How to make your life count

How to make your life count – Moses

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES!

Hebrews 11:23-27

(Notes extracted from Rick Warren)

Today we’re going to look at Moses who is one of the greatest people in the Old Testament. He got the Ten Commandments from God. He led the Israelites out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt. He wrote the first five books of the Bible. He was used in a great number of different miracles. An amazing man!

 

Why did God choose Moses? Well first God chose Moses! TRUE!

But also Moses chose to obey God. Moses made a number of very important choices. He settled some key questions in his life that every one of us has to eventually deal with.

 

  1. The issue of identity. Who am I?
  2. The issue of responsibility. What am I going to do with my life?
  3. The issue of priority. What is really the most important thing in life?
  4. The issue of difficulty. How much am I willing to commit to what I’m going to give my life for?

 

These are issues that every one of us has to deal with. Moses made the right choice in each instance. They were not easy choices – and I doubt whether they were snap decisions!

 

If I asked you, “Do you want to be successful? [I don’t meant necessarily famous] Do you want to make a difference in your world? “ Most of us would say yes!

As we now look back on Moses’ life and ask. “Was he successful?” The answer is a resounding ‘YES’.

The question is how and why?

 

  1. Discover what God made me to be.
  2. Accept responsibility for my own life.
  3. Establish a value system for my life.
  4. Never take my eyes off the goal. People who succeed are focused.

 

  1. DISCOVER WHAT GOD MADE ME TO BE.

 

Moses was born a Hebrew slave but he was raised as Pharaoh’s grandson in Pharaoh’s palace, which was the most opulent place in the world at that time. Moses had an identity crisis. He had to decide: “Am I Jewish or am I Egyptian? Am I a slave or am I royalty?” The consequences of that decision would effect the rest of his life.

If he chooses to say, “I’m Pharaoh’s grandson” he has fame, fortune, a life of luxury, a promising career, heir to the throne.

If he chooses to say, “I’m Jewish of Jewish slaves,” he’ll be rejected. He’ll be despised. He’ll be thrown out, humiliated and he’ll live the life of a slave the rest of his life.

 

Moses refused to live a lie. He was a man of integrity, of character. He made his decision in v. 24, “By faith, Moses, when he had grown up refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.”

“refused”. It means to disown, reject, to leave no door open. It’s settled, done. Moses insisted on being what God made him to be and no amount of peer pressure could convince him.

 

God made you for a purpose.   He has a purpose for your life. He wants you to be you. If you don’t be you, who’s going to be you?

 

The first secret of success is be yourself. Don’t try to be somebody else. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not. I am not talking about doing your own thing and tramping all over others – Rather what the bible says, “Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mould!!”

Stop trying to conform: to look like everybody else, drink like everybody else, talk like everybody else, buy the same thing everybody else has. Be yourself – not your sinful self BUT the kind of self that God intends you to be.   Discover what God made you to be.

 

  1. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY OWN LIFE

 

  1. 25 “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”

“chose”. If you want to make an impact with your life, it’s your choice.

It is true that God chooses me and takes the initiative to draw me to himself. But I have choices to make too. I can draw near to God – pray to him as much as I like. I can read my Bible as much as I want to read it. It is my choice. God has given you the freedom of choice and the choices you make determine your future.

 

  1. 24 we have Moses refusing and in v.25 we have Moses choosing. He follows a negative action with a positive action.
  2. 23 God chose Moses as a baby but in v.25, Moses had to chose God. v. 24 By faith, Moses, when he had grown up.”

“when he had grown up.” A mark of maturity is when you start accepting responsibility for your own life. When you stop blaming other people.

As a baby it was OK for Moses to live off of his parents’ faith. But when he had grown up he had to make that decision on his own. He had to go God’s way because he wanted to go God’s way.

 

Three facts of life:

 

  1. I cannot live off of other people’s spiritual commitment. You’ve heard people say, “My parents were Christians” or “My dad was a missionary” or “My husband/wife is a believer“. So what? You need a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Some of you are teenagers; it’s time to grow up! You need to stop living off the spiritual apron strings of your parents and get your own faith. When Moses grew up, he chose.

