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Defeating the Enemies of Success (Part 3)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef
The Truth Network Radio
December 12, 2019 1:00 am

Defeating the Enemies of Success (Part 3)

Leading the Way / Michael Youssef

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If you have heard me speak of for any length of time you would have somehow sums heard me talk about small portions of got action.

That's why whenever I go anywhere. One of my colleagues give me an old piece of paper with clear direction, you know you on the third traffic light. You turn right and then on the second stop sign.

You go left and they give me absolutely clear direction, so I don't mess up and that is why when I'm driving with these little directions in my hand.

I dread a sign that says detour you try to follow that the door runs with no sign and is really become frustrating. But the problem was spiritual detours is that in most cases, there are no signs before you know it you're on a detour and you off the tracks and you never realize you got there know those of us who have been on a spiritual detours understand the pain and the agony that is associated with finding yourself way way way away from your destination.

About a year or so after I was saved and received Christ as my Savior. My life, the devil succeeded in tempting me not saying tempting me. He did not make me he tempting me to get away into a dangerous spiritual detour Ottoman but clearly wondering in that maze for 18 months.

Perhaps the most painful 18 months of my Christian walk, and I thought often of the parable of the sower you know Jesus, talk about, so I went out in the sowing seed and then the Lord talks about what causes detours in the Christian walk in the Christian life. Detours from the highway to heaven and Jesus said that a variety of things that can cause people to get on a spiritual detour things that will take you into the wilderness of sin and disobedience. For example, Jesus said that worry and anxiety is one of those things that can take off in a detour in your walk with God worldly pleasures and enrolling relationships can take you off on the detour that pursuit of materialism and worldly success get you one of those miserable detours in my case I listen to the lie of the devil and ended up on the detour. This is how it happened not long after I became saved.

My mother died at the age of 52 I was almost 17 years old and a brand-new Christian buddy walking with the Lord several months and for a while I was comforted I was encouraged because I was in company of mature believers, godly men who would minister to me and that gave me a great deal of comfort and understanding and and peace in my heart. But then I did what many Christians do that as I got away from Christian Fellowship. I wanted away from accountability and from being in communion with a group of men who were watching over me and ministering to me and let me warn you from painful experience whenever you get away from Christian Fellowship Satan is going to try to have his way with you, and he longs to get you away from the warmth of fellowship in order to die down your passion for Christ in my case he began to whisper in my ear. How can a loving God.

Take away your mother at such an early age and I feel for a fill for you know what the insidious part about those 18 months. I never stopped going to church.

I can go to church. My body was going to the church. But my heart was filled with a cold love for the Lord.

I was back sliding ride in the church pew right in the church. Make no mistake about it. I am not blaming the devil. This is not the devil made me do it. The devil tempts, but he does not make you do anything. In fact, I was thinking about the devil makes redoing a thought of the little kid who forever raiding the cookie jar just before dinner, and his mother got very tired of telling them don't do this, don't eat the cookies before dinner and is as well. The devil makes redoing the devil always makes redoing benches. Okay, next on the devil tempted to do this just say get behind me Satan. Sure enough, a few days later he was writing the cookie jar just before dinner. His mother said did not tell you when the devil tends to just say get behind me Satan is that I did, but then when he got behind me pushed me into the cookie jar. This is not the devil made me do it. I deliberately chose a detour from the plan of God in my life and that's why you see me as often I get choked up every time I talk about the grace of God and the mercy of God, and I was showing you how in the last message.

Even when Elijah isolated himself even when he ran away from the plan of God. Even was so discouraged. God met him at every point of his needs. He did not rebuke him, he met him at the point of his needs. And that's what God did to me and I know that he does to all of us.

If we're listening to him.

But the problem today is that there are so many Christians who are living in a spiritual detours ride inside the churches.

Many Christians are living the spiritual detours and deliberately presuming on the grace of God than the blood would listen to me that's very dangerous to presume on the grace of God, you might be here today and you are on the detour secretly privately on a detour. No one but you know about it and God of course you will have no new conscience you might have rationalized you detour.

