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Vision Series: Formed by His Love

1 John 2:15-17; 4:7-16 CSBTrey VanCamp | August 7, 2022


The Modern Age believes change exclusively comes from more knowledge. As a result, civilization is convinced it will progress into a utopia as our access to information increases exponentially.

But how do we explain the evil and brokenness we still see in the educated regions of the world? How can we explain the gap between what we know is right and our perpetual failure to do what is right?

Knowing the anatomy of the soul, Jesus, our Rabbi, doesn’t just inform our intellect but shapes our desires. By default, our desires are shaped by the world in 3 ways: (1) the lust of the flesh (2) the lust of the eyes, and (3) pride in one’s possessions [1 Jn. 2:15-17]. But by design, we can begin to redirect our desires by anchoring our identity in the love Jesus has for us through the consistent practice of abiding [1 Jn. 4:7-16].


You can take interactive notes here. At the end of the message, you can email the notes to yourself.


Open your Bibles to first John chapter two we are going to be this is part two of our series. If you weren’t here last week, that’s totally fine. But we encourage you to go back to the podcast. You can go to our YouTube channel, just search passion Creek church, or just our, because we’re really building off of each week.

And yes, last week was like the big overview of what we’re gonna be doing as a church family. I mentioned last week in a real way that we are entering into a new chapter. Of our church, this isn’t a new book. We’re not changing things entirely, but I think a big part of maturing is getting more clarity on who you are and who you’re not, and the language you use.

And so that’s what we’ve been doing. And so from now to the fall, We’re learning what it means to be a disciple, a ma taste or in the Hebrew, a TA Madam of Jesus, our rabbi, especially how to be followers of Jesus in the modern age that we find ourselves in. And so passion Creek is about these six words now formed by Jesus together for others.

So last week we explained, how are we formed by our rabbi were formed in three different ways. His love his life and his leader. So tonight is his love. Next week is his life. And the week after that, we’re gonna learn how to be formed by his leadership. Let’s read this text again. You can never have too much scripture.

I wanna really focus in on this really helpful line, John, the apostle rights, and we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us tonight. We’re taking a deeper. What does it mean? The title? My message is to be formed by the love of Jesus. How can we be formed by the love of Jesus? Let’s pray, father God, I just ask you that we would not just be hearers of the word, but maybe we be doers.

God, I pray that tonight. Maybe we be reminded that you love us. God. I know that there’s people coming into this room filled with condemnation, filled with brokenness shame. Worries of our past fear about the future. And God, I just pray that you would open our hearts, open our minds to hear about your love in a new way tonight.

God, I pray that you’d captivate our souls and truly change us from the inside out in Jesus name. I pray, everybody says, amen. Amen. Oops. Can you go back on there? I messed up the slide apparently. All right. So have you noticed the gap. Between what you know, and what you do have you noticed that there is a huge gap between what you know is right.

and you still doing what is wrong lately? I’ve been trying to take intentional steps away from social media mainly to really prepare my heart for this series. And so I’ve just been stepping away. I’m on it a little bit. So if you’re like, Hey I saw you like my story, the leather day. You’re a liar. No I am on it a little, but I have been really restraining how much I am just on the digital world entirely.

One thing though that I have been missing, if I’m. There is quite a few. Me and my wife were talking about this. Y yesterday, we don’t know what to call girls ladies in our age bracket, cuz they’re not like ladies, but they’re not girls. They’re not, I don’t wanna call ’em women. I don’t know. Anyways, these ladies at our church around our age, they’ve been posting on Instagram about health stuff and it’s been so informative for me.

Like it became a thing where I just look every day. What is the new thing that I do that has wound up being the worst thing in the world to do. And so I check this stuff, all the. I really do learn something new about how everything I love is probably going to kill me. Have you noticed that as well and the health stuff?

The biggest thing, and I you’re in the room. I’m so sorry, but you posted it and it destroyed my soul. Apparently candles are like the worst thing for you. And that broke me. If I’m honest, that hurt me because there is nothing like a candle and experiencing the love of God by turning on lighting a candle and opening your Bible.

But just a couple weeks ago, one of the posts that really caught my attention was talking about how truly terrible pop tarts are for your body. Have you seen this? Have you heard, we should probably know this. Just take one, look at it. And you go, is that really actually food? Welcome to America. And so I was stunned by some of the information about what it can do to you.

