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Things We Don’t Talk About

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1. Catch 22 of 2022
2. New Year, New Landmines
3. New Year, New Friends
4. Purpose Paradigm Shift
5. How to Worship God
6. Formed For God’s Family
7. What is Your Spiritual Age?
8. How to Serve Like Jesus
9. Created for a Mission
10. How to Overcome Doubt
11. Counterfeit Christ
12. Nothing Wasted
13. Who Do You Think You Are?
14. Set Up for Success
15. How to Escape Your Prison
16. Don’t. Don’t. Never. Stop.
17. How to Find God’s Will
18. Hugs, High Fives, and Headlocks
19. Does God Play Favorites?
20. Don’t Waste Forgiveness
21. Have We Counted the Cost
22. Things We Don’t Talk About
23. Remember Who You Are
24. How to Cure Worry
25. Break The Pattern
26. Time To Clean House
27. 3 Relationships Everybody Needs
28. Main Character Energy
29. Know Your Enemy
30. Your Beliefs Won’t Save You
31. Complaining Like God Doesn’t Exist
32. Pruning For Purpose
33. Discerning Discipline
34. Is My Religion Pure?
35. Is My Faith Real?
36. Is My Tongue On Fire?
37. How To Have Powerful Prayers

When you hear the song from Encanto, “We don’t talk about Bruno” it’s hard to not sing along. If you haven’t seen the movie, there is one large extended family that all live in the same house. There is one family member that they don’t talk about or associate with anymore. He’s kind of been ostracized from the family. Obviously, they don’t talk about him, but he’s literally living in the walls of the house.

 

Are there “Bruno’s” in your life that you’re not talking about that you have given yourself permission to ignore? In the movie, the family ignores Bruno and then the whole house collapses. Spoiler alert, the whole house eventually gets rebuilt and the family is back together. It’s a picture of restoration in the way it’s supposed to be.

 

John 15:5 (NIV)

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

 

In a vineyard, the branches all get its nutrients from the vine. Apart from the vine, the branches will dry up and no longer produce fruit. Some vineyards have vines that are hundreds of years old. One vineyard was so well taken care of that they had a vine that was a thousand years old. What Jesus is saying is still absolutely relevant to today. As long as we were in connection with Him, things are going to flow and health is going to be there. Healthy spiritual life is available when it is connected to the source of all life.

 

Song of Songs 2:15 (NIV)

Catch for us the foxes,

the little foxes

that ruin the vineyards

 

Foxes are little predators in vineyards. They come in, dig at the roots, break the branches and next thing you know the breaks cinch off the connection with the vine. It sounds weird, but the things that you don’t talk about are the things that wind up killing your spiritual life. Instead of ignoring those little foxes, let’s talk about things that can kill our spiritual life.

4 Things We Don’t Talk About

Comparison

Another word the scriptures use for comparison is envy. Relationships are one of the things that are easy to compare or be envious of. If someone is single and they see other people in relationships, they might think, “I want a boyfriend or girlfriend like that.” We do that in marriages, too. We say things like, “Wow, they’ve got the perfect marriage.” Social media can exasperate that in ways because we see this picture perfect couple, at one moment, with a filter, a beautiful background and just think everything’s perfect. Jesus went 33 years without a girlfriend, so I don’t think that having a girlfriend or being married is the goal of life. Besides relationships, we can compare our life stage with others as well, “I wish I had a baby,” or “I wish I had that career.” Comparison is one of those foxes that gets in the vineyard and destroys your connection with God.

 

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but God is not a fan of comparison. Why do you think comparison or envy bothers our heavenly father so much? One reason is that comparison is the thief to joy. All of a sudden, the life that God’s gifted you with isn’t good enough when we start comparing ourselves to others. It will rob you of the full life that God has for you.

 

1 Corinthians 12:12,18-20 (NIV)

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.

But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

 

The Bible teaches us that Jesus is the head of the body and we are the other members. We each have specific places designed for His purpose. Comparison is a thief to joy, but also a thief to our purpose. Comparison will rob you from what God’s intended you to do with your life. When you are so focused on other people, or what you don’t have, you start taking your eyes off God and start losing your direction.

 

When teaching my son how to ride a bike, I was like, “Don’t look at the mailbox!” The moment he doesn’t look at the path before him and instead looks at the mailbox is when he will crash. That’s what happens with comparison. We get off track when we get our eyes on anything else than Jesus. It’ll rob you not just of your joy, but of your purpose.

 

Another “Bruno” we don’t talk about is aspiring to have someone else’s career, success, or bank account. Sometimes we get envious of other people’s purpose or career and all of a sudden, we think what we’re doing is insignificant.When Maria was growing up, education was a big deal in her family. Her mom was an educator and several people in her family were very successful. When she went to High School, she was accepted into a gifted Magnet school for kids that were high achieving academically. At that time in her life, everything was consumed by school, studying and homework. The goal was to get into one of the prestigious schools that her classmates were also applying for. When it came to receiving acceptance letters, it was difficult because while others were getting into their top schools, Maria was denied acceptance. It was impossible to not compare herself to other students’ success. When you compare yourself to other people, it robs you of the joy of all your hard work and fruitfulness in your life. After getting turned down from the schools that Maria had originally wanted to attend, she felt like God was calling her to attend Bible College. It was at that college that Maria met a new freshman named Justice. God had something completely different for her life than what she had planned. If she was too busy comparing, she could have completely missed the path that He had for her. She now has an amazing marriage, Freedom Church and so many other things that have brought so much joy and fulfillment to her life.

