What are the things that keep us in the pit of sin? What do you think is needed to get out of the pit? In the series SPIRITUAL RENEWAL, we explore the experience of the children of Israel in the BOOK OF JUDGES and how it is that the "God who Made Us also Can Remake Us." In part 3 Fr. Michael Sorial teaches from Judges 6-7 and explores how "Mental Transformation Leads to Spiritual Liberation."
so anyway back when I was a little boy there was this little accident between like myself my sister died I accidentally lit her hair on fire ya tol accent oh and I'll share the full story another time maybe but after that accident I had to run into the bathroom and lock myself in and try to fend for my life and I was like I didn't have a plan other than I was just going to try to survive as long as I possibly could and we lived in that house where there was bathroom like you know door here nor here and the sink areas in here that there's another door inside where the toilet in the tower and so there's a lock here in a long queue but no one here and so I'm on the outside and I'm you know push him here then the sister would run around and unlock over here and I have to run back and lock and I base got to run back board make sure I was alive and I thought really I felt stuck until my brother decided like let's even up the odds a little bit and they love kind of collapsed the two doors at once so I had to run into the inner bathroom and there was no longer so I had myself wedged between the door and the tub and and I just I how long as long as my little six-year-old or 77 year old legs could possibly hold out before they collapse the door but I felt so stuck and so suffocated I felt like there was no way I was never going to get out of there and I was like there was no hope then for the rest of the day there was something there's not a nice way to say as I was just I received many beatings for just a periodic points of the day and I just I felt like I felt at the most bottom like place I could possibly field i'm sure my sister and her own way probably had a similar feeling at that point but sometimes when we get those places we get these spiritual places we feel like we're in that place like there's no look like we came we're constantly running around trying to fix things and stay afloat and keep things in control and then and then at a certain point it just the walls come came in and you've gotta run even deeper in and you get more soccer then right when you think okay you finally come out it just keeps getting worse and get piled on top of you pile them up for you it just keeps coming if y'all remember the psalmist King David we spoke up his first few weeks ago he I think was in that place where Psalm 22 verse 6 he says but I am a worm and no man or approach a man had despised by the people this man the king of Israel felt like a worm he felt like he was subhuman he was that like wagging of a warrant worms or not the cutest of creatures okay like I know they're necessary for the ecosystem but they are usually down on the duck dirt there in the filth earn the like when you have dirty like old food you'll find worms and that's all I kind of Nancy stuff ok this is what King David is feeling like so over the last few weeks we've been talking about the pit how to get out or not the pic what keeps us there understanding the problem this week we want to talk about the idea of getting out of the pit and I think the process starts by the mental transformation I think this group you guys were talking about this idea or someone mentioned it Romans 12 this idea of having our minds renewed have it remind you I think the process of coming out of it starts just with that so I will offer you today that I think mental transformation how we think about things how we understand God ourselves arpit what he has in store for us will ultimately lead to spiritual liberation being freed out of that pit and this comes about through the process of being recreated we've been talking about how it is that God who made us can remake us Hey and I offer to all that say that that I see us were so clear and on the Incarnation that that is the reason that God became man because only the one who made us at the beginning can we make us or recreate us or make us new yesterday and discover talking from st. Cyril Jerusalem his katha catechol letters we're saying actually sorry was Gregory of Nyssa Gregory of Nyssa he was saying that it's not what makes us a child of God is not that we were born but that we were reborn okay so this idea is that if we want to become if we want to be liberated it comes through our own minds being reviewed which will then lead to recreation being remade you and we'll talk about why that's important which ultimately leads to our spiritual liberation all right is it possible to get out is it possible to get out y'all remember this movie Dark Knight dark knight rises all right anyone solve this movie alright alright there's a half of y'all are very honest I appreciate that what you will notice about this this is the time when who's this Bruce Wayne he's trying to get out of the pit is stuck hey what do you notice about this picture of you have seen the movie what what's holding him back the safety rope good the safety rope is holding him back every time he tries to jump and get out of the pit he falls and the reason he falls is because i believe wanna understand this is like in our own theology of spiritual eyes understanding the reason he falls is he wants to do it completely on his own and he wants to have that safety net that's there for him and that's going to save him in case if he falls again just in case the reality is getting out of the pin is scary there is a danger there's a risk we talked about a couple weeks ago it is risky try to get out some of us we have been stuck in a pit for years we can't imagine our lives without that pit it is become a staple in our lives and so imagine our lives