Part 1 – Seeing Your Way to the Top
· America is a land of Liberty
· But it is also a land of labels
o We label everything and everybody.
o When you have to fill out an application you have to answer the race question.
§ Our government wants to know, what kind of label do we put on you?
§ Black, White, or other.
§ You can’t do anything without being labeled.
· Even our families and our parents through ignorance have inadvertently placed labels on us as we grew up.
o Some pretty destructive and negative labels
o Consider the following labels:
- if you’re overweight, you’re lazy
- if you’re skinny, you’re on drugs
- If you’re dressed up, you’re conceited
- If you speak your mind, you’re difficult
- If you don’t say anything, you’re rude
- If you are sweet to strangers, you’re a fake
- If you cry, you’re a drama queen
- If you have male friends (and your female), you’re a loose woman
- If you have female friends (and your male), you’re a player
o Now, it gets worse than that
§ Some of what you hear is absolutely appalling.
· Negative name calling labels like stupid, ugly, fraidi cat… etc.
o Negative labels like these are thieves that steal your destiny and imprison you in a life of mediocrity.
o Our purpose is to help eliminate the destructive labels that have been imprinted on people’s minds and replace them with correct God labels.
· There are some cases where labels are good
o In the Bible Adam labeled the animals – in that case it was a good thing.
o We label jars and we label medicines – a bad label on a pill could lead to big trouble.
o People are labelers and they have a tendency to label themselves.
o People experience failure, maybe they hit a stretch of repeated difficulties and they either label themselves as failures or they project the feeling of their failure onto someone else.
§ When you do, you limit your ability for success.
o If you label yourself as weak, you limit strength.
o If you label yourself as a disappointment, you limit your ability to see that people appreciate you or that God appreciates you.
o The dramatic things about these images is that no one can really see the real you because of all the labels that are in the way.
§ We cannot see the man or the woman that God made because of all the tags that we have on ourselves.
§ And you will find out, if you haven’t already, that Jesus will never agree with you when try to put some of these negative labels on yourself.
§ When you are feeling the feeling of being stupid, you will NEVER hear the Spirit of God saying “Yeah, you know what, you are as dumb as a post.”
§ You are made image of God and this is not what He looks like!
o Once walking through the twisted little streets of Kowloon in Hong Kong, a man came upon a tattoo studio. In the window were displayed samples of the tattoos available. On the chest or arms you could have tattooed an anchor or flag or mermaid or whatever. But what struck him with force were three words that could be tattooed on one’s flesh: Born to lose. He entered the shop in astonishment and pointing to those words, asked the Chinese tattoo artist, “Does anyone really have that terrible phrase, Born to lose, tattooed on his body?” He replied, “Yes, sometimes.” “But,” he said, “I just can’t believe that anyone in his right mind would do that.” The Chinese man simply tapped his forehead and said in broken English, “Before tattoo on body, tattoo on mind.”
o And that is why in the introduction to this series – I want to talk to you first about, ”Seeing Your Way to the Top”.
§ Seeing your way past the labels.
2 Cor 4:18 (AV) 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
· What you see has a definite impact on your life.
o ILLUSTRATION: the movie Jaws
§ Years ago a novel by Tom Benchely called ‘JAWS’ was turned into a movie. It affected how people deal with the ocean to this day. Even though Benchley admits that if he knew what he knew today about sharks – he would never have written the book. You are more likely to be hit by lighting than you are to be bit by a shark.
§ But this image has been burned in people’s minds.
· What you see, what you look at is important.
o This verse says look at eternal things – don’t look at temporary things.
o There are some things that we should see and then there are other things that we should not see.
· If you don’t see yourself as God sees you, the self-image that you have of yourself – how you see yourself – you will never get to the top, you will not get where you are going.
· Remember this fact about vision and seeing.
o People are picture oriented.
o We remember more of what we see then what we hear.
o When it comes to communication, people think in pictures not in words.
o ILLUSTRATION: Try this out. Close your eyes and see these words.
§ big dog
§ big vicious dog
· each word adds to or changes the picture that you see.
· There is a picture of yourself in your mind.
o The picture you see of yourself was put there by the words that were spoken to you up until this day.
o You see yourself in a certain way.
§ Some people see themselves as:
· ILLUSTRATION: In a small town outside Cleveland, Ohio lived two charming and attractive girls. One of the girls was actively courted and pursed by one of our presidents of the United States, President Rutherford Hayes. James Garfield oddly enough courted the other girl. Garfield turned out to be President of the United States too. The sad part of this story is that the parents objected to the marriage on the basis of poverty. Because these people saw themselves a certain way, they missed the opportunity to become the first lady of the United States.
o Are you missing opportunities because of how you see yourself?
o When you look in the mirror what do you see?
o The way that you see yourself is the way that you will act.
o It is impossible to act in way inconsistent with the way that you see yourself.
o If a child is consistently told that they are stupid, that they lack intelligence, that they are slow, they will not see the letters S-T-U-P-I-D. They will get an image of stupid in their mind.
And once they have that image, they will act on that image even though there is nothing wrong with their brains.
