Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 11

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 3/4)

The sin of acedia is, “I don’t care anymore.” The sin of tristitia is sadness, wrongly processing suffering and loss, allowing the soul to close in on itself and refuse instruction from God. Tristitia is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances. Satan wants to get us off the track in stupid presumption or in sinful carelessnenss. God redeems the hurt that evil has done.

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 11
Watching Now
The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 3/4)

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 3)

I. Reformation of Deformed Disposition

II. Psalm 9

III. The Sin of Tristitia

IV. The Sin of Acedia

V. There is A Way Out

A. The goodness of God

B. Infused hope

C. Face the conditions of the world today with sobriety and compassion

  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • Christian activism is Christians seeking to be involved in the issues and needs of the day and time. Wesleyans in the 1700's in England sought to minister to people that others didn’t care about. To be called by Christ is to be called into the body of Christ. A biblical model is that every member is a full-fledged minister of the gospel without distinction between clergy and laity. 

  • Mysticism can be described as the direct communication of your spirit with the Divine Spirit as taught and illustrated in the New Testament as a fundamental part of Christian belief. Receptivity means that I am open to what the Lord is saying to me through the revelation of his word, the magnificence of his son and the voice of his Spirit which is consistent with the written word. The church was emphasizing what they were doing for God rather than on first listening to what God wants us to be and then acting. Union with our Lord must come before any type of donation or work (kenosis) for our Lord. (Download the complete text of the sermon by clicking on the link on this page or under the Downloads heading on the class page.)

  • Which do you love more, the Lord or the projects you are doing for him? Is your goal to exalt the Lord or build a personal kingdom? Essence of anxiety is whether or not you can trust God. The question to ask when you begin having feelings of self-pity is, “Is you life going to be defined by how you think it ought to go?”  The blame-shame mindset is that you are unhappy because there is something wrong with the people around you. When you experience these red flags in your ministry, you should recognize it as time that it’s possible that the Lord may be prompting you to make a change in your life.The Mary in you must rest at the feet of Jesus if the Martha in you is to do her work.

  • Essence is who the Lord has created you to be. Biblically, essence precedes existence as oppose to Sartre's teaching that man is no more than what he makes of himself. God has given us the capacity of reception, to be able to hear God’s voice and follow it. The spiritual life that God calls you to live is based on what you receive from God, not on what you do for God.

  • How do you determine if your motives are right in your efforts to serve God? The more gifts and talents we have, the more susceptible we are to self-deception regarding our motives. Resist the urge to make pleasing people your primary motivation. You will never please everyone and in the process you lose sight of focusing on pleasing God. When people have expectations of you that don’t match what God has called you to do, there are times when you must, “let Lazarus die.”

  • God wants us to be faithful to the kingdom and his son and fruitful according to his metrics. What’s the goal and what condition do our hearts need to be in to understand the goal? The Mary in us needs to rest at the feet of Jesus in order for the Martha in us to do her work. Think about when you experienced renewal and think about when you were blessed. When you have received God’s blessing, how has that resulted in demonstrating his hand of mercy to someone else? How are your activities balanced?

  • A canal simultaneously pours out what it receives. A reservoir waits till it’s filled then discharges water without loss to itself. Today, there are many in God’s church that act like canals. The reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom heavenly doctrine flows that they want to pour it forth to us before they have been filled. They are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves. High mountain lakes have one stream out and water level relatively constant throughout the year. How is the water level staying constant in your life? Depletion results in erosion of presence, and results in just going through the motions. 

  • The Lord desires that we live dispositionally. Important elements include loving God, living devotionally, relational strengthening, vocational serving (listening with the intent of following what I hear). Dallas Willard wrote, “If I am a disciple of Jesus, I am with him to learn from him, how to be like him." The primary calling of a pastor is to follow Jesus, within the calling of leading a church. 