without it is terrifying like yes one part of us says it'd be great to be free and it'd be something another part of us says can I really do it is it possible and I think that's that safety rope that's holding them back today we're going to look at judges the book of Judges we can continue going through it and looking at the children is your own how it is like we can learn from that experience for ourselves to get out of the pit we're going to notice three things that happens in judges chapter six with the children of Israel as we understand ourselves coming out of the pit first thing that we will notice is that they cried out to God no words they needed to realize where they were that they were and look up to realize that there was a light at the end of them there is a place that is better than where they are currently up judges chapter six verse seven tonight it came to pass from the children Israel cried out to the Lord because of the many nights that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel who said to them thus says the Lord God of Israel I brought you up from Egypt brought you out of the house of bondage and I delivered you out of the hands of the Egyptians and out of the hands of all who pressed you and drove them out before you and gave you their land okay he's reminding them of something that he had previously done and if we look in Exodus chapter 3 verse 9 says now therefore behold the cry of the children Israel has come to me and I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians president so he say you remember what happened way back when when I saved you when I help you so for us it's important to look up to god from the bottom of the pic and remember the one who has if you will save us who has been there before the one who came himself in the flesh to save us from Egypt to save us from bondage to save us from slavery doesn't God already know what I need but he knows where I'm at why doesn't he just do something right I have that's what some people think why doesn't just God why does it not just do something friend of mine we were talking to a few weeks ago his relationship with his son and you were sharing with me that for him it's like he knows what his kid is going through but he just wants that he desires that intimacy with his son and for a son to come to him and to open up to him and to but confess his need like that I need some help with this it's about us coming to our Heavenly Father and saying father I am in need of help he knows yes but that doesn't preclude like as a dad when my kid comes and says that would you help me I try not to intervene in my kids like when they're doing something and they follow me what they say that can you know make sure but our impose myself upon them this is important for them to learn that they have a voice and to use that voice it's important for us as well to know that we have a voice and to use that voice as we come to cry out to God so the first thing they do is they cry out the second thing they do is they confess so they look up to god and then after that they confess judges chapter 6 verse 25 to 27 now it came to pass the same knife that the Lord said to him take your father's young bull the second bullet seven years old and tear down the altar of battle that your father has I'm cut down the wooden image that is decided build an altar to the Lord your God to the top of this rock in the proper arrangement take the second Bowl offer burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down do you realize what this man did in the middle of the night he goes and he tears down the altars about he is going to use him as a semi he's going to burn them basically hey in other words he had to come and acknowledge that sin is sin that I needed to be torn down there is a need for us to acknowledge and to have some self realization that citizen like I think what have you all said in the discussion of sometimes like we just don't acknowledge citizen I think one of the things that I think is so interesting today is people now begin to pick and choose what they want to accept as teaching of the church so people say yeah except everything with auntie Chester but not like but for those few things like come on like I don't accept that tough everything on the moon but not those tour dreams okay why because those things might make them uncomfortable or might not align with their moral social values we need to acknowledge and be real with God that we are in the pit and that sin is sin in our lives they say until the first step is acknowledging or realizing that i have a problem right I've gotta realize have an issue biggest danger I think that I face in life was I always wanted to turn away from sin wasn't saying I was one of the potato wasn't there was it until I faced its and acknowledge and confess this is him so important so important so as we continue to verse 27 we see what happens Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did is the Lord said to him because he feared his father's house and the men of the city too much to do it by date he did it by night ok so he acknowledges he professes it but look at the wisdom with which with which he handles the situation because there was conflict that he was not yet ready for he minimized that conflict while at the same time rejecting the sin let me tell you when I started my journey with Christ back in whatever was back in two thousand when I started that in a committed with madam I am now citizen but I also acknowledge I wasn't ready to deal with certain people in my life that wouldn't have accepted my desire to walk a path with Christ wasn't as I was a coward because I wasn't ready it was a self realization that I needed to grow up a little bit to be ready to deal with the difficulties in the challenges and the hard questions I need to work through simply to my own mind wasn't about me like denying Christ no no I knew who Christ was it's about me realizing