I pray that God will speak afresh to you today will be looking at the three deadly enemies of success. God's way and in the last message we saw the first enemy which is discouragement. After that were going to see the second enemy which is a detour, one of the saddest examples of spiritual detours in the Bible is a man by the name of lot, in fact, the Bible gives us exactly step by step of how he got off on the detour.

But before I tell you about lot.

Let me tell you that the most important thing you need to remember, if you don't already know is that spiritual detours don't happen suddenly, spiritual detours will just happen overnight. Spiritual detours often take you by surprise.

At night, but don't often take you by surprise. In my case it was baby steps and like swimming in the shallow end and then slowly but surely my body was going to the church.

But my heart on my life was far away from the Lord for 18 months. I was in the deep waters until I wake up one day crying to the Lord. CS Lewis said it best.

Listen carefully. He said the safest road to hell is the gradual one. The gentle slope the soft underfoot, without sudden turning without milestones and without signposts and this was true in the life of lot, he started with the gentle slope and ended up in the cesspool of Sodom and Gomorrah question how can a believer like cloth end up in the bosom of Sodom. The Bible gives us the be footage. The background footage to show us what happened, how it happened, how he ended up this way, the most important thing that you must never forget is that a little bit of sin does not stay as a little bit of sin a little bit of sin is going to grow into being a big sin lot was a man who began with a little bit of sin and ended up in the cesspool of sin lot. Sin started secretly in his heart that it affected his whole family. As we saw discouragement can lead you away from the Lord. So was detour and the reason Joseph which by the way, makes a great contrast between Joseph unlocking by the weather-related. The reason Joseph succeeded God's way in his life because he learned how to defeat these three deadly enemies of success God's way. Discouragement detour and doubt but lot did not contrast these two men know Joseph of course was Abraham great-grandson locked was Abraham's nephew Joseph Goddard against sin, but lot crawled his way into sin.

Joseph sought to be faithful to God when nobody was watching about law wanted to become a get rich quick and ended up losing everything.

Joseph did not count the cost of obedience, but lot was counting how many possessions he could get if you can do business with Sodom Joseph set the pot of his wife. How can I commit such a sin against the Lord and against my master lot said how can I walk away from the lucrative deal Elvis Presley's Bible was auctioned off for $30,000 20,000 British pounds because he had some notes in his bottle and people wanted that Elvis started singing gospel songs and then he sought succeeding man's way, not God's way and just before his death.

A reporter asked him a penetrating question.

The system Elvis when you started on your musical career you wanted three things in life you wanted to be rich you wanted to be famous and he wanted to be happy. Elvis now that you are rich and famous. Are you happy Elvis and the singer immediately responded. He said no. I am as lonely as hell is right about one thing, hell is a very lonely place with all the screaming fans, money, fame, wife and daughter. And yet all he could say is lonely as hell beloved that is the price of a detour from success God's way. That is the price of succeeding man's way, not God's will that is apprised of refusing to seek success God's way. Now let me tell you about lot and the steps that led him away from the highway of the Lord.

In fact, lot is really an example of a Christian who has 1 foot of God than 1 foot in the world.

A Christian who uses the Christian lingo to rationalize sin and disobedience. A Christian who puts a spin on the crooked business deal. A Christian who privately is intoxicated with feeding their secret passions and yet try to do some public charity and get mixed up with the faithful who are serving God in that way.

First, let me tell you about law. He was Abraham's nephew. Like I told you, and he was with Abraham the whole time he left the Earls of Chaldeans with Abraham and Abraham went to Egypt and went with him ever I went to Canaan. He went with him in today's language, we would say that he was discipled by Abraham uncle Abraham lot saw God's faithfulness to his uncle Abraham lot watched how his uncles deep faith and trust in God that even though the promise took 25 years to fulfill how God kept his word lot saw how God blessed his uncles faithfulness and integrity. He saw how his uncle Abraham occasionally failed and repented and turned to the Lord.

