When we compromise, we ignore the truth, we give into sinful demands and we make destructive decisions. What compromises have you been making recently in your relationship with Jesus? What truths has Jesus been showing you that you’ve been ignoring? What sinful demands have you been giving in to? What destructive decisions have you made recently?
What area of your life do you struggle to surrender to Christ as your King? Where do you need his innocence applied to your life the most? How has Jesus been speaking to you through his Word?
If someone asked you if you know Jesus, what would you say? How would you describe him? What do you know about him? Luke wrote his gospel so that we would know Jesus and so it’s entirely appropriate for us to stop and ask each other that question. Do you know Jesus? What do you know about him? What do you question the most about him?
I want to begin by drawing your attention to three words. Distance. Denial. Repentance. Three words that could easily describe the season of anyone’s life right now. Which one describes you? Do you ever feel distant from God? Ever feel like you’ve turned your back on him one too many times? Ever wonder if God is too fed up with you? Ever wonder if there’s any evidence of repentance in your life? Ever get that sense of hopelessness deep down inside that there’s no way God could ever want you after you’ve made a mess of things again?
I want you to think about a time when someone betrayed you. A time when someone betrayed your trust or stabbed you in the back or neglected to follow through with a commitment they’d made to you. Who was it that betrayed you? What happened when they betrayed you? Where were you when you found out that you’d been betrayed? What did you feel when this happened? How did you respond to the person who betrayed you?
Prayer can be hard. There are seasons of life where the last thing you want to do is stop and pray. Think about a season surrounding the death of a loved one; or a season of intense suffering; or a prayer that never seemed to get answered; or a time where you didn’t know what to pray; or a time when it seemed like God wasn’t listening to your prayers. Sometimes prayer can be hard.
Life is full of dangerous roads. Marriage is a dangerous road. Friendship is a dangerous road. Dating is a dangerous road. Raising children is a dangerous road. Pursuing a career is a dangerous road. Choosing a car to purchase is a dangerous road. Singleness is a dangerous road. Everything in life is chock full of dangerous roads.
Think back to your earliest memories of your biggest heroes. Who were they? What was it about them that made you admire them? Why did you want to be like them? What similarities did you have in common with them? What was it that was lacking in you that seemed not to be lacking in them? Here’s what I want to propose… I believe our greatest heroes reveal some of the weaknesses, fears and desires that are buried deep within our hearts and souls.
When I was young, my sister was a dancer. She did jazz, tap and ballet. I remember, with some level of angst, all the hours spent with my mom waiting in the car or in the hallway while my sister engaged yet again in another dress rehearsal for some major performance that was imminently coming in the next few days.
We all make plans. Some of us even make plans for the plans we make. We premeditate and obsess over what we want, why we want it, what we will do to get it and how we will do what we need to do to get it. The questions we need to ask as we examine this passage today are: What do our plans reveal about what we really want? What do our plans reveal about the condition of our hearts? In what ways do our plans bring honor or dishonor to the Lord? What will you do when you realize that all of your best-laid plans intersect with the plans of the cross of Christ?