I was horrified about my parents feeding it to me, my whole childhood thinking. There is no hope for me, but then what’s so funny is two days later, I’m not joking you two days later, I’m just sitting there reading my book, eating a pop tart. I finished my last bite and go, oh, that could have killed me. I forgot

And there is a huge gap between what you know and what you.  and one of the greatest deceptions of the modern age is this belief that the only problem we have is a lack of knowledge. We assume in today’s society. If we just get educated, we will change. And so we think as we exponential increase, which we are increase in information and technology, we reason that we must progress towards UOP.

we are getting smarter. Therefore we will reach perfection or what a lot of people call progression. But you and I know that doesn’t explain the evil and brokenness. We still see not just in every part of the world, but also in the educated regions of the world. But here’s the thing that’s really hit home for me, even in church.

even if I was honest about how I’d lead and try to form people’s life into the image of Christ. I often think the only way to change somebody is just information transfer. It’s this thought that’s baked into our society and it’s not really in the scripture is let me hear me by the way. I’m not anti-intellectual at all, but it is just a component of change.

It’s not the whole thing. A lot of people will say, quote, change your mind and you will change your life in quote. . I actually don’t know if I agree. A lot of us say, okay, if I just deliberate, then I will do, if I just think this through, then I will become exactly who I want to be. It sounds amazing. But how many of us are still stuck with sinful habits?

Still stuck in shame and condemnation, even though we know all the right things, we still don’t. All the right things. We know what is right. But perpetually fail to do what is right. So what do we do? What’s the answer, the goal for discipleship to Jesus. We mentioned last week, our framework for discipleship, our vision is that you would change.

That’s the whole goal at our church. We don’t wanna just gather a bunch of people. We don’t wanna no. What we are so focused on, what keeps me awake at night is thinking about all every single one of us progressing into becoming people of love slowly but surely becoming people at peace, those who have genuine joy.

This is why we are here as a church. And the question is, how do we do that? We have to recognize the limitations of know. One of my favorite books. If you’re a reader, take note of this. If you’re not, don’t read it, cuz it’s heavy. It’s called you are what you love by James KA Smith. One of my favorite books, he has this line that is just startling.

 It has really informed the way that we’re working through this series at our church. He asked this really horrifying, but really helpful question. What if, instead of starting from the assumption that human beings are thinking. We started from the conviction that human beings are first and foremost lovers.

What if you were defined not by what you know, but by what you desire, he goes on to say you are what you love, but here’s the scary part. You may not love what you.  it’s this process of understanding. Okay. How do I we’ll go on this a little bit more in a minute, but in order to change, it must first start at the heart.

But even that, how do you change your heart? Really difficult. This is why we have this thing called the Bible and prayer, asking for God to do what only he can do, but there’s also a role for us to play. And that’s what we’re gonna really lean into tonight. Let’s revisit the Venn diagram that I talked about last.

Just as a refresher, I’m not gonna spend too much time over here, but what we mentioned last week was unintentionally. If you’re not curating your soul and really being intentional with your habits, your thought life, your actions, all these things, the narratives you listen to, you will fall into this trap where the devil, the world and the flesh run your life.

And it’s full of fear, pride and indulgence. And it does this. Constantly reminding us of our status, playing the status game, really indulging in habits that really hurt ourselves and those around us, and also believing in the narratives that you hear all throughout society. So that is unintentional.

If you are not intentional and thinking through every step of your life, this is what you will. Wind up becoming, but what we’re saying at our church, what we wanna do is to be intentional about our formation. We are formed by Jesus together for others. What this happens is now we are formed by his love, his life and his leadership.

I’m not gonna go into all of this, go into last week’s message. I encourage you to do that, but here’s, what’s helpful for us to look at tonight. Another way to look at it is the love of Jesus is Jesus communicating and changing our heart.  the life of Jesus is changing. What we do with our hands and the leadership of Jesus changes our head.

In two weeks, we’re gonna be exposing narratives of the world. We’re gonna be talking about knowledge and it’s important role that it plays, but friends, let me tell you, you will not genuinely change. If you just focus on the. You also need the heart and next week we will learn. You also need the hands. In fact I went to me and David Parks.