· In order to get to the top,
o You must change the way that you see yourself.
o What are some steps that we can take to undo the wrong picture and get the right label in its place?
HOW TO CHANGE YOUR MENTAL IMAGE
· GET A GOD PICTURE
o We said images or pictures come from words.
o What is the Bible? Isn’t it a book of Words?
o Do you suppose that God’ Words will produce godly pictures in you?
· So, what are some God pictures for these labels?
o “You can’t do anything right.”
Phil 4:13 (AV) 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
o “You’re just ugly.”
Ps 149:4 (AV) 4 For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.
o Some people struggle with this type of label or some form of it.
o But the saying that came out years ago is true. “You are made in the image of God and God don’t make junk.”
o Here is this confession list from last weeks post.
§ You are quick
§ You are sharp
§ You are bright
§ You are good looking…
· Many laugh or chuckle when they hear that someone thinks they are good looking. This is a typical reaction.
· I will walk into a store and purchase and say to the cashier, ‘Where is my good looking discount? Every time and in every case people laugh. – every time.
· But why do people laugh about that?
o It’s because many are having body image issues.
o If you are struggling with body image problems, you should confess that you are good looking!
o It is not being egotistical to believe that God did a good job when He made you.
· It’s amazing how we laugh about this and then go home and examine body parts in the mirror and wish we had someone else’s parts!
· Remember, God made your face exactly the way He wanted it (and all the rest of you to)!
o “You’re Stupid”
Dan. 1:17 (AV) 17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
The NLT states this: “God gave these 4 young men an unusual aptitude for learning the literature and science of the times.”
§ It goes on to say (vs. 20) that God made them 10x as smart as all the rest of the Babylonians.
o Let’s talk about computers in this vein.
o Movements in technology have created a confidence crisis with some of us when it comes to technology.
§ We have taken that confidence crisis and turned it into a label.
· The feeling is “I must be stupid because I don’t know computers!”
o Actually, this has just put its finger on a problem that was already there – computers just showed it up.
o It showed up inferiority – I feel inferior because someone else knows computers and I don’t.
o It showed up the fact that I am intimidated by what I don’t know.
§ We have this feeling and then we cement that feeling with a label that we attach to ourselves.
o This self-image (that there must be something wrong with me because I don’t know computers) has caused people to feel intimidated and paralyzed.
§ They don’t know what to do – they don’t know which key to hit.
o And so the response to this feeling is “I am going to take a class.” Or, “I am going to take a hammer!”
o What you are trying to do by taking a class, is to solve the problem by stuffing the brain with knowledge.
o But, you will find out that this will not really work.
o If your insides are not right, the knowledge won’t take root in your head.
§ You cannot rely on knowledge alone to try and cover up a lack of confidence in yourself.
§ I am not implying that you shouldn’t go and take a class.
§ What I am saying is get first things first. Understand that you are sharp and you are bright and you are quick. And get that straight inside of you before you ever take the class.
o ‘You’re a failure, you’ll never amount to anything.”
Deut. 28:13 (AV) 13 And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath;
NLT states you’ll always have the upper hand.
Being the head and not the tail doesn’t sound like failure to me!
· Two More Illustrations (before we close of two Bible people who had different labels than the labels that the Lord had for them)
Judges 6:12,14,15 (AV) 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. 14 And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? 15 And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
NLT states for vs. 15 “But Lord how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manesseh, and I am the least in my entire family.”
§ Notice the two sets of words.
§ Gideon says, “I’m poor. I’m the least. I’m the weakest.”
§ God says this by the angel, “You’re a might man of valor. Your courageous. You’re a hero.”
§ Which set of words were right, do you suppose?
· The Israelites
Num 13:17,25,30,33 (AV) 17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain: 25 And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. 30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and WE WERE IN OUR OWN SIGHT AS GRASSHOPPERS, and so we were in their sight.
§ Notice again, 2 sets of words
§ Israelites said, we are not able to go against them, they are stronger than we.
§ Caleb said, we are well able to overcome them.
§ Notice the image that these words produced – Israel saw themselves as grasshoppers.
§ They labeled themselves as that and then acted accordingly.
§ This series is all about eliminating this tendency.
· Steps You Can Take to Imprint The Correct God Picture on Your Mind
o Repetition is the key.
§ Just like that movie Jaws, people saw that movie over and over again.
§ When people told you that you were stupid, they told you that over and over again.
§ It is the key in God, meditate on God’s pictures over and over again. Say His words to yourself over and over again. Speak this Word. Think on this Word.
§ This is a key to living a holy and pure life. You will act according to the way that you see yourself.
· About 350 years ago a shipload of travelers landed on the northeast coast of America. The first year they established a town site.
· The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. (So they are making progress! – each year they are increasing)
· But! In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward into a wilderness. Who needed to go there anyway?
· Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean and overcome great hardships to get there.
· But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their vision.
· I am telling you today that Gods plan for you maybe a voyage of 3000 miles and I am telling you, you will not make it 5 miles out of town if you don’t see yourself as God sees you.
· We have got to get rid of the labels.