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FOUR KEYS TO EFFECTIVE LIVING

Hebrews 11:23-29

 

Why was God able to use Moses in such a significant way?  Because Moses settled four basic questions of life:

 

                *      Who am I?  (vs. 24)

                *      What are my choices?  (vs. 25)

                *      What is really important?  (vs. 26)

                *      What are my goals?  (vs. 27)

 

Hebrews 11 is about winners.  It's God's Hall of Fame of Faith.  These were ordinary people who accomplished extra-ordinary achievements.  They weren't perfect.  They often failed.  But they all reached their goal. 

 

1.  BE YOURSELF.

Don't try to be somebody else.  God made you for a purpose.  He made you for a plan.  There's nobody who can be you except you. Moses had to deal with this right off in his life.  He had an identity crisis. 

 

He was born Jewish but he was raised Egyptian.  He had to decide at some point in his life "Who am I?"  This was quite an important choice because it would determine the rest of his life.  If he said, "I'm an Egyptian" and faked his heritage, he would live a life of ease.  He would have an outstanding career.  He was in line to be Pharaoh.  He would have fame and fortune. 

 

If he said what he really was -- "I am Jewish" -- he would be humiliated, kicked out of the palace, sent to live with a bunch of slaves for the rest of his life.

 

Yet Moses saw his people being badly mistreated as slaves and he could not be silent.  He was a man of character and integrity. He could not quell his conscience.  So he made a decision that cost him the next eighty years of his life. 

 

v. 24        Circle "refused".  The word in the Greek literally means to reject, to deny, to totally disown.  Moses cut himself off from a promising career as an Egyptian and he refused to live a lie.  Instead, he wanted to do what God had made him to do. 

 

There's something liberating about being your self.  The quickest way to an ulcer is to try to be somebody you're not.  If you want to live an effective life, step one is to relax and be yourself.

 

v. 25                  Circle the word "choosing".  The word literally means "to select" or "to decide".  The second principle of an effective life is this,

 

Be yourself…

2.  BE RESPONSIBLE

ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN LIFE

Don't blame somebody else for your life.  Don't say, "It's not my fault."  Do something about it.  Decide to change.  What I choose today will determine my tomorrow.  That's called accepting responsibility.  The Bible teaches that people who accept responsibility for their own lives tend to lead effective lives. 

 

In v. 24 we see Moses refusing and in v. 25 we see Moses choosing.   There's a principle here.  The negative is followed by the positive.  God never says, "Don't do this.  Don't do that.  Don't drink, smoke, cuss, chew, run around with girls that do.  Don't do anything."  He says, whenever you take something out of your life, you put something positive in its place.  You see the refusing and then you see the choosing.  Christianity is not a negative religion of a bunch of don'ts. 

 

v. 23        God chose Moses as a baby.  But when Moses grew up, v. 25, it says he had to choose God. 

 

God has chosen you.  Have you chosen Him?  Can’t have it both ways…only 2 choices on the shelf:  pleasing God and pleasing self!

 

v. 24.  When did he make his choice?  "When he was come to years." One of the marks of maturity in life is when you accept responsibility for your own decisions.  You don't blame other people.  Society loves to let us pass the buck.  "It's not your fault!  Blame the environment."  Plenty of excuses.  "When you were a little baby your mom held your head under the faucet in the bathtub too long so you have these repressed emotions and it's no wonder you're raping and pillaging today.  It's not your fault." …Plenty of excuses.

 

You cannot blame somebody else for the direction of your life. And, you cannot live off somebody else's spiritual commitment.  You have to make your own decisions.  People say, "My parents were Christians" or "My wife is a Christian..."  Great.  But you have to make a personal commitment on your own…God has no grandchildren!

 

And Moses, when he grew up, chose.  He made an act of responsibility. 

 

The fact of the matter is, nobody can ruin your life ultimately except you.  Satan can't -- he doesn't have enough access.  God won't -- God loves you.  So ultimately, the only person who can totally, permanently mess up your life is you. 

 

If you want to be effective in life you have to be yourself and you accept responsibility.  Like Moses did, you make some choices. No matter what's happened to you in the past, you have the freedom to choose how you're going to respond.  "Am I going to be bitter? or "Am I going to be better?" 

