November 18, 2014 Length: 9:50
Both sickness and even death is made well by faith. But this message isn't about any physical sickness or even physical death but the spiritual sickness and death that grips us and enslaves us to a life of self-centered choices. Being free from that sickness and death is the only path that leads to authentic human life! It's the only path to a renewed mind!
It is amazing to me that the more and more that we study and that we learn and we think, we discover the timeless wisdom that centuries of wise men and women have known, that how you think affects how you live. That all of your behaviors, everything you do, all of your attitudes, all of your actions, all of your thoughts are affected by what begins in your mind and that if your mind is filled with chaos, your life is filled with chaos.
If your thinking is filled with short term goals and only instant gratification, why trust me folks, you are going to pull into every Dunkin Donuts you see, it’s just what is going to happen.
But as you think with your mind, so your life will be. I’m thinking specifically today about our Gospel lesson because here in our Gospel lesson this morning, we have a man who has completely abandoned his life to outside influences that have now driven him to become nothing more than a beast.
The Gospel lesson describes a man who can’t even be chained or under guard because the influences of the demons in his mind have made him nothing more than a mere animal. He lives among the tombs, among the dead, that should tell you something right there.
Folks, parenthetically you need to understand that the enemy of our soul wants you to be gripped by death in every form. The enemy of our soul wants you to be gripped by the death of bitterness, the death of anger revenge or just debilitating effects of the fear of your own mortality. The enemy wants you to be constantly worried about that and your actions motivated by your fears and your anger and your terror and if he can’t get you gripped by your fears, he will be happy to let you be swallowed by your daydreams, either way the enemy wants you to stay away from being in your right mind but make no mistake brothers and sisters, what influences you, what influences your life on a daily basis, what influences how you think will shape how you live.
So I gotta ask you, what influences your thinking? What influences the way you think? What shapes your attitudes and your actions and your thoughts? Is it fear? Is it bitterness? Is it regret? What shapes your thinking? What do you allow to shape your attitudes and your thoughts about your relationships? About how to raise your children? About the stage of life you are in now whether you are young, middle aged or if you are like me you are (mumbling) years old? What is shaping your thinking? Because brothers and sisters, make no mistake what you allow to shape your thinking shapes your life.
This man the Gadarene demoniac was shaped by the influences of darkness exclusively. But what happens when he confronts Jesus Christ? When Jesus Christ healed him, the Scripture says that when the townspeople came and found this man, he was sitting at the feet of Jesus, calm peaceful, content, dressed and in his right mind. Are you in your right mind today? I hope so.
Out of the mouths of babes folks, what does the Scripture declare? Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not such is the kingdom of heaven. You know she is right, she is in her right mind. Do you know why? Because what is influencing her thinking is not her fears, it isn’t her expectations, it isn’t here prejudices, it isn’t her anger or her losses or her wins. What is shaping her mind right now is the presence where she is right now, she is in church. She is being shaped by what is going on around her in the kingdom of God.
Brothers and sisters, all of us have had an amazing life lesson given to us this past week, even in our own community. Even in our own community of the preciousness and the fleetingness of life.
Today, Jesus Christ sets before us the timeless path of the Orthodox faith to put us in our right mind. The timeless way for us to be in our right mind and to finally be free from anger, and bitterness and disappointment and fear and expectations. What shapes your thinking about your expectations? What shapes your attitude about your possessions? Is it he who dies with the most toys win? I have to hoard as much stuff as I possibly can because I have to protect my, fill in the blank.
What is your attitude toward your money? What is your attitude toward your priorities? Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ shaping your attitude toward your possessions, your relationships, your priorities in your life? What is shaping you this morning? Make no mistake brothers and sisters, you are being influenced all the time. You are being influenced by television. In fact, I don’t know if you turn on a radio or TV nowadays, without somebody telling you if you vote for me, I’ll fix everything and we are going to believe them again, God help us.
The advertising industry in this country spends billions of dollars a year. Do you know why? Because it works, if you buy this soap, the women will love you. If you brush your teeth with this toothpaste, the dog will think you are fantastic. If you had this car or drove this car or if you bought this house, or if you only had this clothing, then everything in your life would be fine.
And the reason why they do it folks is because it works. Advertising works. Something horrible happens when you don’t advertise, nothing. So you are being influenced from outside influences but the one truth that I want you to carry away from this homily this morning is this: your will, your choices make the determination of what you allow to influence your thinking and your life. You make that choice yourself, what you allow to influence you. So precious friends, each of us stands before the Lord Jesus Christ responsible for our choices and responsible for our slavery. May God grant each of us the courage to make the choice this morning to allow the eternal truths of the faith to shape how we think because if it does, it will change how we live and put us in our right mind. Amen.