  • The eight deadly sins are in the order that Satan uses to try to get us and in the order in which we need redemption. Gormandize means you are overdoing it and being a slave to flesh. Fornication refers to a wandering heart and seeking to devour others. Avarice is the love of money and sometimes is a fear of not having enough. Anger is a rancorous spirit. The spiritual cancer of depreciation is looking at the vast horizon of God’s goodness in his creation and my life and depreciating it, only seeing what’s wrong. Psalm 51:10-12, create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

  • When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing? How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you? What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

  • The sin of acedia is, “I don’t care anymore.” The sin of tristitia is sadness, wrongly processing suffering and loss, allowing the soul to close in on itself and refuse instruction from God. Tristitia is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances. Satan wants to get us off the track in stupid presumption or in sinful carelessnenss. God redeems the hurt that evil has done.

  • In the early church passion was seen as something that controlled you and out of control and leading you astray, not a positive motivation. John Cassion described vainglory as passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. The danger is that we take credit for what God is doing. In pursuit of being popular, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Pride is the original vice from which all others spring. Pride can develop into functioning atheism. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our heart. 

  • Is there a sin that's not deadly? To what extent can you worry about something before it becomes a sin? What does it take to overcome gluttony? The minute you make an exception for yourself, you either presume on the grace of God or break a known law of God. Admit what you are feeling and submit it to God to have faith in him in the situation, then do your part.

  • Instead of gluttony, we see temperance. Temperance means living a balanced life. Chaste love is extending love to others, not preying on them. Poverty of spirit rather than greed. Cultivate meekness to deal with anger. You have been forgiven much so you should be willing to forgive others much. Cultivate faith, hope and love to deal with hopelessness. Cultivate humility to deal with vainglory. Evangelism in the first 300 years a result of the quality of the lives of disciples as they lived in a hostile environment. 

  • A transcendent crisis is yearning for the “more than.” “Is life meaningful?” “Is God good?” Can I trust my life to God or have I been abandoned by God? An idolatry crisis happens when you run after a passion rather than pursue God. Each person in your sphere of influence is going through crises in their own lives. God can use a crisis to help something in us die so we can experience and share the light of Christ.

  • To feed the 5,000, the disciples had to rely on Jesus because they didn’t have the resources. Jesus walked out on the water to comfort the disciples with his presence. The disciples thought they were going to die a terrible death. If you choose to think your situation, the church and others are hopeless, it results in ego desperation, or hopelessness. You see what’s wrong, you think you have exhausted your resources and you see no way that it’s going to get fixed. If you allow the crisis to take you into the life of Christ and dependence on him, it will not destroy you. 

  • It's important for us to understand how our relationship with God is affected by being born at a certain period of time and in a certain society. The vital is the physical dimension of the human life. Vitalism is where your physical pleasures become the priority in your life.  Functional is the roles, tasks and responsibilities we take on. It’s a problem when we allow our roles and responsibilities to define us, which is functionalism. Transcendent is the longing for the “more than.” Pneumatic/Ecclesial level is the capacity the Lord has given each of us to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice. When ambition gets separated from the leading of the Spirit, it can become self-promotion. Functional Transcendence is you using the things of God for self-gain.

  • It's important to keep Christ at the center of who you are. Interiority includes memory, intellect, will. Augustine says will is most important.In addition to our personal thoughts, we exist in community with others who are submitting their lives to the will of Christ. The Lord has placed us in a certain place and time and wants you to live a life of obedience in that context every day, not just one day a week. The Father is seeking to form your life into the image of Christ as you were meant to be. Through our experiences, God forms you into a unique person. On the relational side, this results in compassion for others because we love others with the same love we experienced. God gives us confidence that he has given us the gifts and resources we need to live out the calling he has given us. Competence that our ministry will be effective. Our courage comes from trusting in the strength of the Lord. Community, the work of God’s Church is a work done with others. Confirmation comes internally from God and externally from the community of faith. 

  • If you are following Jesus, you have a role as a leader. If a spiritual leader does not understand what their task is according to scripture, then their spiritual life is not going to have the focus the Lord wants them to have.  Worship is a response of the love that has been shown to us. Worship involves our all aspects of us and is enabled by God’s Spirit. We worship God because of who he is. By looking at Jesus, you see who God is.