 

  1. I can’t blame others for the direction of my life. Society says the exact opposite. It says “It’s not your fault. You’re a product of your environment. Blame other people for your messed up life.” The way you spell BLAME is B-LAME — when you’re blaming you’re being lame. I cannot blame other people for the direction of my life. It’s my life. I can’t control all the circumstances but I can choose how I’ll respond.

 

  1. No one can ruin my life except me. And I’m free to choose my response. I am not trying to minimise the difficulties people face at the hands of others. We sometimes do suffer as a result of another’s sin. BUT how I respond to that is my choice! {Joseph suffering at the hands of his jealous brothers is a prime example!}

 

  1. ESTABLISH A VALUE SYSTEM FOR MY LIFE

 

If you’re going to make your life count you need to settle the issue of what is really important. Clarify it in your life. Moses clarified his values and priorities.

  1. 26 “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.”

“regarded”. The word means to evaluate, to consider, to weigh in the balance, to judge. It’s not something you do quickly. You need to sit down and seriously consider What in the world am I living for?

What are you living for? If I were to ask you the five or ten values — the pillars — on which you’re building your life, would you be able to do it? Think it through. It says, Moses regarded what is important and what is not important. Most people have never done that and that’s why they’re failures at life. They don’t know why they are, they don’t know what they want to accomplish in life, and they don’t know what’s really important. You need to establish values in life, things that you will build your life on, the things that will be important to you. Write them down if necessary!

Why? The fact is if you don’t decide what is important in your life, others will do it for you. If you don’t decide what’s valuable for your life, what you’re going to base your life on, other people will. The world is more than happy to pressure you into its mould and to dump its value system on you. We have a lot of Christians today who know the Lord, but they’ve bought into the world’s value system. They’re living that system without even thinking about it rationally. They’ve automatically adopted it.

 

What is the world’s value system?

  1. Power and prestige. I want to be famous / noticed.
  2. Pleasure. I want to feel good. I want to be happy. I want to have fun.
  3. Possessions. I want to make a fortune. I want to be wealthy.

 

All temptation falls into one of these three categories. Sit down with your children and watch television and evaluate the advertisements. Almost every if not every advertisement in the world falls under one of these three categories. It’s either an ad to produce pleasure or power and prestige or an ad for possessions. Every single advertisement is based on the world’s value system to get you into one of these things.

 

What is ironic is that Moses, by the world’s standard, had it made. He had all three:

 

Power. He was heir to the throne of the most powerful country of the world at that time.

Pleasure. Every whim would be satisfied in the palace of Egypt. He was on easy street.

Possessions. The wealth of the world was concentrated in Egypt.

 

Moses had it all! Power. Pleasure. Possessions. He had it all but he walked away from it. Moses walked away from the very three things most people spend their lives trying to accomplish.

 

Why? Because he knew they don’t last. They won’t last fifty years from now much less for eternity.

 

Moses said “Yes” to God. You must realize that when you say “Yes” to God it means you say “No” to certain other things. It’s easier to say ‘Yes’ to God than it is to say ‘No’ to the other things.

We want Christ, plus all the things the world offers. I’ll just tack Him on and have a little time for God on Sunday morning. But I’m buying into the system. Jesus said, “you can’t serve two masters”. The problem with a lot of Christians today is they’re afraid to say ‘No’ to the world’s value system. What we lose when we don’t say ‘No’ is our happiness because compromise only makes us miserable when we try to live for the Lord and live for the world at the same time. It can’t be done. It makes us miserable.

 

We need to learn to say ‘No’. And you need to learn to say with conviction, “I’m not going to be sucked up into this world’s system, the rat race, the hollow lifestyle that says life consists of pleasure, passions, possessions and prestige. It doesn’t last. I’m not going to buy into that. While everybody around me is going to buy into it I’m not going to buy into that!” That’s the kind of person Moses was and that’s why he made an impact with his life. He went against the flow.

 

What was Moses’ value system?