But above all, he saw how his uncle experience success God's way. One time they had a fight and lot wanted the best part of the land. His uncle said that's all right tech with the best you want to call that you want, I'll take the leftover and he did. He lost it all, but God blessed the less than Abraham got this all so I want you not to turn to Genesis 13 verse 10 lot looked toward Sodom just looked be careful as the song said be careful with that look. Now the Hebrew word here for Luke does not mean the casual glance does not mean the accidental Luke does not mean the inevitable look that that's not what it means. It means looking longingly, it means looking with discontentment of where you are it means looking on, wondering if there is not a good deal to be made there over there at Sodom. Nevermind it is a shady deal. Never mind if it gets you in bed with some evil people. Never mind that that look would gonna lead you to terrible condition that nevermind it is gonna need you to destruction from all that is good and true unwholesome ungodly.

He probably set themselves. Like all Christians who get on a detour and look just one hurt about ghosts not like participating milk is not a citizen, beloved is a problem about this Luke this longing look from what ever you are from whatever circumstances God has placed you that longingly look.

It does not stay just as a milk unless you sponsored right away. At the outset.

Why, because the next step most assuredly is very eminent and you gonna find it in verse 12, only two verses go down to verses to be a long time we don't know how many years on the days how many weeks between verses 10 and verse 12 verse 12, you get to the second step and he says he got closer to Sodom, convinced that it says he just looked longingly in verse 12 to verses that he pitched his tent at the outskirts of and if you fasting lot my body. Outskirts wanted just going he probably sanctimoniously would've sister, Michael Sodom is a wicked city of Sodom is an evil city. Sodom is no place to bring up my family. Sodom is a place I just go to and do business and get out.

Sodom is not a place for a good man like me beloved. The reason I know this is because those awful 18 months of my detour all began with a look before long I was at the outskirts of Sodom. It's an amazing amazing to me how capable we are of rationalizing, we really are. And the worst part is when we start rationalizing it to ourselves is a problem when lot pitched his tent toward Sodom. He was 99% of the way inside Sodom.

It was beloved. Let me warn you about spiritual detours. Whatever your detour might be in the near assure you there are probably as many detours as there are people here my detours different from yours different from the one sitting next to you, because whatever the detours that detract you that is very different from another person.

Nonetheless still get you out and away from the highway of God whether it is that business deal that stinks to high heaven.

Whether it is that the website that you keep going back to whether it is that sinful sexual encounter that you're flirting with and thinking that you will be okay. Whether it is that addiction over which you are blaming everybody else, whether it is ungodly friendship that is dragging you down. Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are just looking for you. Just at the outskirts you're the border.

No, no, the only thing you need to do wherever you are is do what Joseph did put on your running shoes and wrong because success God's way is going to come your way. If you stay away from detours, but success God's way will not come your way. If you stay at the outskirts of Sodom.

Why because the third step is inevitable. Chapter 14 verse 12 then you find law at the very heart of Sodom riding the in the middle of it, though the Bible does not tell us exactly moment in which she moved into Sodom he probably was a dance good for long time. The Bible does not tell us when the duck movers came and took the furniture moved the family right in Sodom Bible does not tell us any of that. The Bible in fact does not tell us about the real estate bargain that he could not resist in Sodom.

The Bible just said he was inside Sodom. Then comes the fourth step. The fourth he became part and parcel of Sodom culture to become part and parcel of the sodomite society fact, I can even get to tell you the dreadful things that he did this family.