 

Your happiness will be determined by your character in life.  And your character is determined by the choices you make.  Be yourself.  Be responsible.  Accept responsibility for your own condition.

 

3.  HAVE SOME VALUES

ESTABLISH A VALUE SYSTEM FOR YOUR LIFE

You have to settle this issue, "What is really important?"  This is not something you decide haphazardly.  You give it serious thought.  You give it consideration.  "What is really important to me?"  This is the thing that Moses did.  He clarified his values.  He thought it out.

v. 26        Circle "esteeming".  The word means "to weigh in the balance", "consider the options", "evaluate the worth", "consider the value". 

        This says Moses considered God's will of greater value than all of the treasures of Egypt.

 

If you don't determine what's valuable to you in life, other people will do it for you.  If you don't decide how you're going to use your time, other people will decide it for you.  If you don't decide how you're going to spend your money, other people will make that decision for you.  You have to determine your values in life. What is important?

 

There are three common values we see the world promoting today.  Most of the people in the world are frantically searching for these three things in life.  They're explained in these three verses. 

 

        1.  Pleasure.  "I want to feel good." 

        2.  Possessions.  "I want to have a lot."

        3.  Power.  "I want to be famous.  I want to be influential.  I want to be popular.  I want to have power, prestige, position."

 

By the world's standards, if you take those three things when you look at young Moses, he had it made!  All three of them were wrapped up in the royalty of Egypt.  Yet he walked away from it to go live with a bunch of slaves.  Who would be silly enough to do that?  “Somebody with a different value system.” 

Psalm 84:10

I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.

 

There's a lesson here in Moses' life that we all have to focus on.  When you establish a value system for your life, you have to learn to say "No".  Every time you choose something in life, you're automatically turning against something else.  You have to decide what is important.  You don't have time for everything.  You can't do everything. 

        Jesus said, No man can serve two masters.  He'll either hate the one and love the other, or vice-versa. 

        You have to decide what's important.  And you must learn to say "No" if you're going to be effective in life.  You don't have time or money for everything.  By saying no you are actually saying yes in a more resounding way…now you can do a few things well instead of many things poorly! 

        Some say “yes” to every task at church, and need to learn to say no…and yet some others will take that very statement and use it to justify why they say “no” to many church services.

        Let’s not mix our apples and oranges…we’re talking about saying no to opportunities to serve, not commands to obey.  I want our people to be able to say no to things which are optional, and yes to things which we’re commanded to do!

 

I've discovered in my own life that it is very easy to say "Yes" to God, but it is a lot more difficult to say "No" to everything else…thus creating the space for Him!  It's very easy to say "Yes" to God when He comes and says, "I offer you abundant life.  I came that you might have life.  I want to offer you a purpose in life, peace of mind, power for daily living, help for your problems, eternal life, forgiveness." I say, "You bet!  I want that!"  I don't know anybody who would say "No" to that. 

 

But you don't realize that when you say "Yes" to God, you're automatically saying, "No" to some other things in life.  It's automatic.  It’s not really a yes until the “no” takes effect!

The person who tries to say "Yes" to two things at the same time is what the Bible calls "a double minded minded man…"

James 1:8

    A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

 

If Moses had not made these decisions we wouldn't be here today talking about him.  He'd be some mummy in King Tut's tomb.  “Moses who?”

 

Moses decided three things:

        1.  God's purpose is more valuable that popularity.

v. 24

Do you think that the title "the son of Pharaoh's daughter" was a status symbol?  You bet!  He was second in command, in line to be Pharaoh.  He was Big Man On Campus!  He was Prince of the Pyramids!  He was well known.  And so tanned!  He had status. People would bow before him.  He had the kind of popularity that most people would say, "I'd give my right arm for that!  To be treated royally!" 

 

The thing I like about Moses is he was not impressed by himself. Moses wanted God's purpose for his life.  He said, "I'd rather be a slave fulfilling God's purpose than be the king of Egypt, with all the popularity, not in God's purpose or in God's plan."  He said God's purpose is more valuable than popularity.