We went to a preaching conference in Portland last year, and I don’t think you’ve noticed probably not, but ever since that conference, ever since I’ve come back, I have literally organized every single sermon, subconsciously this is like inception stuff. All right. Every single sermon starts with a.

Enters into the heart and ends with the hands. Yeah. You didn’t notice. I know. It’s fine. We’re okay. So let’s learn you notice. Thanks. Thanks, David. Wow. Okay. Let’s learn about love from the apostle of love. So John, he’s the one who wrote first, second, third, John. But also the book of John, what’s pretty fascinating to me, the apostle John, he could have branded himself a million different ways.

He could have said, this is who I am, but how does Jesus define him? Sorry. How does John define himself in the Bible? It’s pretty amazing. He goes the disciple whom Jesus loved. I love that. I would’ve thought if I was Peter, bro, you thought he only loved you. Who are you to say? You. Do you really think, of course we all know Jesus loved all of his disciples, even those Judas who betrayed him, but why would John identify himself this way?

I am the disciple that Jesus loved. I think it’s because his life was changed when he finally realized the truth at his core, his main identity was the fact that Jesus loved him. It’s what changed his entire life. It’s how he viewed all of life. I can go through the dark days and the best days I can go through my purpose, I can go through the labor, all of this, because I know that Jesus loves me and this was his core identity.

And it’s a constant theme throughout everything that he wrote in the scriptures. But what’s happening. What’s what we have to understand. Especially if you grew up in church like me, you’ve heard this, your whole. Jesus loves you. And it becomes so common that it actually doesn’t hit you, right? It doesn’t really change your life.

Like it used to discipleship to Jesus being formed by his love takes a lot of intentionality. I wanna give you that roadmap tonight. We cannot skip this part of discipleship. We cannot skip this part of change. Here’s what’s happening by default. Again, this whole spiritual formation is unintentional verse intentional tonight.

I’m using the phrase by default. Or by design, write this down. Here’s what happens by default. Our life is shaped by our love for the world without extreme intentionality. In fact, it’s one reason why I’m just flabbergasted that people think they don’t need the church. I need the church. I need the community of God’s people to help form my loves to the Lord rather than to the.

By default, it is hard. We will be formed. We will, our desires. You may think you’ll love Jesus, but you look at your actual life. Everything points to the. You’re loving the things of the world. How do we change that? Let’s first look at what are ways you and I love the world. And if you are here and I hope you agree to this, we all to be human means we default to this.

All right. The scriptures say in first, John chapter two, do not love the world or the things in the world now, does this mean we’re hateful people? No, he’s saying though, do not set your ultimate affection. Do not think this thing will save my life. No only Jesus can do that. Do not love the world. Are the things in the.

If anyone loves the world, it’s just shocking. This is hard. The love of the father is not in him for everything in the world. And look at these three bullet points, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride in one’s possessions is not from the father, but it’s from the world and the world with its lust is passing.

Dying off, but the one who does the will of God notice this doing, we’re really emphasizing that. Who does the will of God remains forever real quick. Let me explain to you, what does it mean? The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and pride in one’s possessions. Even as a pastor, I had to like research that this week.

I, it just the phrasing doesn’t necessarily make sense right away. Number one less of the flesh means craving. This means it’s something that you just desire more than anything. So for example, to be human is to have hunger. This is what happens, especially if you’re not eating, but Glu is where you take hunger and go overboard.

Does that make sense? So instead of finding satisfaction, okay, I was hungry. I met my need now. No you’re saying no, this food needs to meet all of my needs. I’m gonna over-indulge in this and now I will be. Any other people who just run to food when they’re depressed. Just me. All right. Another one is thirst.

I see that hand. I see that hand. That’s what, pat, I see that hand over there. Praise God. All right. So now the other one is like thirst. You can go from thirst to drunkenness. This is craving this over desire or another one sleep. We all need sleep, but you go from sleep to Laz. Overindulging in sleep thinking it will ultimately satisfy.

Does that make sense? So lust of the flesh is your body over desiring. You do have that need, but you overdo it. The second thing that he talks about is lust of the eyes. One way I would describe this is coveting. This is especially hard for us in the digital world, because it is so easy for us just to open the phone and immediately start coveting other people’s lives.

and the secret of course is nobody shares the behind the scenes. They only share the highlight reels. And so their life looks amazing. And your life doesn’t coveting means to want what other people have it’s to live in a fantasy world. It’s what fascinates me that we want to live in this VR world, because we don’t like the life that we’re in.

