Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pleasing God Series – Exit Please!

Pleasing God
        Series – Exit Please!

Have you ever been addicted to something you wanted but knew you shouldn’t have? Addicts come in all shapes and sizes, colors and kinds, and ages and stages of life. It’s not easy to admit that you struggle with something and that sometimes it pulls you to think or act insanely. The thought of being addicted seems foreign to many people and yet most of the people I know have experienced some level of addiction.

When a person is drawn to obsessions and can’t control their thoughts or direct them to another subject or when they compulsively speak or act in a manner they always later regret … that person needs help. Addictions can be of the sort that they are completely hidden from other people or even socially acceptable to the point that repetitive failures go unnoticed by close friends and family until it’s too late and irreparable damage is done.

I don’t want you to think I am only referring to the heroine or crack cocaine type addicts … addictions come in many forms. Some people struggle with and lose self control when faced with particular foods, others with shopping, hording, anger, sex, weight loss, gambling and even obsessions over germs, smells, numbers, uneven lines, crooked pictures or dollar bills all being sorted and turned just the right way.

It is accepted that not all obsessions, compulsions or addictions have the same level of negative impact on society as do some of the more highlighted addictions like alcohol, tobacco, porn or drugs. Nonetheless, for the individual who struggles and suffers repetitive failures, any loss of self control is threatening and only adds to their pain and the cycle.

This morning we are going to review the true story of a young man who became obsessed and did not handle it well. This particular young man had everything to live for and was positioned and expected to do well in life. He was from a very wealthy and influential family who provided him with everything life could afford. Some might imagine he was merely captivated but that’s exactly what addictions do, they take us and hold us captive.

The Encarta Dictionary of the North American English Language defines “Addicted” as the state of being physiologically or psychologically “Dependent”. I do not minimize the damage caused to individuals and families by the harmful drug and alcohol addictions some of us have faced however I do hope to see each one of us embrace the truth for whatever circumstances, situations, substances or state of mind you currently face that drives you to depend on things that only serve to hurt you and others. Today I hope to give you some simple steps to help you recover yourself in the name of Jesus! This story will also help you help others as well.

So, without regard as to the type of addiction, obsession, compulsion, bad habit or loss of control we might be dealing with, let’s survey today’s story and find the remedy God is offering to us right now. It is quite possible that you can take the lessons learned today and help yourself and someone else this week. We will be reading from 2 Samuel 13.

The year is about 1000 BC – during the time of King David. The city is Jerusalem. And the young man’s name is Amnon; he is the first born son of King David and as such, heir to the throne of Israel.

2 Samuel 13  NLT
1  Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her.
2  Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her.
3  But Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea.
4  One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?” So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.”
5  “Well,” Jonadab said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.”
6  So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, “Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.”

11  As she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.”
12  “No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in Israel.
13  Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me.”
14  But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her.
15  Then suddenly Amnon’s love turned to hate, and he hated her even more than he had loved her. “Get out of here!” he snarled at her.
16  “No, no!” Tamar cried. “Sending me away now is worse than what you’ve already done to me.” But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her.
17  He shouted for his servant and demanded, “Throw this woman out, and lock the door behind her!”

The rest of the story confirms what most often happens when we lose control and give in to our fleshly obsessions. We can never satisfy the appetites of the flesh by giving in, by compromising or by losing control. There is a better way … Amnon could have been a king!

What should Amnon have done instead of acting on his fleshly lusts? Here are Four Steps I believe can be taken to help each of us deal with those things that try to draw us away from God’s best for our lives:
1.   Resist – Just say no! This is the first step we should take with any temptation whether it is for the first time or the 101st time. Many small temptations can be stopped in that first moment with a “No!”
2.   Get Help – Confide in a family member, friend or counselor. Make certain you choose someone who won’t simply support or enable you to go the wrong way. Choose your support group with care.
3.   Take the Exit – That’s what Tamar asked of Amnon “Talk to the King” – God will never allow more to come upon us than we are able to bear but will with each temptation provide a way of escape. Pray!!! Take the Exit … Just take the exit – There is a better Way!
4.   Repent and Recover – If you fall, every time you fall, repent and recover! Amnon knew he was wrong and he realized the advice he received from his friend was the wrong advice but Amnon never repented … and it cost him his father, his family and his future.
Additional Notes: 
Not everyone who helps you get what you want is your friend.

1.   Resist – Sometimes the reason people have so much trouble resisting the devil is because they have not yet submitted themselves to God.

James 4:7  Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
a.   Saying “no” to ourselves is a personal responsibility
b.   Jesus said it would be better to judge yourself than to be judged

2.   Get Help – There is safety in the multitude of counselors. However, we should not run with those who spread mischief. (Proverbs) Get the right kind of help!

1 Corinthians 15:33  Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."

3.   Take the Exit – Even Balaam’s donkey knew an exit when he saw one. Don’t get so locked into the course that you can’t see the danger ahead and take an exit. The young rich ruler did not let his past or his present determine his future … he took the exit!

Luke 15:17  "But when he came to himself, he said, ’How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

4.   Repent and Recover – There is always a right thing to do … Especially when you’ve just done the wrong thing!

Psalms 51:4  Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight — That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.