Your system. How do you work? When I say work, I want you to understand, I’m not talking about work as in job or labor work. No, I am asking how do you function – what is it that makes you go. A computer is made up of many chips and processors that makes it functional. Are we the same way?
This is the third sermon in my series – That Special Thing. My key verse for today’s sermon is 1 Peter 4:7-9. I will touch on these scriptures near the end of today’s message. So, are we the same as computers which runs off of hardware and software?
Well, we are made up of cells, body tissue, organs, and our brain nervous system that signals the body to do things. I was talking with my brother the other day about how remarkable the human body is. There are things going on with our bodies that we know is going on, but then our bodies at times are doing things that we have no clue about unless we go see a doctor – that’s simply remarkable to me.
Yes, our body is very complex and is made up of many systems but are those systems really all of who we are? You have heard me say it in recent weeks, but I truly feel like we are more than our bodies and I know that we are. I challenge all of you to look into a mirror and look deeply into your eyes. Then, while you are doing that, I challenge you to look beyond your eyes.
You feel it, right? The sense that there is more going on here than we realize. Science tells us that thoughts are formed in the brain out of nowhere, but I have always felt that there is more to that because I am more than this body. Actions like love and hate don’t just come from nowhere and they don’t simply form in our nervous system. The system of who exactly we are is a lot more complicated than many of us can begin to think! Let me show you what I mean by this.
The foundation of our system
Scripture shows us that there was no life in the body of man (mankind) until God breathed into the nostrils of the body. Have you ever wondered what exactly does God breathe? Surely God, the Creator of all things, does not breathe the same oxygen that you, I, and all other living things breathe.
God breathes life. Wherever the Lord is, there is life! God breathed into mankind the breath of life (Gen. 2:7). Yes, you and I, like all of the animals, we breathe in the oxygen and our bodies live off of it. Yet, when God breathed into us, He did not breathe oxygen to us! (Oxygen was something that the earth was already providing.) No, God breathed life into us!
We are different from all other life in this world, because we not only live physically but we also live spiritually. We are living spirits because God breathed a piece of Himself (life) into all of us. Our spirit is the beginning point for who we are; it is truly the heart of our system – what makes us go.
What makes you tick
Your thoughts, they form in your spirit first! This, therefore, also means that the way in which you go is also established in this heart (your spirit)! This is why we constantly read in the Bible about the heart. The heart that we read about in scripture is rarely the one that beats, but the one where we form our morals and the logic that we live by. This is why we are constantly told to either ‘take heed’ or to ‘guard our hearts’.
Actions like love and hate are not things that simply pop up out of nowhere (or in our brains). Our brain can certainly fire off messages to our body for the actions that we want to take to express our love or even our hate. Yet, l tell you that love is part of our system because it was embedded into our system by God!
God is love (1 John 4:8). When the Lord created us, He created us in His image and in His likeness. This means that there were traits that were passed down to us from God. For example: the capability to think, understand, and process things. And, in another example: the capability to love. Nobody is born hating anything or anybody. No, children show us time after time that love is something that is innate to all of us.
The Nature of Hate
Hate. Hate is not something that came from God. We have seen in scripture that God is capable of getting angry. For example: I always remember when Jesus entered into the temple and saw the temple was made into a den of thieves (Matt. 21:12-13) – He was fired up at the sight!
We, too, are capable of getting angry (fired up and upset). Yet, God’s anger comes from a place of love that many of us struggle to understand. For example: In Luke (Luke 14:26), Jesus (God in the flesh) says, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. In this scripture, Jesus is telling believers to love Him more than you love others – this is a love we don’t really understand and always question.
From His place of love, the Lord is able to forgive and properly judge a matter or a person. We, on the other hand, struggle with letting go of our anger at times which means our judgment ends up being blind. We can hold on to our anger for so long that it begins to boil over into hatred in our heart – the thing that God breathed into us – our spirit. When this happens, our actions towards whatever we hate become actions done out of malice instead of love. This is why we are told to learn self-control (Gal. 5:22-23) and to remove anger and malice from our hearts (Col. 3:8).