We’d rather just covet and desire. What other people have. This is the evils of porn. Coveting after something in the wrong way, in an evil hateful way. Here’s, what’s hard though, to be a human is to naturally fall into craving and into coveting. It just what happens. Which is why we need the word of God.

It’s why we need formation. We need to be very intentional by the power of the holy spirit. Let’s look at this last one. Pride in one’s possessions is comparing some of us. We live our life just to compare. I see myself getting caught up in this right, like vehicles, I think, oh man. Like I think I thought I liked my truck, but now look at his truck.

And all these things you think through ah, I’ve even noticed it with our own house. We’re super discontent with the home that we’re in because we have friends that have just the best place to host people. I just think, oh, this would be amazing, but then you have to think, wow, Lord, I need to be grateful just where I’m at this pride in one’s possession, that it really sucks the life out of you.

And everything becomes about this game. You crave you, you crave things more than you need. You Cove it after your neighbor’s gifts, you compare your success to those around. This is really the epitome of what happens when we send these same devices, craving coveting, comparing trapped Eve in the garden.

Look at this in Genesis three, six, and when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, the lust of the flesh over craving it, cuz she already had the food she needed somewhere else. And that it was pleasant to the eyes, the lust of the eyes and a tree to be desired, to make one wise, to compare yourself to other people, right?

The pride of life she took. Of the fruit. And so like we saw in the garden, your loves, you’re not that good of a person. Hear me, your loves naturally desire the things of the world. And John is saying, when we love the world, it leads to death. What happened to Adam and Eve death was introduced into the story because she gave into.

And so did he, the lust, the flesh, the lusts of the eyes. And the pride of life. And here’s what we have to remind ourselves over and over again, this is why we need the scriptures. It’s why we need community. It’s why we need fellowship. Look, the world disguises itself as a paradise, but it’s actually a parasite.

It makes it seem like man, if you get this, everything will be better. And I’ve fallen for this trap over and over again. But how many of us we get the thing and go, oh, it must be the next. Oh, I need just a little bit. And this is very rudimentary, but look, this is how it captures our hearts.

Our loves, we fall into the lie and think, okay, if I get that, my heart will, my desires will be fulfilled and we’re always left wanting more real quick. David Foster Wallace, anybody heard of him? He’s an American author, novel guy. Amazing. I love my church where they don’t read. All right. He expressed his he’s not a theologian at all, but he actually has this great theology he speaks at, he was at a graduation speech and I thought it was really good.

Again, not even a Christian, but he saw the perils of this world. And what happens when you allow your love to be attached to the world quickly, if you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual lure, and you will always feel ugly.

And when time and age start showing, this is such a haunting line, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. You can tell he is an author Gett. You tell poetic, all right, next worship power. You will feel weak and afraid and you will need even more power over others to keep the. At bay, this is what the love of the world does.

Last one, worship your intellect being seen as smart, and you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. This is what love for the world does for you and what I want us to reflect. How many of us felt those things feeling stupid, like a fraud, feeling, ugly, feeling these power moves that shows your heart may be desiring.

Things that you didn’t even realize they desired. Your heart is naturally bent towards love for the world that leads to destruction the world disguises itself as a paradise, but it’s ultimately. A parasite. So maybe you’re like me and you know this to be true. That loving the world leads to death and pain.

And yet there is a gap between what you know and what you do, you shouldn’t worship money, but then you say, be God, if you gave me a cell there is a gap. What do we do about. I don’t know about you, but this is what’s happened to me in my own process of discipleship. I have realized it does not matter how much the Bible.

I know if I don’t reorient my love, I will constantly still be driven by craving coveting and comparing. I can explain to you why I did what was wrong, but I still did. What was wrong? What do we. And the sad part that I used to start to get content with until God began to change my life just a few years ago, the sad reality is some of us think none of us are perfect.

We’ll never really truly change until we get to heaven. And I’m here to tell you, of course you will not reach perfection, but we can all get a whole lot more like Jesus here on earth. Amen. And there is a joy. And my desire at this church is that we help you form into that kind of person. Galatians four 19 is the thesis of our church.