i'm like like i got it i gotta figure this thing out and I got into no I'm vulnerable this is what happens with Gideon can you say like I'm gonna do this but I'm doing enough I'm not ready yet to come out public it's kind of like what a couple are getting to know each other a lot of time there you know someone sets the reason they said we finally win instagram public all right yeah you're still figuring it out so I'm because you don't love the person or carol person so you're still figuring things out there the word that's used here for profess it's the the greek word homologue ahha it means he professes he prevents exactly what God had told them to do with his life because he was in full he was in full agreement he was in full agreement and he confessed because he was in full view of what God was coming to do even though it was scary it was challenging but he says I'll do it okay so the first thing they cried out second thing they can set third thing right after that now okay now we're going to turn to judges chapter 7 because in judges chapter 7 we find them consenting to God so there is a crying out to god there's a turning to God there is now confessing to God to take that this is sin and now we're ready to consent to your will in my life now in judges 6 Gideon questions God 2 times and it was his way of seeking the will of god in his life and seeking to understand the will of God now now that God had revealed himself to Gideon getting it now in judges 7 he says God whatever you ask me to do and read through judges 6 it's a beautiful story it's quite lengthy but it's a beautiful story and God and revealed his glory to Gideon in such a way it he says whatever you want me to do I'll do it you ever felt that like if God asking you anything you'll say I'll Celtic no matter how crazy be seen ok let's look at what happens with Gideon chopped judges seven judges 71 tape there's time for battle ok time for battle what happens now in judges chapter 7 God says there's the Midianite army 135 midnight oops you have thirty two thousand soldiers right it's time to go to battle these odds do not look very good right God says that's too many people too many people why I don't you think you had anything to do this you're gonna work with me but it's my grace my grace is sufficient for you okay so he says if we got too many people anyone who is afraid I want them to be sent away how many people get some way 22,000 now we're down to 10,000 the odds do not look good but getting it check out whatever you want whatever you are going to do I'll do anything anything 10,000 troops so twenty two thousand seven way now he says I want you we stood out to me trips okay tanta alright with these this does not look good they're about to get an IV God said I want you to separate the people based on how they drink I want you to take the people the troops bring them down to the brook and then people who been down and scoop up the water which is how a soldier by the way should scoop up water why because they're better now and they're always looking out because they're ready for battle at any moment hey he says the people who come down and scoop up send those people a so not only are they accepting away the majority of the people that are left but you're taking the least qualified soldiers and saying those are the ones i'm going to use how many are left folks 300 300 these people laughs like a doggy said okay you get left like at all if you remember we were talking probably a couple a few months ago sharing with you guys that the greek word for worship is when it's that it gives an image of a dog coming up in linking the hand of its master okay it's a beautiful image it's kind of a weird image for humans but it's a it's a neat image in other words the idea is that I come and I completely submit night lick the hand of the master I'm coming to worship the one who is completely all-powerful he's created okay these are the three hundred people that are left they're coming to kiss the hand of like the head of their master they laughed they laughed like a dog as a result of this now who's going to say now this is God this wasn't me this wasn't you like I was at like one of the things that I'm so careful to say is like I never want to say like yeah I changed my life no no folks I didn't change my life people say I change they change your lives they're forgetting or maybe maybe it is in which case is that a work of God it's not work about like I never want to take credit for the work of God in my life never want to say by the way like we built this church no God is building this church we didn't change anyone's eyes hopeless work call laborers read them we put our hands to work with them but it's the grace of god that's working along as his people this is what happens here in judges chapter 7 okay these people come at the instruction of Gideon and they can sense to the instruction of God Isaiah chapter 55 vs 89 were reminded my thoughts are not your thoughts nor your ways my way says the lord for his head as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts you might take this is absolutely ridiculous and you had it already 32,000 to 135 play like that's good like let's just work with what we have and that says no no we're going to do these people it's about consenting to the willow governor sometimes things don't make sense but if we want to come out of the pit it's not just about crying out to God so I'm just about confessing to God and confessing gun and professing them it's about consenting to the will of God as much as it doesn't make sense to you and I at times you say come your way it's your way I'll do it your way we say the Lord's Prayer that I will be done we're saying it doesn't always accept like we know when we pray often times we pray for our desire sorry Jesus teaching us when you pray don't pray for your desire pray for my foot belt in your life okay pray for my will in your life so what is