 

        2.  God’s people are more valuable than pleasures.

 

v. 25        [at that point in their life they were slave labor in Egypt, building the pyramids]

Given this situation, how would you react?  Moses chose pain over pleasure.  He chose discomfort over ease.  Why?  Because he said people are more valuable than pleasures.  He was on easy street. He was treated royally.  It was a lifestyle of luxury.  If he wanted his grapes peeled, they would be peeled.  Whatever he wanted, everything he needed was right there.  Any whim would immediately be satisfied by his slaves.

 

But Moses heard the cries of people and he said people are more important than pleasures.  In order to do the right thing he chose discomfort over comfort.  Why?  Because he knew that pleasure, like popularity, does not last for a significant period of time. 

 

V. 25 "There is pleasure in sin for a season" -- a short time.  Sin is fun.  If sin were a bummer, nobody would do it.  Would you sin if it were painful?  No.  You're smarter than that.  Even the Bible says that.  It says, "There is pleasure in sin for a season." You can have your kicks but you get the kick back.  There is pleasure in sin.  No doubt about it.  But then you reap what you sow and the payoff is not worth the pleasure.  It's not worth it.

 

Moses said he'd go with the people of God because people are more important than pleasures.  And God's purpose is more important than popularity.

 

v. 26        [he had humility]

He's rejecting the world's measure (v. 24), the world's pleasure (v. 25) and the world's treasure (v. 26).  The very things that people spend their lives trying to get.  He rejected the treasure in Egypt because he had a third value.

 

        3.  God's peace is more valuable than possessions.

 

There are some things in life that are more important than things.  There is a wonderful peace of mind that comes about you, a satisfaction, a sense of fulfillment when you know you're smack-dab in the will of God that cannot be bought.  You can't buy that peace of mind.  It is priceless. 

 

You cannot purchase lasting happiness.  We think the Constitution says, "Life, liberty, and the purchase of happiness" but it doesn't.  [pursuit!]

 

Let me admit to you:  You can buy happiness.  You can buy it for a short time.  Say I go out and buy a ski boat and take it to the lake and I'm skiing around on it.  Am I happy?  You bet I am.  I have just bought me some happiness.  I'm having a great time, skiing around having a great time.  But after about six months, I need a better boat.  This one doesn't have enough power to it.  I need a little bit better one.  So I go buy a new double engine ski boat.  Have I bought happiness?  Yes, I have.  I'm very happy again.  But after a while they come out with a new one with a new gadget on it.  And then I've got to get that one!  [keep up w/ the Joneses!]

        “We buy things we don’t need, w/ money we don’t have, and all to impress people we don’t like!”

 

You can buy happiness but it is a temporary happiness.  It doesn't last.  The things you've thought, "I've just got to have!" last Christmas, where are they now?  "I've just got to have that gadget!" and you buy the gadget and it's fun and you enjoy it and it produces happiness in your life ... for three weeks.  Pretty soon it gets set up on the shelf with all the other gadgets.  You buy a piece of art work.  "I've got to have this vase for my house!" and it's gorgeous.  But a year later it's "Ho-hum!"  It doesn't last. 

 

That's why Moses said, "I don't want pleasure.  I don't want possessions.  They don't last."  He was taking the long look. The problem is, so many of us have so much to live on and so little to live for.  Jesus said in

Lk. 12:15

A man's life does not consist of the abundance of things that he possesses. 

 

        Yet we spend all of our lives acting as if that's not true. 

Should you sell everything and go live in poverty?  Not at all. Wealth in itself is neutral -- neither good nor bad.  A lot of the great Christians and saints in the Bible were extremely wealthy people.  They were millionaires -- even billionaires by today's standards. 

 

It's a matter of values.  We should love people and use things.  What happens is we get those reversed and we get into trouble.  When we start loving things.  We start using people to get them.... manipulating them.  Things are to be used, not loved.  That's the value system.

        Moses said, God's peace is more valuable than possessions. 

 

It's amazing that Moses gave up the very three things that most people spend their entire lives trying to accomplish and achieve. Why?  Why did he do that?  Why did he reject power, pleasure, and possessions? 

v. 26b      The reward!   He was looking ahead.  He was living in light of eternity. 