Paul says he labors until Christ is fully formed in you. That is our desire at this church. That is our heartbeat at this church. And we believe it can actually happen. So the question is, how can that happen? How can we know what’s sin and what’s wrong, but not only that, but now actually do what’s right.

Where is that? Let me write this down. This is how we do it by design. What it really is a love issue. So by design, we are formed by the love of Jesus through two ways through the truths of our identity. And the practice of abiding. If you remember our concentric circles, I talked about the love of Jesus was mainly about identity.

And then the life of Jesus is about the practices. You’ll notice in all these series. I can’t just not talk about one without the other, these all go together. And so we have to really lean into what is our identity and how do we practice? We do these things. The love of Jesus will no longer be a theory, but it will become a reality and it will absolutely change your life.

Amen. First John four, let’s go to. I told myself this week, I will not say let’s hurry. I said, I need to hurry so many times last week for that. I apologize, but let’s hurry. First, John four, that was the only time I promise. First John four verse seven says the following dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God.

God and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God, this born of God, language is born again. This is when you put your faith and trust in Jesus. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. It’s not that God has love. God is love at the core of who he is. God’s love was re revealed among us in this way.

God sent his one and only son into the. So that we might live through him. This is a beautiful picture of the gospel. Love consists in this. He wants to make this extra clear. Not that we loved God. The sermon tonight is not that. Wow. We are so great at loving God. No, and it is instead, but that he loved us.

And since his son to be the atoning S. For our sins for us to understand, according to this text for us to know that he loved us, it goes on to say in first John four 19, we love, we do love, but only because he first loved us, but how do we know? He loves us. We recognize that what Jesus did by going to the cross dying and raising again.

What happened is this word atonement? Atonement is a very difficult word, but it’s very easy to remember recognize it this way. Atonement literally just means at one meant what this means is we were separated from God because of our sin because of the lust of the flesh, Lu of the eyes and pride of life.

Our love wasn’t for the Lord. It was for the world and it broke us apart. But when he made at one minute, brought us back together. We now can be loved by God. We are brought back in fellowship with him because of what Jesus did in our place. Are you with me? This is the beauty of the gospel in Christ. We are reunited to God in Christ Jesus, because of what he’s done.

You and I are God’s children and we have his inheritance and none of that can ever be taken away. Let me give you quickly nine truths about your identity and. So if you are really struggling to be loved by Jesus, start with these nine truths and bathe yourselves in them, think about ’em over and over.

Cuz we still do need knowledge. And this is a big part once separated now joined to Christ. We see this in Ephesians one, the theological term is called union with Christ because of our sin. We are separated from, but because of what Jesus did, we can be back with him quickly. Once deaf now, given ears to here, there is a time where the scriptures, where the things that God made no sense, but God in his mercy revealed truth to us.

And now we hear things differently. Number three. We were once dead. Now we’re made alive. That in Ephesians two, the theological term here is regeneration. And so we believe when you put your faith in trust. In that moment, you were given a new heart, a new life, a new purpose. We were once lost, but now we are found, that in acts 20 people call this the theological term is conversion.

So just know this. You’re not a lot. If you believe in Jesus you have a purpose. You’re not lost. You are found and you are seen, we are once condemned, but now we are righteous again in Ephesians chapter two, the theological term here is justification, but man, I struggle with this. I condemn myself. I think about my history.

I think about how I’m not worthy, but I have to go to this truth and say no in Christ. I’m the righteousness of God in Christ. I am perfect in the eyes of God. I am not condemned. No, I am actually. This is an important truth to remember you and I were once a slave, but now a son or a daughter enslave to sin, enslave to the love of the world.

Without Jesus, you will have nothing but less of the flesh, less of the eyes and the pride of life. Once unclean now, holy. Ephesians five addresses that we call that sanctification. Once unfaithful now kept by God. We see that in Romans eight, we call this the perseverance of the saints. Once we are saved, we are forever saved and then once in shame, but now in glory, second Corinthians three talks about our ultimate glorification.

We will be made. Absolutely perfect when we die and be with God, look, God loves you. And God has saved you from the penalty of sin in your past. God loves you. And he has saved you from the power of sin here in the present and friends. God loves you, and he will save you from the presence of sin in the future.

You and I have to have this knowledge, God. Is love. May we be students of the scriptures and take that into our head and meditate on it and think it through over and over again. But that is just the head. How do we go from the head to the heart? We memorize it. Yes. We learn this. We rejoice over that.