 

  1. He discovered that God’s purpose is more valuable than popularity.

God has a plan for my life. I’m going to lead these people to freedom. He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He said, I’m going to give up the prestige, the power, the popularity because it does not last.

 

ILLUS.: I had a great years at High School – I was not the greatest student because I enjoyed my sport [probably too much] In my final year I was a prefect, Captain of the Athletic team and a member of the First Rugby XV. Everyone in the school knew who I was. When I went back a couple of years after leaving school nobody knew me.

 

One minute you’re the hero and the next minute you’re a zero. People couldn’t care less. Pride and prestige is fleeting. This year’s superstars are next year’s has-beens. You can’t live for the fame of other people. It’s fleeting. It doesn’t last. Moses said, I’d rather do God’s purpose and do what He’s told me to do than be in this place of power and prestige. He wasn’t impressed by popularity.

 

  1. People are more valuable than pleasures.
  2. 25 “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God [they were in slavery at the time] rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time.”

I like this verse. The Bible always tells the truth. The Bible never lies or sugar-coats. It says there is pleasure in sin. The Bible says sin is fun. Of course it’s fun; if it weren’t nobody would do it! But it’s for a season, a short time. It doesn’t last. He could have temporary pleasure being the next Pharaoh of Egypt or he could go do what God had called him to do and help the people who were in pain, who needed to be set free. He could have stayed there in pleasure and today no one would even have known Moses’ name. He’d be some mummy in some tomb in Egypt. Nobody would even know who he is. But he chose the right thing. Any whim would have been satisfied there but in order to do the right thing he chose discomfort over pleasure.

 

That’s an unheard of value in the 1990’s. Choosing discomfort over pleasure because it’s the right thing to do? How foreign to our society! He did the right thing. Why? For the sake of people. The problem with many of us is we want to serve God but we only want to serve Him when it’s convenient.

I don’t want to go to pray meeting tonight – I’ll miss my favourite Soap / football match – it isn’t convenient”. That’s a minor inconvenience compared to the fact that in many countries you could be arrested for going to church, put in jail, lose your job. We have such a convenient Christianity. It’s so easy! Moses said people are more valuable than pleasures.

 

  1. God’s peace is more valuable than possessions.
  2. 26 “He regarded the disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt.” In v. 24, he rejects the world’s measure of success.

In v. 25, he rejects the world’s pleasure.

In v. 26, he rejects the world’s treasure.

He does what is right because God’s peace is more important than possessions. He could have stayed in the palace of Egypt and had every possession he ever wanted — wine, women, song. He knew that no possession could give you inner peace. He would have been miserable not doing what God wanted him to do. Peace comes not from the things you own; peace comes from being in the centre of God’s will, being what God made you to be, doing what God made you to do. That’s where peace comes.

 

Many people think you can purchase happiness. “If I just get this for Christmas I’ll be happy! If I could just afford a bigger house / car….” A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses. My value has absolutely nothing to do with the kind of car I drive. My self worth and my net worth are two different things.

 

What do you value? What matters most? The issue is that God’s peace is more important than possessions. That’s what counts. It’s amazing to me that Moses gave up the very three things we spend our lives trying to get: pleasure, possessions and prestige. What motivated this guy? What made him do that and live that way?

 

  1. 26 “Because he was looking ahead to his rewards.” He had perspective. What motivates you to reject the world’s value system and accept God’s value system for your life? It’s your perspective. It’s all in what you’re looking at. Are you looking at the here and now or the eternity. Most people live for the here and now, totally unaware of the fact that they’re going to spend more time on that side of eternity than the 60, 70, 80 years they live on this earth. That’s not wise.

 

Your values are determined by your vision. Whatever you’re looking at is what becomes most important in your life. What are you focusing on?

We can focus on the things of this world and doff our caps at God – we end up with a distorted view of God and this world. OR we can focus on God and worship / obey him and as a result we will have a correct perspective on this life!!

What are you looking at? What is the most important thing to you? Things that are going to last? Or things that won’t last even ten years much less for eternity?

Moses was a man of vision. He had eyes of faith.