  • The Church needs you to present what Scripture says, not your own ideas. Worship means to kneel before someone out of respect or honor. We owe it to God as an act of service to sit at his feet and worship him. Spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God’s disposal. Are we leading people to worship God, or just providing religious goods and services to them? Solid biblical teaching is important. Structure follows purpose. We are failing to dig down into the revelation of God and let the revelation of God set the compass. If you are not careful, your program sets your agenda.

  • Movements in worship: 1. kneeling in acts of loving worship. Kneeling in submission before God to acknowledge that you are dependent on him. 2. Exalting God by declaring his worthiness 3. Receiving God’s life symbolized by the sacrament of communion. 4. Empowers us and encourages us to go out and serve. We participate in the fellowship and life of the Trinity. We need to immerse ourselves in relationship to God and let that inform and empower what we do so that our worship service is more than creating an experience or transmitting information. Be explicit about your purpose in worship and include prayer.

  • The elders fall before the throne, they worship the Lord and they cast their crowns before him. Falling before the throne represents an acknowledging of God as absolute deity. What is going to happen in the future tells us what we should be doing now. When we fall down before the throne, our heart condition is inward humility and submission to the Lord. Then they raise up and exalt the Lord by proclaiming his worth. Inward love results in proclaiming what is right, good, just and holy. Taking of crowns is an outward expression of placing everything we have under the Lordship of Christ and an inward movement of total abandonment of everything we are to God.

  • The call of Jesus to, “follow me” is the call to redirect everything in our lives. A disciple is one who seeks to fulfill the will of the father by actively following Jesus the Son while continually depending on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. Faith is my trust in Jesus as well as the content of the Gospel. Practice is putting it into play. Catechism is the content of the faith, and catechesis is how you express it. Cheap grace is not biblical because it allows for justification without ensuing discipleship. Primary purposes of the church are to proclaim the Gospel, worship and make disciples. In addition to knowing the content, you must live it out. Clergy need to learn how to make and train disciples. Laity must be fully committed full-time ministers of the body of Christ.

  • Movements that are necessary for the church today to fulfill what God is calling them to do. For the clergy, 1. moving from pastor as the primary minister to each believer fulfilling their calling as full-time ministers in their spheres of influence; 2. Moving from preaching only to not only appropriate sermon preparation time but also discipling a core group; 3. Moving from a priority on numbers to staying with a process that results in mature disciples; 4. From solo leadership to team leadership. Discipleship should not be optional. Old Christendom model is breaking down but confusion on who and what we are called to be. “Is my first aim to make disciples, or do I just run an operation?” For the laity, 1. From going to church to being Church; 2. From expecting benefits from Christianity requiring no sustained effort to being intent on being disciples; 3. From being passive observers to full-time ministers. Primary purpose of leader is to equip the people of God to do the work of God.

  • The sermon is a critical part of the discipleship process. The “through” movement is the process of the “from-to” movement. Each of these steps must be contextualized to your situation. We are aiming for maturity in Christ. As a leader, you love the whole but you only disciple the few. Don’t neglect public proclamation but don’t see that as the end of your ministry. Daily pray, read scripture, weekly services, small groups acts of service, fasting, giving. Discipleship is helping people integrate the word of God into their lives.

  • Tozer says we don’t have the right of choosing Jesus as Savior and postponing our obedience. Dispositions are something that’s part of your daily life. Christian disciplines help us to love God and love our neighbor. Encourage people to seek God’s direction for where he wants them to serve. The biblical model is that mature Christians will live as disciplined followers. Make it a goal for pure love to fill your heart and govern your words and actions.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn

Spiritual Life of a Leader


The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 3/4)