We. , but how do we get it to the heart? How do we actually at a realistic level walk, as if we know we are loved, John addresses this, he believes we don’t have to just know his love. We can actually believe it, which means to walk in it, be confident of it. He says here in verse 11, dear friends, if God loves us in this way, we also must love one another.

That’s a huge litmus test. By the way you say you love God. Great. I’ll only believe you as if you love. Or not just the ones you like either. Amen. This is the true test to see if the love of God has taken root. No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God remains in us. And his love is made complete in us.

He’s saying we show God by how we love. This is how we know that we remain. Or another word is abide. Maybe in your translations. We remain in him and he, and. Notice this mutual relationship he has given us of his spirit. And we have seen, and we testify that the father has sent his son as the world’s savior, whoever confesses that Jesus is the son of God, God remains or abides or dwells in him.

And he, and God. And here’s the big line. And we have come to know knowledge, identity. This is who I am. I once was dead. Now I’m alive. I once was deaf. Now I can hear all those things and to believe. The love that God has for us. God is love. And the one who abides the one who remains in love, remains in God, and God remains in him.

Look at this. We have to laser in on this. Look. This has been one of my deepest struggles I have always known. God loves me, but my actions show that I’m still looking for love in all of the wrong places.  so how do I make this work? Maybe you’re like me when somebody says, God loves you. It just feels like a cheap hallmark card, cuz it’s just okay, I’ve heard this a thousand times. Do you really mean what you just said? But the key word here, we have to zero in on, is this word remain? , this is how we’re gonna end tonight. Look, what does it mean to remain or to abide? You see this phrase also in John 15 or to dwell Orthodox Christians like to use this word synergism.

There’s this synergy where remaining, and this is important takes action on our part and action on God’s part. So a lot of us in our theology, we think, oh man, if God just loves me, I do nothing. And God just shows his love.  which is true, but also for us to realize it, not just know it, but to believe it not only does he put action on our part, but we also put in action, we put in practice so that we can know and believe the love that God has for us.

And here’s the thing remaining in God takes effort. It’s extremely difficult. And it’s really hard for us because I think we’ve all been told to lie. That love just happens. You can’t work on it. You can’t force it if it’s there it great. If not, it wasn’t meant to be Woody. Allen has that line. The heart wants what it wants.

We have no control over our desires. I’m here to say, I think that’s a lie from the pit of. And the truth is we can control what we love and who we love. Yes. There’s a part that you and I play. Write this down. This is a game changer for me, and I hope it is for you. Our desires are dictated by habits, not by happenstance.

One of the biggest lies you and I believe today because we’re bathed in just the society. That is a detached from scripture is we are convinced if I have a desire, it’s just by happenstance. Maybe I would, it just happened that way. I was born that way, whatever. But the reality is your habits have a huge role to play with your heart.

What you do does something to you. This is crucial. We forget. Let me be gentle here, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a huge percentage of gen Z are doubting their sexuality while their grandparents never did. No, that’s a generalization, but you get where I’m going. Why it’s the habits? It’s not just happenstance.

It’s not just outta nowhere in 2020, boom. There was this, I almost just said virus, but there was this virus, but this thing where people just started to doubt their sexuality, it was the things we partake in. It’s the things we listen to. It’s the things that we do. Look, the world is training us through the habituation of our minds, our hearts and our hands.

We have to see what we do does something to us. Let me give you a hope-filled. For years, I hated to run despised. It thought it was the lamest thing ever. I basketball player. So I’ll run to get a ball and go shoot it, but I’m not just gonna run in a circle. Makes no sense. I don’t watch NASCAR either. Why?

Okay. That’s where I’m at.  now in 2019, I was really inspired by this YouTuber and I was just shocked at how much he would run and how good it was for him. He talked about how it helped his anxiety, yada, and so every day for about a month, I started to. And I complained to Jordan every single day, my knees hurt.

I’m not good at this. This is lame, yada, but then suddenly, I don’t know when it was six weeks, eight weeks. Some of you were like for me would take a year, but whatever it is, all of a sudden I began to love it. I had no idea this would happen, but I couldn’t wait to run because I practiced it long enough that it became a passion.