 

A statement I hope you'll catch:  “Your happiness is determined by your character.  Your character is determined by your choices. Your choices are determined by your values.  Your values are determined by your vision -- what you have your eyes on.”

 

Moses had his values right because he had his vision right.  That brings me to the fourth key ingredient and we see it in Moses' life.

 

4.  HAVE SOME VISION

NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE GOAL

Moses continually visualized his goal.  He was persistent.  He focused his attention.  He constantly kept it before him.  Some of us used to have vision, we started out right, and now have forgotten!

 

v. 27 "By faith, [vision is a matter of faith; seeing is a matter of faith -- Moses was seeing with the eyes of faith] he left Egypt…He persevered because he saw him who is invisible."  Circle "seeing".  "Him who is invisible"?  Who's that?  God!  He saw Him who is invisible.  Moses never took his eye off the goal.

 

We never make progress without problems.  Never.  Sometimes we just can’t see straight, so that’s when we need some vision!

Proverbs 29:18

    Where there is no vision, the people perish.

"Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal." 

 

There were enormous problems in the purpose that God had given Moses for his life.  How are you going to transport two million Jews out of one country across the most desolate piece of land in the world without food, without water, and get them into the Promised Land?  How are you going to convince Pharaoh who has these two million slaves to let them go?  There were enormous problems in the purpose God had given Moses.  But he persevered because he focused on his goal, not the problems.

 

More than anything else he had to learn to wait.  There were tremendous delays in Moses' seeing the fulfillment of his goal. When Moses was a young man, God gave him a goal -- "You are going to be the deliverer of an entire nation."  But it was eighty years in coming before Moses was able to take his people right up to the edge of the Promised Land.  How would you like to wait eighty years for the fulfillment of a goal?  Just consider the forty years that Moses spent waiting in the wilderness, all the time things were getting worse in Egypt.  I can imagine every day Moses saying, "Lord, it's me again."  "Yes, Moses?"  "Lord, is it time yet?  Can I get going on this project you've given me?"  And the Lord says, "No, not yet."  Moses would say, "But, Lord!  Don't you know my people are dying!  It's not getting better in Egypt.  It's getting worse!  Come on, God!  Let's get with it! Let's get with the program!"  God says, "It's not time yet."

For 14,600 days Moses would say, "Is it time?"  And God said, "No, it's not time."

Ill—preach to myself:  the vision God has given me at FBC will happen if we wait and trust and obey in the meanwhile!

 

“Waiting”.  One of the greatest tests of faith is how long can you wait for an answered prayer?  How long can you wait for a healing?  How long can you wait for a goal to be met?  Do you give up when it doesn't come immediately?  Do you get discouraged when there's a delay?  God's delays are not denials.  He has every intention of fulfilling His promise.  But He will do it in His time to strengthen your faith.

 

The difference between maturity and immaturity, we’re discovered in our children, is when they could tell the difference between "No" and "Not yet".  There's a big difference!

 

How do you overcome impatience and discouragement?  You do it by renewing your vision. 

--

Jesus Christ did the same thing Moses did.  He looked beyond the problem [sin] and saw the possibilities.  He looked beyond the pain and saw the eventual profit.  And He went to the cross, not because it was going to be comfortable to hang there.  But He went to the cross because He knew that as a result it would be the salvation of millions of people.  And people are more important that pleasures. 

 

Which of these things do you need to do in your life?

        1.  Do you need to be yourself?  That's the only kind of person God can use.  God can't use a fake.

        2.  Be responsible…accept responsibility for your own decisions. Like Moses, you make the tough choices. 

        3.  Have values.  Decide today what your priorities are!  What is worth dying for in your life? 

        4.  Have vision.  Never take your eyes off the goal.  And then hang in there and never, never give up.  You endure!

 

The fact is, you are as close to God as you want to be.  You have the same Bible that DL Moody had.  You are just as strong a Christian as you determine to be.  It's your choice.  Some of you need to make some tough decisions about work/hobbies and they won't be popular, but they're right.  Some of you need to make some tough decisions at home with your children.  They won't be popular but they're right.  You look beyond the temporary discomfort for the ultimate payoff and reward.

 

 

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