way I’m so sorry, that’s people like me’s fault, right? The best way to predict The best way to predict where you’re gonna end up, the best way to predict your future is to pay attention to where you’re headed