A quote that changed my life is, “God cares more about who you’re becoming than where you’re going.” We live in a world that cares about where you’re going. But the truth is, God knows that who you are becoming determines where you are going. You see, God does have a plan in motion. Who we become determines how much he can trust us with His plan for the world.
God had a plan for Gideon and his life that he did not see immediately. In a moment of hiding and fear, the Lord called him a “mighty hero.” He wasn’t acting like your hero, yet God still saw the best version of Gideon. God wants us to see ourselves the way that He sees us. That’s the first step on the hero’s journey to your identity in Christ. The second step is to tear down the idols in his life. We have to tear down things in our life that are apparent worship of other gods and distractions from God in our life. The third step is to surround yourself with the right people.
How important are relationships in our life? Of all the things God’s ever blessed me with, the greatest gift he’s ever given me is my relationship with my wife, kids, and good friends. Nothing will determine the quality of your life like the people in your life. God has people for your life that will encourage and change your life more than anything else.
Gideon is about to go on a big adventure and do something extraordinary, but first, God starts to select the people around him. It’s vital to surround yourself with the right people.
Judges 7:1-3 (NLT)
So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.'” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.
Recently someone said to me, “The Lord will never give you more than you can handle.” Have you ever heard someone say that? Dude, all God gives me is more than I can handle. I feel like it’s his favorite thing to do.
Why do you think he gives us more than we can handle? So that your faith can grow. During those times, we lean in on him amid our weakness. God is there for you and wants to help you no matter what. How else will you learn these things unless you’re in a situation over your head? When the odds are against you, people will say, “Oh, that wasn’t you. That must have been God.” That’s the kind of life I want to live. I want to live a life that points people to Jesus.
God put Gideon in a position with the right people around him. Just because there was a large crowd didn’t mean that they were the right ones to go to battle alongside. God said it was too many people. So Gideon stands up and says, “Hey, is anybody timid or afraid about fighting these guys? If you are, feel free to pack up and go home.” With that, 22,000 people changed their minds about fighting and decided it was time to return home.
Judges 7:4 (NLT)
But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many!”
God didn’t want to do just any miracle. He wanted to do a huge miracle. God wants to do the kind of work in your life, that there is no shadow of a doubt that it was him with you that did it.
Judges 7:4-8 (NLT)
But the Lord told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, the Lord told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream. The Lord told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him.
There are two different groups of soldiers here. Some guys have swords on their waist, and when they drink the water, they put their swords and shields on the ground to drink the water. The other group of guys doesn’t put their swords on the ground. They’re on one knee and bring the water to their face. Understand the difference. The Lord says these are the kind of people I’m putting around you. Everybody else can go. Because sometimes the victory is determined by the people around you.
3 Essential Relationships you need in your life.
1. Leaders= Walk before you
You need a Gideon in your life. We think of ourselves as the hero in the story. But the truth is, 300 guys have positioned themselves underneath Gideon’s leadership and are ready for him to tell them where to go. They have a leader in their life. I’ve noticed over the years that people have become allergic to leadership in their life. People have seen churches, governments, and bosses abuse leadership. We’ve seen so much abuse of power and leadership that now we put guards up when it comes to leadership. The question you got to ask yourself is, do you want a leader in your life?
Not long ago, a mom complimented me on how I spoke to my 12-year-old son. She then told me that her son came home with rug burns on his arms and knees from football practice. The football coach made her son bear crawl to the 50-yard line for being late for practice. She told me that instead of going to the coach, she went above his head and demanded the principal fire the coach. I’m like, “whoa, whoa, time out! Your son has a coach in his life for a sport you signed up for to learn about what it means to be on a team. Are you trying to raise a boy, or are you trying to raise a man?” When you have a coach in your life, you know that he’s responsible for calling the best out of you. Right? That’s his job. A coach has a unique role in your life. And that’s what leaders are. Leaders are special God-given roles in your life.
1 Corinthians 4:15-16 (NLT)
For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me.
The author of 1 Corinthians is Paul. He’s a leader in the body of Christ encouraging new believers. We have Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and fathers and mothers in this family; your job is to be a leader. The thing is, our culture rejects leadership just like the football mom rejected the coach.
So my question is, do you even want a leader in your life? If I can be candid with you, it is not my nature to want a leader or a coach in my life. It’s my nature to be rebellious and independent and want nobody to tell me what to do. It takes humility to be under a coach. Think of how much we will stand out in a dark world as a bright light. If we can be humble enough to admit that we don’t have it all together, we need people to help us.
Pastor Rudy was the first leader in my life. I was 21 years old and had no Christian friends except for Maria. I started going to the church her dad was pastoring. One Sunday, I asked Pastor Rudy, “Hey, do you think maybe we can meet and talk about some things?” Probably because I was dating his daughter, he said yes. I didn’t have a car then, so I borrowed one, stopped to get gas, and ended up about 20 minutes late to my meeting. I sat down, and I could just feel the tension. He says, “If you’re ever late again, we’ll never do this again.”
You know what? I loved it. I needed a coach and a leader in my life to call me to a higher standard. I had plenty of peers telling me I was fine, but I needed somebody a few steps ahead, willing to give me some time and love me. Pastor Rudy also taught me that I needed to learn how to feed myself. I needed to be in God’s Word daily and not just wait to be “fed” on Sundays.
A leader will bring clarity to God’s vision for your life. You don’t need a leader to hear from God for you. But sometimes you need to say, hey, I need some clarity about this thing that I’m reading in the Bible or what I’m sensing. And that leader can say, yeah, that lines up with the word of God, or here’s some practical experience. But a leader brings clarity to God’s vision for your life. Friends, those that you can lean into their job is to reinforce your identity.
2. Leaners= Walk beside you
The second essential relationship you need in your life is not just a leader, but you need people around you. You need friends, brothers, and sisters in Christ to lean on. They’re going to help you know who you really are. If you are new to faith or have been a Christian for a long time, you need people to remind you of your new identity, just as Pastor Rudy did for me.
The way I found leaners in my life was by joining a small group that met every Wednesday for a number of weeks. I needed it. I was 21 years old, and my old friends tried pulling me away. I needed to meet with a group of guys helping me with genuine accountability who loved me. I’m not talking about just friends. I’m talking about people who are committed to you and who you are also committed to.
Ask yourself this question, am I willing to make new friends that will help reinforce my identity? I understand that people have social anxiety and difficulty making new friends. But I’m telling you it’s your responsibility to make friends. God has put leaders in your life, and he’s putting friends in your life.
You may think that you don’t know enough of the Bible or haven’t been following Jesus long enough. Can I tell you that you are one or two chapters ahead of some others? You don’t realize it. When you join a Life Group, you will grow to the point of being a Big Brother or Big Sister in this family. You’re going to be a life group, and someone will be telling a story similar to something you went through. You’ll be able to talk to that person and share with them how faithful God was when you walked through the same situation. You’re going to have an opportunity to speak into their life. If God can do it for me, he could do it for you.
3. Little Brothers/Sisters= Under your wing
Suddenly, you have someone under your wing. You need leaders who are in front of you. You need people by your side that you can lean on. Then you need little brothers and sisters under your wing.
I need you to decide that you will grow into big brothers and sisters in this family. I need that from you. This church has got to be a church that grows together. We need Big Brothers, Big Sisters who are willing to disciple others. I need you to grow and get into a life group. The world is brutal, and trials and testing will come. But you can get through just about anything if you have the right people around you. And I know God will help you with that. That’s how he’s designed it.