 

  1. YOU NEVER TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE GOAL

 

  1. 27 “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

 

“persevered”. He refused to give up no matter what happened — impossible situations, critics, whatever. We are not talking about being stubborn – some people can endure all sorts of criticism but are simply being stubborn and pigheaded – we are talking about perseverance of God’s vision.

Moses spent most of his life waiting. From the time that God gave Moses the vision, the dream of setting free an entire nation after 400 years of slavery to the time it was fulfilled and they were ready to go into the Promised Land was 80 years. Could you wait that long and not give up? If God tells you something and it doesn’t happen until 80 years later? He spent 40 years in Midian just waiting for God to say “Start!” Do you ever get tired of waiting on God? Do delays ever tempt you to give up? Have you learned the difference between “No” and “Not yet”? Have you learned that God’s delays are not God’s denials. One of the tests of faith is “How long can you wait?” You must keep your eye on the vision, the goal, on what counts in life so you don’t get discouraged.

 

That’s the key to endurance and perspective.

 

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin which so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.”

let us run with perseverance” and “let us fix our eyes on Jesus” — those two go together. When you fix your eyes on Jesus you’re going to run with perseverance. What have you got your eyes on?

 

What are you living for? Who are you living for? Yourself?

Somebody said, “the self made man worships his maker”. If you’re living for yourself that’s a pretty small god. What are you going to do with the rest of your days on this earth? Whether you have 150 days or 150 years or just till next Sunday? I don’t know and you don’t either. None of us know how many days we’ve got left. What are you going to do? It’s very important because what you do with those days on earth and how you spend them are going to profoundly influence where you spend eternity and how you spend eternity. This is a testing ground, a proving time. God is watching. Why sell out millions and millions of years for a few things here and now in the world’s value system that isn’t going to last!

 

Conclusion.

How many of these issues have you settled in your life?

The issue of identity? Who you are. So you don’t have to keep trying to dress and act and be like everybody else in order to be acceptable.

 

The issue of responsibility? Have you said, “I’m not going to blame anybody else for where I am or who I am?” You are just as spiritual as you want to be. You can’t blame anybody else. You’re as committed as you want to be.

 

The issue of priority — what really matters in life? What counts?

 

The issue of difficulty — what you’re going to put into it and keep your eyes on the reward, on the value.

 

The most important issue is your relationship to God. If you haven’t ever established that relationship to God, do it today. Say, “God you made me for a purpose and I want to start living in that purpose today to the best of my knowledge. I want to go Your way and accept Your values, not the world’s values.” It will cost you. It costs to be a Christian. It’s free for us but it cost Jesus. It cost Him His life and it will cost you, yours. When you become a Christian you give up everything you’ve got… and then you never had it so good! You cannot out give God. All of a sudden you’ll say, “This is why I was made. This is why I’m here.” This is what counts… not stereos and CD’s. These are the values that are going to last.

 

 

MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICES!

 

Hebrews 11:23-27

 

Moses settled 4 key issues:

 

   *Identity: Who am I? v. 24

   *Responsibility: What will I do with my life? v. 25

   *Priority: What is really most important? v. 26

   *Difficulty: How much am I willing to commit? v. 27

 

 

 

THE FOUNDATION FOR PERSONAL SUCCESS.

 

 

  1. Discover what God made me to be.

 

   By faith, Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. v.24

 

 

 

 

  1. Accept responsibility for my life.

 

He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. v.25

 

     Three facts:

 

* I can’t live off others’ spiritual commitment

 

* I can’t blame others for the direction of my life

 

* No one can ruin my life except me

 

 

 

 

  1. Establish a value system for my life.

 

    He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.   v.26

 

     The World’s Value System:

 

            *     Power/Prestige v.24

            *     Pleasure v.25

            *     Possessions v.26

 

     Moses’ Value System:

 

* God’s purpose is more valuable than

   popularity. v.24

 

* People are more valuable than

   pleasures. v.25

 

* God’s peace is more valuable than

possessions. v.26

 

 

  1. Never take my eyes off the goal.

 

   By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible. v.27

 

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