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] What I want us to do now is let's. Let's crawl. Let's. Let's walk out of this valley. Let's let the Lord show us what's called the reformation of deformed dispositions. You know, what we're talking about is the tendency we have in ministry to think that it's all bad news, that the people that it's just impossible. At least I had that tendency that and the the pencil line just expanded out too broadly for me. So what what do we do? I love Psalm nine. I was coming out of a situation where. I moved from pastoral leadership and was kind of grieving the whole process. And then my wife and I went on a Celtic pilgrimage where we traced the Celtic Christian movement, started in England in the western part of England, and it went to Ireland and it went up to Scotland and it went down to north eastern England, Northumbria and it got back and I think I was just tired. I mean, I was physically tired. I was drained from some of the conflict that we'd had in the local church and was starting a new position. And I was walking in the park and was reading as I walked who was reading Psalm nine. Love it. So I will give thanks to the Lord and I'll do it with my whole heart. Now you just got to put yourself into some of the understanding here of what a wholehearted thanks means. In other words, I'm put my whole body into this. I'm putting my whole life into this. I will tell of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exalt in you. That's a jump up. That's what you do at basketball games or that's what you do if you're a football fan.


[00:02:19] Most of you football is on the ground, the ball you kick on the ground in America, it'll it'll be the ball you pass and run with. But anyway, you jump up in the yay and I will sing praise to your name. Oh most. Hi David wrote the ball. And so at that point, as I was going around the park, I said, You know what? I'm just going to I'm just going to count my blessings, literally. And I just started. Lord, thank you for this. Thank you for that. Thank you for this. You may have grown up with this song. I'm not even sure I can remember the words. Count your blessings. Name them one by one hand to go see what God has done. Anyway, I can't sing it, but it is a great old gospel song and there's real truth in it, you know? What is Psalm 100? Tell us. I will enter his gates with Thanksgiving, and then as I get closer into by the holy of holies, where the presence of God dwells and His courts with praise. So this business of thanking God, thanking Him for all myriad kinds of things is huge. You know, it opens the door. It allows the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to open the doors of our hearts to the reality of grace that's everywhere and always presence in our lives. John Pierre de Cozad is the one who had that classic saying, The grace of God is everywhere and always present, but open only to those who have the eyes of faith to see it. So when we enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with praise, what happens? You are empowered, empowered to overcome these two deadly sins that that the early church says really get.


[00:04:26] These are things that get a hold of of the whole hearted followers. These are that these are the two the most likely wants to to sink us the deadly sin of sadness and the deadly sin of acedia or it's acedia is just I don't care anymore. That's the great danger of leadership. I just don't care. You can have it. Forget it. Count me out. I quit. Now, let me just give a word here. There's very few pastoral leaders who have it quit. At least they said they're going to quit multiple times. So let's just. Including myself, let's just be honest about that. And the Lord is gracious. He said, Now, now I understand. And he pats on the back is get back in the fight. Get back in the fight. Now, what is twisted here? What is this? A sin of sadness? This is important to get a hold of this thing. It's wrongly processing suffering. It's not saying there won't be suffering is just saying it's wrongly processing, suffering and loss. And it's allowing the soul to close in upon itself. And it refuses the grace of God and it refuses instruction from God. This is tough because, yes, you do need to have time of grieving. Yes, you do need to go through loss. But yes, you do need to hear. You need to hear the love of God. You need to experience that. It's going to be a both. And we're not going to deny suffering. We're not going to we're not going to be Pollyannish. We're not going to be cruel. We're going to allow God to even be with us through the suffering that we have to go through. True story is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances, writes Thomas Merton.


[00:06:50] Now, leaders, I need your love. I need you to really focus in here. How often do we say if this were to happen, if I could just get this in place, if I could just get that in place, or if I just didn't have to deal with that, or if I just didn't have to struggle with this. In other words, my well-being is determined by outside factors. Listen, this will destroy a marriage or a relationship. In very quick order. If. If she would only. Or if he would only. You know what the wisdom of the ancients is? Your well-being can not be determined by what others do or don't do. Your well-being is caught up in an essential relationship with your Lord. It takes real courage, Thomas Merton wrote, to recognize that we ourselves are the cause of our own unhappiness. Now, keep in mind, he's addressing the scene of a twisted here. And of course, when someone has had a massive tragedy in their lives, you know, you don't throw this kind of stuff at them. They they are unhappy and they're going to go through that time and you're going to be with them through that time. So. So we're not talking about violence done against somebody. That would be that would be crazy. What we're talking about is our preference to harp on what is wrong. Now, why do I know this is so applicable? Look, all you got to do is show up in any convention of pastors. Or church leaders. And I've done this with Roman Catholics, I've done this with Protestants. I've I've done I've. I've seen this with Orthodox. By that I mean the Orthodox denomination. I've seen this in Asia, I've seen this in Central America, and I have most definitely seen it across the United States.


