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Walking Through the Door Part 2 [1-16-22]

January 16, 2022

"Walking Through the Door"

Let's pick things up where we ended last week {1/9/2022}:

Here is what Jesus promises. You might want to write this down:


That is real freedom. You will find peace.

Make no mistake. As your relationship with God grows, the more free you're going to be. You will be less uptight over the big and the little things, because the big and the little things have no long-lasting hold on you, because in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has already taken care of the two things…sin and death…that have any long-lasting hold on your life. In Christ, you are getting the freedom God wants for your life. As Paul said in Galatians 5:1, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."

So in Christ, we are free. He is the door to freedom. But free from what? If

Jesus is the way out of the prison of sin and death, what freedom is Jesus leading us to?


In other words, sometimes you're afraid people might not like you for who you are, so you pretend to be someone you think they'll like. That is a stressful way to live. You have to be someone you're not. Who you are depends on who you are with. And that's tough to keep up with.

So, why do we sometimes pretend to be something or someone we're not? One sad reason - people pleasing. Proverbs 29:25 warns us:

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

When you worry about what other people think, you are disabling yourself. You have an emotional disability.

Here's the big spiritual problem with people pleasing. When you're people

pleasing, you are living for the approval of others. You are trying to meet

their expectations. And you worry when you can't. What way is that to live? The worse part about people pleasing is your focus is on fulfilling their purpose for your life, not God's. That's where people pleasing takes a wicked spiritual turn. God loves you, but your are more interested in honoring someone else's plan for your life rather than God's.

You can't please everybody. And guess what? You don't have to please everybody. Perish the thought…someone doesn't like you or isn't happy with you. But here's the thing. You don't need anybody's approval to be happy. Some people spend their entire life chasing happiness through the approval of others. That's why dysfunctional phrases like, "You should be ashamed," or "Shame on you," or "How dare you," or "That doesn't make me happy," or "I hope you're proud of yourself" or "You really let me down," or "You've disappointed me one last time," can be so effective, because the last thing some of us want is to lose the approval of others.

Jesus is the door who leads us away from needing the approval of others. Remember what I said last month:


When we walk through the door Jesus opens, fear goes away, and in its place we have great joy which leads to our greatest desire - not pleasing others but praising God. How good is that?

Here's the simple antidote to people pleasing:

Switch My Focus to What God Thinks.

God knows you perfectly and completely and loves you unconditionally in Christ. God had a plan for you before you were born, and however old you are, your whole live has been nudged in the direction of the fulfillment of God's plan for your life. So what do you care about what other people think? You live for an audience of One.


Remember, Jesus said, "I am the door. Whoever enters by me, will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." That will not happen if you're holding on to a hurt…if you're nursing a grudge…if you can't let go of a resentment. To move from the prison of resentment to the open door

of Christ, you have to let those things go.

I know what the primary objections are. "They don't deserve to be forgiven." "They haven't asked for forgiveness." C'mon, man! Those are lame and unbiblical excuses. Do you think you deserve to be forgiven by God? Yet still Jesus died on the cross for you. Forgiveness isn't about deserving. You forgive because you want to move on with your life, not because they deserve it.

Before we look at three reasons why we forgive, here's an observation about forgiveness that I love, but I forgot who wrote it, so we'll file it under Anonymous:

"Ultimately, it is the kindness of God that melts an unforgiving spirit, softens a hard heart, and transforms unkind actions. In Christ, we become the kind of people who see others, and have compassion for them, and exercise patience toward them, and show kindness to them, knowing not only that we ourselves have been shown kindness but that 'in the coming ages {God Himself will} show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus' (Ephesians 2:7). We have only begun

to taste the kindness of our God.

Here, now, are three quick reasons why we forgive those who have sinned against us:

  1. Because God has forgiven me. It's actually a command. As Romans 8:1-2 reminds us, there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And before Paul wrote that, Jesus commanded us to forgive others as we have been forgiven. It's as simple as that. You forgive others as God has forgiven you.

  2. Because resentment makes me miserable. I've got to let things go. You've got to let things go. We've got to let things go. Because after a while, the resentment doesn't hurt the other person. It hurts us. Holding a hurt is like drinking poison in the hopes it will kill the person you resent. How dumb is that? I guarantee that the person you're nursing a grudge against isn't even thinking about you. Your inability to forgive isn't hurting them. It's hurting you and your relationship with Jesus. Here's how Hebrews 12:14-15 puts it: "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no 'root of bitterness' springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled." You cannot be both bitter and happy. One will always cancel out the other. So forgive others who have sinned against you.

  3. Because I'm going to need more forgiveness in the future. I don't know about you, but I know about me, and the truest thing I know about me is I will never stop making mistakes. Raise your hand if that describes you, too. We all will continue to sin. We will fall. We will do really, really stupid stuff. And so we're all going to need forgiveness in the future. If you've ever caught yourself saying, "I'll never forgive that person," hope you never sin again. As Jesus said in Matthew 6:15, "But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." In God's economy, doomed is the unforgiving heart.

So far, we've seen how Jesus frees us from the prisons of pretending and resentment. Finally, we have FREEDOM FROM THE PRISON OF FEAR.

Fear is a prison. Call it what you may…worry, anxiety, stress, it's all cut

from the same cloth. Fear locks you in a prison. It limits your life.

Look at how many people have been driven by fear during Covid-19. Politicians have exploited that fear. Fear degrades our lives. It makes us putty in the hands of authoritarians.

Listen to John 20:19:

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were because they were afraid.

In fear, they sheltered in place behind a locked door. That's a prison. Fear always locks people out of your life. Where has fear loomed large over your life? Illness? Disability? Death? Why do people let something that hasn't happened yet rob them of the joy they have in the moment? It makes no sense. And here's the reality. Even if any if those fears become a reality, when you walk through the door to Jesus, nothing in all of creation can separate you from the love God has for you. Nothing can steal your joy. Nothing. As Paul said, "For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain."

Here are two great Psalms to remember:

  • Psalm 56:3 - "When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."

  • Psalm 119:49-50 - "Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life."

You write those down when times are good so you'll turn to them when

times are not so good. You won't know when those times will be, but God

already does. And in all things, God says, "Fear not."

Let's try a little experiment. Think about a time in the past when you were afraid. The fear was powerfully real. Now, where are you? Right, you are alive and breathing. When you are a follower of Jesus Christ, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And guess what? Even if it does you kill you, you are still with Jesus. Back to Paul…for me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

That's a good way out of fear. And here's another one. It's something you might want to write down:


1 John 4:16-18 encourages us:

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.

You can handle anything because you know the love of God.

Where are you in your life right now? Are you in some kind of prison?

Perhaps you need to quit pretending that you're someone you are not. People pleasing is never a good thing.

Perhaps you need to work on forgiveness. Resentment is a prison we lock ourselves in, while the person we resent is freely going about his or her business.

Perhaps fear is wielding too much power over your life. Fear keeps us from recognizing the goodness of God's plan and purpose for our lives.

We need to walk through the door to freedom in Christ. That's what Jesus

meant when he said we will go in and out and find pasture. That's freedom from pretending…from resentment…from fear. The freedom from those things happens as soon as we take Jesus at his word when he says, "I am the door."

The door is open. Have you walked through it? Will you walk through it?

That's the place where Jesus will meet you, and embrace you, and make

you whole.


To the Glory of God Alone!

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