the strategy where do we go from here what's Australia what's a plan the plan is number one we need to see ourselves in a new light so we need to see ourselves properly we to re-define and transform our thinking our minds on how we see God how we see ourselves there are people who are look like this and they walk around thinking they're at this like I sometimes want to inflict pain on these little high school kids girls in particular walk around and like and i'm talking like like they have maybe two percent body fat and they walk around thing like so fat I'm like I want to throw these people out the window okay it's about transforming how we see ourselves and seeing ourselves with an objective view understanding that we are not created for the pit and importantly that we are in the process of coming out of the pit if you are in Christ you are to be coming out of the pit you are and it's so critical for us to understand and acknowledge that we are not stuck we're not stuck close none of you is stuck in the pit nothing I want you understand that we choose to stay in the pit sometimes but not a single one of you is stubborn all reason I'm still there because I choose to be them it's not because I'm stuck there okay if we are in there because we have chosen to remain in that place this process of having our minds renewed is a continual process Romans chapter 12 tells us to not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds now this doesn't happen by osmosis folks it doesn't happen by just taking the book and putting it on ourselves or taking things and wiping it on ourselves like it's this is not how the Word of God gets into us I remember a new button up mom and dad would say to me like put the Bible next to your bed it's it's butter that's a blessing and I'm like no it's not like it's not the having it next to my it's me opening up in a reading it that allows me to be blessed by the words okay so we need to be renewed and this renewal is a continual process we keep every single then true man we love our food what if I told you all I'm getting one sweet all right you would look with some of you were like what we're going to eat for the next four weeks once a week that's it hey who's sign it up come on y'all are weak your son who is signing up show it just one person coughs no you are smart you are smart because we once we get sick okay and probably worse than that my velocity I'm not encouraged to get it was once a week okay same thing goes with that spiritual like it'd be crazy I said you guys I'm encouraging you come in church once a week and do nothing else spiritually the rest of the week like if you imagine me tell me that imagine that physicians on you don't eat food except for once we drink a cup of water on Sunday morning have like a nice feel and then don't eat anything until the next senator could you imagine myself it's you spiritual I want you to come to church of church come liturgy receive Communion come to link and go home and I'll see you next outing to nothing else virtually for the recipe you say that is the biggest lunatic my priests ever been my life why because we need to be continually renew its not a one nothing it's not once a week it's it's got to say I want to be in communion with you want to be like our lives to be fused together then we are invited to this to experience and use spiritual discipline in order to nourish us now we're going to talk about spiritual discipline next week so to let me hold off on that until next week so number one is see ourselves in a new light number two is continually renew your mind and understand that that process of renewal leads us into a deeper relationship with Christ which allows us to become a new creation and this is the promise that we're told in 2nd Corinthians 5 17 whoever is in Christ is a new creation old things pass away behold all things become it doesn't say you get out of the pit because you're going to climb down on your own this is where the Batman analogy stops by the way okay we're not persuade to this place we're acknowledging we're like that little caterpillar stuck in the bottom of the pit we can't get up and the beautiful thing is what Christ invites us to to do is to become new and it's only the renewal of our minds and our lives that we are transformed and naturally go to the place that we're supposed to be and witnessed and testified to the beauty of of who God is when we go for being caterpillars to butterfly when our lives are transformed we naturally fly out of the pit it's important to understand something about the caterpillar the butter file I mean the essence doesn't change still it still the same creature right the nature's changes transform me and this is the beauty of what Christ has invited us to God says and actually say nuffin SEOs is speaking about what God has done he says God has become man so that we would become like God he says that you're still a human but your nature's gonna transform you are uniting yourself to the Divine Being you're going to become something like other your your your your life is going to look different your life is going to be different the way you think is going to be different way you live is going to be different the place you Dwele is going to be different it's no longer going to be in a pit so I'm going to be hiding under leaves of the trees it's going to be flying out there beautifully soaring everyone's going to see that beautiful soaring butterfly and admire that we're going to talk more about that next week I just want to close with a word of encouragement I really wholeheartedly believe that this process of transformation it's not a difficult process this is not about you and I working harder to get on with it it's about us submitting ourselves to the will of God seeking to unite ourselves to him and the more we are committed to doing that the more our lives are transformed and the more we come into the place that we are invited to be