[00:09:28] You get groups of pastors together regardless of denomination, and it's only a few minutes before griping, complaining, Gretchen, you know, starts coming out. Listen, leaders who are listening to this, wherever you are around the globe. This is not the way of Christ. All of us serve in fallen systems. If you've got a system. It's not dealing with issues. Please let us know. But I just. I haven't been there. Whether you're in a highly structured ecclesiastical setting or you're completely independent. There could be issues that you're going to have to deal with. And one of the greatest issues that we're going to that Merton is saying we've got to come to grips with is our own preference for sadness. Lord, save us from this. Help us, Jesus. Now they would call it the early church would call it John Kasson would call it morbid sadness. Now, let's keep in mind that we've made a lot of advances in mental health since that time. We know now that, for instance, when I would have someone come in and they were what I would term clinically depressed, the first thing I would do is, you know, I really. When's the last time you had a physical and when is the last time you spoke to your physician about this? And I'm telling you, God can do absolute miracles through medical intervention with mental health issues here. So let's don't get this confused. This morbid sense is that propensity to dwell on how bad things are. Now, there was a show in the 1960s in the United States which might can be accessed on YouTube from around the world. I don't know. But it was called Hee Haw. It's a funny it was a funny show and it's most definitely dating me.


[00:12:00] But I remember on Hee Haw they would sing a song every now and then. Minnie Pearl was there and Rowan and who else was It was on there. Anyway, they would sing this song Glow, Despair and Agony on Me. If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. Gloom, despair and agony on me. That becomes a way of life for for a lot of ministry leaders. It cannot be a way of life for us because it's a way that leads to death. The gospel is not about gloom, despair and agony. The gospel is about chains being broken and people receiving life and love. So when this stuff keeps on, then something worse happens. Then the noonday devil. Acedia. The noonday devil. You know, that's when you're sitting by a fire and you're kind of worn out. And the speaker's drawing on and on. You know, you just want to go take a nap is they'll help me. Jesus, Help me. The noonday. You know, actually, it's a far worse condition than they are. The noonday devil grabs our wearied and anxious hearts. It's a demonic spirit that grab anxious and wearied heart and drives us to the conclusion, the tragic conclusion, that our ministries simply don't matter anymore. Man. It's a wrong way. Acedia is weariness of life itself, a disgust with everything. It certainly implies discouragement, a paralysis of the spirit combined with restlessness and indecision. Acedia is, in fact, one of the great spiritual diseases of our times. It's a disease of the best minds. Now, what in the world did Merton mean by a disease of the best minds? Look, it's a disease where people who are well educated, well trained in ministry look around and say, This is impossible.


[00:14:19] We're not going to we're not going to overcome this stuff. In the early church speaks to us and the Holy Spirit checks us and says, You're veering off. You're veering off. See, the Satan needs to get off. Get us off the path. And one way or the other, either to the right. In stupid presumption. Or to the left in sinful carelessness, either to the left, where we break a known law of God, or to the right, where we presume upon grace, we become arrogant in our life and we start interpreting, making wrong interpretations about life. And that's what's happening with acedia. CD is the frustrated and sad Heart crying out I quit. It's not worth it anymore. I'm not going to put up with it any more. Forget it. Now there's a way out. And now we're going to start looking up and we're going to look at the goodness of God here because he loves you too much to let you quit his kingdom, man. His kingdom is coming. This kingdom's here. His kingdom is triumphant. It's unshakable. We're staying in a hotel right now. Here in the southern part of the state of Washington is 730. Every morning, this concrete structure starts vibrating. And yesterday, I thought we were having we thought we were having an earthquake. So we're not quite sure what's vibrating this concrete structure. But this morning I sit and watch the lambs listen, The kingdom's unshakable and God's not God's not whipped. Are you kidding me? What is the atonement say? The atonement says the back of evil was broken. Jesus is victorious. He's not with friends and evil is not going to have the last say and disorder is not going to be the last word. The light.