Have you practiced the presence of God, long presence of God long enough? To make it a passion. Cause we just keep thinking, man, this God thing, it just has to happenstance sometimes by the grace of God, it is how incredible. But for most of us, the love of God doesn’t take root until we make it a habit to be with him until we consistently run to the.

Until day by day, it doesn’t feel right. It feels awkward. But day by day, we recite the scriptures. We declare his love for us. We establish our identity and we practice slowly, but surely we become people who ache and who usher into the presence of God. I’m telling you some of y’all been running for just a week and you quit.

Keep. And also, I love country music now because my wife never stopped. She just kept playing it on the car over and over. And this week she caught me. I was just walking around singing another country song. I thought, no, what I don’t do does something to me. You little. Okay. Another James K a Smith quote from the same book.

He says the church. This is the role we have to play. The body of Christ is the place where God invites us to renew our loves to reorient our desires and to retrain our appetites. , this is why we’re saying get in a together group. This is why we’re saying it’s important to come into the house every week.

It’s not so we can hit attendance goals. It’s not. So we can say this, that or the other it’s because that is what will change your life. And some of us, we don’t run consistently enough. You get what I’m saying? This is what’s habits. It habituates into our minds because here’s the thing. If you’re not doing these things with the Lord, you are doing it with the world.

You can’t just be. If you’re not pursuing the Lord, you are pursuing the world. And so this is a fight. This is why Proverbs 4 23 says, guard your heart above all else for it is the source of life. I was told this as a teenager every week by my youth pastor. And I never understood it because I believed my heart does what it wants.

How can I guard it? I just love whatever I love. I fell into the lie of secularism. I thought, man, how can I guard it? I have no idea what that verse. Now I’m like, oh, look at your habits, cuz your desires are dictated by your habits, not by your happenstance. And so I realize, oh, it’s these things. I do something to me.

So to guard my heart, I need to first look at what I do.  and these things I do lead me to crave, to covet and compare, or to get into the presence of God quickly. Dallas Willard puts it this way. This is the fundamental secret of caring for our souls. Friends. Hear me? I just want you to get this and I want you to live in this reality of his love for you.

This is the fundamental secret of caring for our souls. Our part in thus practicing the presence of God is to direct. And redirect don’t just run tomorrow, but also the next day, redirect our minds constantly to him in the early time of our practicing. This takes effort. We may well be challenged by our burdensome habits of dwelling on things less than God.

That’s a good way to put it Dallas. Yeah, but these are habits, not the law of gravity and can be broken. You can change your life today. A new grace filled habit will replace the former ones. This is huge by the way, with habits. This is the practice this week. You can’t just say I’m not gonna do something.

You have to replace it with something better. A grace filled habit will replace the former ones as we take intentional steps towards keeping God before us. This is what a biting means to keep him before our minds. Soon, our minds will return to God as the needle of a compass, constantly returns to. F, no matter how the compass is moved friends, no matter how you were moved.

Our desire at this church is to make it where your heart constantly recalibrates to the love of God. How do we do that by remembering and knowing our identity in Christ, that does take knowledge, but practicing the presence of God remaining in his presence, abiding, it takes effort. How do we do that?

Let me help you sh real quick and we’re done. Love is what we’re after and love is spelled T I M E. If you wanna love something, you gotta habitually be with that thing over and over again. And after being with Jordan for a decade, I have learned you can never rush T I M.  because you block the holy spirit when you walk in a hurried spirit.

So when your together groups this week, you’re gonna be practicing and processing what these two practices are. Number one, I want you to examine your pace in life. Where in your life do you need to slow down? When I talk to most of you, what is the major thing? I just don’t have time. Okay. But you’re an adult.

So make. Audit your life and go, what am I doing that the world tells me I have to be doing? And now I go, oh, wait, I don’t have to do that anymore. There is enough time in the day to still get a full night’s sleep and to be in the presence of God. And maybe for you, it’s your mornings. It’s too rush. Maybe for you.

You go to bed too late. You need to change that. Maybe it’s your afternoons, whatever it is, begin to examine. Look at your life. Because look, your pace in life leads to grace or strife. How is your pace? We are often in way too much of a hurry to even listen to the love that God has for us. So recognize your pace, but now you need to replace.

So notice the thing in your life you’re doing too much of, or too quick of, it’s not enough time with the Lord. So you pick that UK. I need to slow down in this section of my day or in this section of. Then you pick a habit, you replace it with a slowing down with God. You remove a bad habit by putting in a good one.