Our self law of judgment
So, how do we go about removing anger and hate from our system? Anybody that works in a field that requires problem solving will tell you that the only way you can troubleshoot an issue is to do it at the source. So, we must figure out what and why something upsets us. (For example: Why is what your spouse is doing making you angry? Why is what your sibling, friends, classmates, or co-workers is doing making you angry? And, for some in our society, why do you hate someone for the color of their skin or even their sexuality?)
Now, when we start off answering those questions, we will start off by explaining what they do, right? However, when we begin to conclude our answer, we will say something along the lines of, “and I don’t ________ .” (You can fill in the blank.) The source of our anger and hate lies within us.
We live in a society and culture where no man or group of authority dictates what we can like or not like. People can and will certainly express their feelings about something but there is no dictator that forces us to like or not to like something. We live by our own self law by which we form our morals and logic to govern ourselves individually.
Improperly judging others by our self-law
Now, some of us have accepted the way of Christ as the law by which we govern ourselves (establish our ways). Yet, the problem that many of us struggle with is that we cannot accept someone choosing to govern their ways by their own law. This, I believe, is true for us as Christians but I believe the same to be true for non-believers as well.
Some of us do not know how to control our anger when someone disagrees with or even threatens our self-law (our way). When someone, in our mind, breaks our self-law, we then view the way in which they govern themselves as wrong. Typically when this happens, we find that two people will collide in a battle of self-law against the other – two people trying to impose their views on the other.
Remove hate from the heart
As genuine believers, we seem to forget that in the way in which we govern ourselves there is a law above all other laws – love. First, we are told to love God (Matt. 22:37-38). We are not supposed to hate our enemies, but love our enemies (Luke 6:35). So, you may not agree with the way of someone who may be gay, bisexual, or transgender, but we are still told to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. If we can love our so-called enemies, then we can love all people which has been commanded to us.
We say that love is something that is sacred and we have said rightly – it is sacred. Yet, if love is so sacred, why do we treat it as if it is not sacred? I do not understand how one can call himself a Christian, but attack the human rights of another human soul! This thing that God put in us is both sacred and special to us but we treat it otherwise! Whether that person is black or white, gay or not gay, there is a sacred way in which we should live with all people – with love and with peace.
With fervent love, go forward
We, ourselves, are living in a time where hate has simply exploded in our world. There are leaders that we see who are so completely hate-filled that they are blinded by their hate. There are people who are so filled with hate that they will call the cops on you for bird watching, or will kill you in cold blood as others watch and plead for mercy. Anger and hate are the leading causes to many of the problems we have in our world.
Some are looking for divine intervention to make all of today’s problems disappear. I understand the feeling of wanting it to all vanish away, but our problems are not going to disappear overnight. Scripture shows us a few things: it shows us that God is real and that He is sovereign over all things; it also shows us that we can gain salvation through our faith in His only begotten Son; lastly, we see all of where mankind went wrong and what we can do to do better.
Peter tells us the solutions to our problems today in my key verses. Peter says, “have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’ ” I want you to understand that this love is not a docile love; it’s also not a love that sit still! Let’s remember that Jesus said that we who believe in Him are the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13). As I said last Sunday, our love should be filled with rebukes of correction when we see wrong or have been wronged!
But be hospitable as well
Though we are the salt of the earth, we should not be overly powerful in our taste. This is often what happens: we become a bit too salty in dictating (forcing) our beliefs. Let us remember, we live in a society where everyone can choose what law to live by. Typically, hate will always be answered with hate – that is what the bigots and racists are starting to realize.
Yet, we, if we are to move forward as children of God, we must learn how to be as Peter said – hospitable. Peter said, “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” You see, this is the part of the way that those who are bigots and racists and are supposedly followers of Christ seem to forget. If you truly are a follower of Christ and take part in Him, you learn to live peaceably with all men regardless of race, sexuality, class, etc (Rom. 12:18).
The only way we ever solve our problems of today, is if we learn to do these things. The divine intervention has already been given to us – we have an opportunity to make these corrections now. We have a prime opportunity to finally start getting that hate out of our systems, this includes our spirit as well. Let our minds (our spirits) be transformed and renewed that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom. 12:2).