[00:16:49] The love is alive. It's real. It's here. It is triumphant, infused hope there. Now, keep in mind, we've got to get biblical terms here. Faith, hope and love. Paul talked about faith, absolute trust in Jesus, confidence in Jesus hope. This is not the kind of wishy washy stuff we'll say, Oh, I wish that. I wish I could. Whatever. You know, I hope that this. What? No, no, no hope. Well, you know, Hebrews, that man is firm confidence. It's this. This is this is this is confirmed in my life. It's I know that. I know that. I know that God is good, that his kingdom is coming. His kingdom is here. I know this all shall be well in him. It's a gift to those who literally abandon themselves to Christ and his benevolent goodness and to the beneficial meaning this of everyday events, circumstances and things like, Look, God holds all things together and you know these things, even though evil is not his purpose, he doesn't. He's not the author of evil. At least I don't believe that. I know there are some systems that but I don't I don't hold there. But he redeems it. He redeems the hurt that evil has done. Infused hope says that there's nothing that he can't touch, there's nothing that he can't heal. And you have not gone gone so far that you can't be brought back home. That's infused hope. A Christian knows how to face the disastrous conditions of the world today with what was sobriety. Other words, we're not stupid. We're not Pollyannish with sobriety. With compassion. We have compassion on the fallen of those around us without false and shallow exuberance. Listen, my boss is a man by the name of Dr. Timothy Tennant, and he's an awesome guy.


[00:19:16] I loved him. He's, you know, Tim said, Hey, this whole business of sexuality right now is going to take the church a long time to get all this sorted out in church history. He says, We're just in the beginning of this thing, just in the beginning. So we got confidence, you know, God's got the big picture. God's got the way here. A Christian knows how to do this without false and shallow exuberance, but with theological hope. I stand on that because of the resurrection and the ascension and the enthronement of Christ. That's why I can have hope in order to do so. Look, we've got to resist this temptation to hopelessness. Do you hear me? Do you hear me? So I'm looking at. I'm looking at leaders all over the world right now. Your situation is not hopeless. It is not. I don't care what you're facing right now. Look. What. What is hopelessness? It's really selfish. It looks around at the world and it says, Man, I've used all the resources. I know there's nothing left, and this is a lost cause. Do you see how selfish said it's. There are resources we can't even dream of. Imagine. God is in control of history. God is sovereign. God is working in and through history. He works in redemptive ways that just blows our socks off. And your situation is not hopeless. He's at work. He's at work. So we resist this temptation to acedia, and it enables us to cease blaming our unhappiness on people or circumstances outside of us, rather than focusing upon what's wrong with our lives. We focus upon who God is and how He is at work in our lives. We stop writing these formulas, these false scripts for happiness.


[00:21:38] It's not. I hope that. No way you don't. The minute you start filling in, that is the minute you're boxing God in. No, this came out of this came out of the depths of World War Two. It's simply, I hope. I have absolute confidence that God is at work in this situation, and I thank him that even though I cannot see any way out of it, I have confidence and I thank him ahead of time that he will deliver me and he will work this situation to the praise of his glory. I hope infused hope enables me and enables us to throw ourselves into a love relationship with Jesus, where we spend time with the living Word. Who is Christ in the miracle of the written word that He's given us. And we give thanks for that written word. We listen for his voice. We make commitments then to love his people, the people right where we've been placed, even the old grouchy ones. We grew up in a town or near a town that in Texas, said Stanton, Texas, the home of something like 3250 friendly people and a few old sore heads. So you're going to have a few also friends in your church. We love them. Our question no longer revolves around what's wrong with them. Instead, we sincerely ask, How is the Lord calling me to faithfully love the people in my life? And we give thanks. Now that he's going to let his grace come and encourage all of our hearts. And so we offer it in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. And we affirm infused hope as a gift from Jesus. Amen.