So maybe you replace your time on the phone every night. To your time in the scriptures, or maybe you don’t touch your phone. This is what I do the first five hours of my day. Usually I try God’s grace. Thank the Lord. I try not to touch my phone cuz I am getting to work and I am in the presence of God and I cannot allow, or I cannot be threatened by the world’s allure to grab my heart.

I need to give my heart. Maybe replace Netflix at night with fellowship or scripture memorization, maybe replace gossip with evangelism at work. Think through what are you doing? Just pick one. If you’re an overachiever, pick three and replace them, what could God begin to do in your life? Friends?

There is a gap between what we know and what we do, but by the grace of God, we can begin to change through intentionality of what we.  and it will begin to coincide with what we know by the power of God. That’s what I want for your life. That’s what I want for mine.

Group Guide

Meal & Conversation

Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, use one or two of these questions to check in with everyone:

1. What’s one thing God’s been teaching you this week?
2. What’s one thing you’re grateful for this week?
3. How would you summarize your week in 3 words?

Overview of Teaching

The Modern Age believes change exclusively comes from more knowledge. As a result, civilization is convinced it will progress into a utopia as our access to information increases exponentially.

But how do we explain the evil and brokenness we still see in the educated regions of the world? How can we explain the gap between what we know is right and our perpetual failure to do what is right?

Knowing the anatomy of the soul, Jesus, our Rabbi, doesn’t just inform our intellect but shapes our desires. By default, our desires are shaped by the world in 3 ways: (1) the lust of the flesh (2) the lust of the eyes, and (3) pride in one’s possessions [1 Jn. 2:15-17]. But by design, we can begin to redirect our desires by anchoring our identity in the love Jesus has for us through the consistent practice of abiding [1 Jn. 4:7-16].


1. Read 1 John 2:15-17. Thinking back on Sunday’s teaching, how would you describe the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions? Share with your Group which of these you struggle with the most.

How has the love for the world and the things of the world (which we all struggle with!) affected your relationship with Jesus?

2. Now read 1 John 4:7-10. What truths about our identity does this passage show us? Why is it important for us to remember that love starts with God, not us?

3. Look at 1 John 4:16. In what ways do you struggle to both know and believe God’s love for you? How does this affect the way you see yourself (identity) and the way you live (habits)?


There are two parts to the practice of abiding this week. The first part is to examine your pace. We often struggle to allow God’s truth to sink deep from our heads into our hearts simply because we live in a hurried pace. We fill our days with habits and rhythms that seem harmless, but actually take away key opportunities to be with God. These habits build up, and over weeks, months, and years, form us into people of hurry rather than people of presence.

The second part of abiding is to replace. Not only must we take note of our neutral and destructive habits, we must also choose to replace those habits with better practices. Here’s a simple way to practicing abiding this week:

1. Examine your pace in life by spending a day keeping track of all the activities that take up your time. (Ex 10 mins making coffee; 30 mins watching the news; 20 mins scrolling social media; 20 mins driving to work; 2 hr. Netflix; etc.)

2. Note the destructive habits, the habits that make you rushed, and the habits that simply waste your time. Also note the consistent rhythms during your day where you find yourself most tempted to sin. Do you get angry when you don’t have breakfast? Is your flesh tempted when you’re home alone after work? Does your greed and materialism flare up after scrolling through social media? Do you gossip during lunch with co-workers?

3. Begin to practice replacing these destructive habits with good ones. Some examples:

  • Have your morning coffee and breakfast while reading scripture or praying rather than watching/scrolling through the news.
  • Replace a Netflix binge with family time, a phone call with a friend, or 30 minutes of lectio divina.
  • Reject the lie from social media that says your worth is in your wealth and reputation by meditating on a verse that reminds you of God’s love.

Remember, the goal is not to condemn ourselves for how we spend our time. Many of these habits and routines are neutral. Even still, neutral habits can and often do distract us from dwelling in the love and presence of God.

Discuss the following questions as a Group.

1. Thinking back on how you spent your time this week, when do you notice yourself most distracted, hurried, and anxious?

2. What lies from your environment do you notice that are pulling you away from the truth of God’s love for you?

3. Where do you need encouragement form your Group as you prepare for this practice?


As you end your night, spend some time praying for and encouraging one another.