Look at Genesis 19 says he was sitting at the gateway of the city of Sodom to become a member of the city Council. He became so mixed up with Sodom that people could not distinguish between him and all of the evil people who are living there and all the evil things are going on their please hear me right on this one reaching people for Christ and sharing the lifestyle are two different planets. I'm sure some of those false teachers and preachers that I have heard through the years said is not great is not wonderful love has become part and parcel of Sodom. Now he can have influence on the godless culture lot has become relevant to his culture a lot no doubt will become a witness to that evil society. These become a missionary to corrupt culture In my mind. God calls his servants to witness to people whom I be evil all situations and in places that are wicked places no doubt, but God does not call us to participate in their sin.

God does not call us to approve of their sin so that we can reach them for Christ. God does not call us to accept their sin or rationalize their sin. Please, I don't know how long those four steps have taken to be achieved, but that's really not the issue.

It doesn't matter if it's days or months or years really that's not the issue.

The question is what step are you in right now.

Where are you whereon in whatever place you are, you can run now never too late. Are you at the first step overlooking longingly stop running back to the Lord, are you in the second step of flirting with sin and thinking that's not going to hurt you long back to the Lord, are you inside Sodom get out while the getting out is good is a problem with lots detour Sodom was inside of him before he was inside of Sodom and you need to destroy that Sodom that's inside of you. By the blood of Jesus Christ before destroys you this and I've heard enough rationalizing among Christians arrived enough rationalizing of sin, especially those who find themselves inside Sodom. That's why I'm saying don't rationalize the bottom line is there is no discussion there is no debate is not rationalizing.

There is no argument.

Get out get out run before the your bitter tears would drown you.

I'm sure someone said well you know look at the apostle Paul. He said I become all things Tallman's arm and win people to Christ.

Listen to me.

Paul did not become an adult truck so that he may reach adulterers he did not rationalize immorality and said that's all right, they just can't help it so that if he could return for Christ that is not what being all things Tallman means Paul never blessed immorality will become part of it. Paul did not become a gambler so he can reach the gamblers did not become a thief circuit reach with it now that's rationalizing of sin.

What Paul is saying is that I have sacrificed everything for the sake of the gospel and lots case, God intervened and he yanked him and his family well.

Most of them anyway. His wife turned into a pillow sold. She looked back that longingly could not stop loss to life, but God had to yank the amount why because uncle Ebrahim standing there on the mountain interceding for praying for them and whatever you are somebody is praying for you. Somebody is interceding for you. I know that in my case it was my sister's intercession before God.

That woke me up. Believers if you're not winning Sodom.

Chances are, Sodom is winning. You if you are not possessing your possessions chances are your possessions or possessing you. Do you want to experience success God's way. Get out of your spiritual detour and God is going to do the rest. We have a marvelous go a wonderful God, a faithful God you get out that he will do the rest. Get out of your detour. I was thinking how believers who have a customer noon walk with God moving in the ministry and serving God and then find themselves in the ditch of the detour, and I thought about a story that outed many many years ago about a British famous British mariner Sir Francis Drake Sir Francis Drake circle the globe many times at the end of his fifth voyage around the world right at the end he comes home to England and there he encountered a ferocious form rotted narrative attempts. The vessel was tossed about because of the storm. In fact, it appeared that's gonna run aground in the old mariner clenched his fist and he pounded can it be that I'm us who have braved the dangers of 7C must come home and drown in a ditch. Beloved, you are on the highway to heaven don't drown in the ditch of a detour don't drown in the ditch of a detour. You are made for greater things. You are made for hire. Things you are made for glorious things you are meant for heaven don't drown in the ditch of Sodom.

Whatever your sodomite be get out now. Only you know where your let this be your altar call, let this be your symbol of repentance, the Lord Jesus Christ. I come home I come home out-of-print enter. Father God, you know the secret of every heart you know every thought before we think them in all motives. You know us to know exactly where everyone is and therefore I am confident in the work of your Holy Spirit because he and he alone can do his work in every life, but I plead with you, Lord, don't let anyone who's listening to me watching over here would allow those words to serve as witness against them in the great day for father.

I love and trust your mercy in Jesus name.

Thanks for listening to this message from Dr. Michael. You sat recently featured on leading the way.

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