 

Chaos

 

Lots of people have a chaotic life. There are different seasons in life that are more chaotic than others. There are times that it seems like you can be too busy to read the Bible or even attend church.  If you are at church for one of our services or watching online, you are saying that no matter how chaotic your life is, you’re starting your week with the Lord. Jesus knows all about having a chaotic life.

 

Mark 6:31 (NIV)

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place to get some rest.”

 

There was so much chaos and so much demand on Jesus’s life that his closest followers didn’t even have time to eat. When that happens, Jesus says, “Timeout. We’re not going to let this chaotic life impact our personal or spiritual life.” Just because it’s chaotic in the world doesn’t mean it has to be chaotic in your personal or spiritual life. If you are needing some peace in your life, there is no person better to go to than the Prince of Peace, Jesus.

 

One thing that my dad always taught me was that the practical effects the spiritual. There are things in life that can be put in order that will give you a deeper peace and relationship with God. A life hack for me is to spend time with God by reading the life journaling plan. Instead of trying to decide what to read, I can go to the Freedom Church app and read the structured reading plan throughout the year. Life does get chaotic at times and isn’t always easy, but spending time in God’s Word helps me keep my relationship with God healthy, which will also help my personal life.

 

Luke tells us in scripture that Jesus often withdrew to solitary places. The truth is that loneliness and solitude aren’t necessarily the same thing. Isolation is when you’re retreating into yourself. Solitude is when you’re seeking God. It’s two different directions. One is pulling away from people, while the other is pressing into God.

Criticism

 

An area that we don’t talk about that can affect our spiritual life is being critical. As much as we don’t like anyone to be judgmental, I think we all are to some extent. Even our culture has gotten more and more judgmental. Reality TV shows that are the most popular are all based on judging. We watch the show and judge people’s relationships, cooking skills, singing voice and so many other areas. Judging others has just become permissible and a part of our culture. We just don’t talk about the fact of how critical we’ve become.

 

Luke 6:37, 38 (NIV)

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

For the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

 

It’s a gross thing to be a judgmental person, but at the same time, it’s in us. Being critical or judgmental is a sign of pride that comes from insecurity. It’s one of those foxes in the vineyard that if you don’t watch out, will tear up your spiritual life.

 

Not only do we criticize others, but we also criticize God. We secretly think we know what God should do in certain circumstances. I see this in areas of the Bible, where people pick and choose what they want to believe and what they don’t want to believe in about the Bible. That is a critical spirit. It’s not our job to judge God. It’s God’s job to judge us. So when we start saying, “I believe this…” or “I don’t believe this…” or “I think God should do this…” watch out so that your spiritual vineyard isn’t destroyed. You have to come to God with a humble posture that says, you know who am I, who am I to be judging others?

 

I was on a run recently and was praying while listening to worship music. I was asking God to help me forgive someone that I was having a difficult time forgiving. The Holy Spirit quickly flashed a picture of me doing the exact same thing to someone else. I almost stopped on the sidewalk laughing, because I immediately felt free. I realized what a hypocrite I am to be judging someone else of something I had also done in the past. I was freed from criticizing that person. This “Bruno” we don’t talk about is allowing ourselves to secretly judge each other and to be critical. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us that love keeps no records of wrongs. Aren’t you glad that God is not overly critical with you, but instead is gracious with you? We should all be aiming to be more kind and compassionate like Jesus.

Control

 

The last “Bruno” that we don’t talk about is control. Craig Groeschel wrote a book on leadership and said, “You can either have control, or you can have growth. But you can’t have both.” When you’re leading yourself, you can control everything. But when you let go of control and let God lead you, you realize that God’s going to take you places that you won’t want to go. He’ll put you in places where you can’t control everything and will instead have to surrender and trust Him. When you are at a place of surrender, God is able to help you grow.

 

Maria heard a sermon once that changed her life forever. The speaker said, “If you aren’t flexible, you will stop the hand of God in your life.” At that time, she would say that she was the most inflexible person that you have ever met. She had this sincere moment where she said, “God, I want everything you have for me in this life. Whatever you need to do, I want to be flexible. Mold me.” Two weeks later, we had a trip scheduled to go to Israel. Everything on that trip did not go as planned. It should have been the trip of a lifetime, but she would tell you that she was just so inflexible that she missed the magical experience that others were able to have. Even though the trip was a nightmare, Maria felt like God answered her prayer to help not become a control freak, because everything was out of her control.

 

1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

That word for anxiety in Greek really means our concerns about daily life. Scripture tells us, you’ve got to take all these things that you can’t control, and somehow give them to God. If you don’t, your life will be small with only things your hands can control. God wants you to live a big life that really impacts and influences the world. But if you are a person obsessed with control, you will rob yourself of what it’s like to surrender and let God guide your life.

 

John 15:5 (NIV)

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

 

If you keep connected to the source, you will thrive and grow. But be careful of letting little things like foxes get in there. They may seem little, but they are like letting Bruno in the walls of your life. The whole thing might eventually fall down, but my prayer is that the Holy Spirit has spoken to you about the areas of our life that often go unspoken. Whether it’s comparison, chaos, criticism or control, they no longer need to rob you or your joy or purpose for your life. As you surrender and really trust Him, you’ll see Him lead you into the places that He’s designed you grow and be used for His great purpose.

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