Completing Yourself

Posted on 09/07/2014 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


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THERE IS A RIVER

There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of our God
There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of our God

I will rejoice, I will rejoice
and be glad
I will rejoice, I will rejoice
and be glad

There is a fountain full of grace
and if flows from Emmanuel's veins
It came and it healed me, it came and refreshed me,
It came and it washed my sins away!


TAKE ME IN TO THE HOLY OF HOLIES

Take me into the Holy of Holies
take me in by the Blood of the Lamb
Take me into the Holy of Holies
take the coal, touch my lips, here I am

Take me past the outer courts
into the Holy Place
Past the brazen altar
Lord, I want to see your face
Pass me by the crowds of people
and the priests who sing your praise
I hunger and thirst for your righteousness
and it's only found one place


NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

Jesus, name above all names
Beautiful Savior, glorious Lord.
Emmanuel, God is with us.
Blessed Redeemer, Living word.


I EXALT THEE

For thou O Lord art high
above all the earth
Thou are exalted
far above all gods

And I exalt thee
I exalt thee
I exalt thee O Lord


*** listen to the audio to hear the introduction ***


Have you ever heard the phrase "finding yourself?" Or how about "My other half?" Perhaps you're familiar with the concept of "completing yourself" by doing or accomplishing this or that thing that you consider important or great.

"If only I can find that special someone, and have a real relationship with them, THEN I will be complete."

"If I can have a great ministry and reach the world for Jesus, THEN I will be complete."

"If I can raise a family and see them grow up to make me a happy grandparent, THEN I will be complete."

"If I build my own corporation and make lots of money, THEN I will be complete."

Or how about something a little smaller, a little less obvious. Perhaps when the weekend finally gets here, you'll feel a little more whole. Or when you can finally get that new car, you'll be a little more happy. Or when you get that promotion, raise, or recognition, you'll feel as though you've arrived, or at least are closer to arriving.

A little more food will make me more complete. A little more drink. A little more money. A little more fun. A newer gadget. A faster computer. A better phone. A more educated, polished mind. A leaner waistline. A body builder's physique.

A better complexion. A different color of hair. That tatoo. That piercing. That wardrobe.

A better personality. An award-winning smile. Praise and adoration -- a little pat on the back.


It seems as though we're all looking for something to complete us, or something to bring us closer to completion. Something more than we have, to make us something more than we are.

Does any of this sound vaguely familiar? Oh come on now. You've been human at least at some point in your life.

Now, I'm sure you've heard that, to fill that emptiness, to feel complete, we need Jesus. But while that's ultimately true, I would like for us to consider this topic a little closer.

I mean, we could repeat the popular Christian saying, "Whatever the question, the answer is Jesus." That's all fine and dandy, but what does that even really mean?

I mean, people come to the cross, give their lives to Jesus, turn from their sins and receive forgiveness, and they are born again. And then their life goes on. And completeness is "just around the bend."

"Who they think they are" will be complete AFTER they start speaking in tongues, or AFTER they lead someone to Jesus, or AFTER they achieve some position in the church, or AFTER they achieve some secular goal or gain some material posession or find that perfect relationship.

The feeling of incompleteness remains.


Colossians 2:8-10 (NKJV)

8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;
10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

So this says we are complete in Christ. Case closed, right? We all know now that if we're in Christ, we are not incomplete and we can stop trying to add things to ourselves. Right?


You've probably heard about the scorpion who wanted to get across a river, and he asked a turtle for a ride across on his back. The turtle declined.

"Why not?" asked the scorpion.

"Because," answered the turtle, "if I let you on my back, you'll sting me."

"Why would I sting you?" replied the scorpion.

"Because," said the turtle, "that's your nature.

"But if I stung you," rebutted the scorpion, "we would both sink."

This seemed reasonable to the turtle, and after the scorpion promised to not sting him so as to save both their lives, the turtle let him climb on his back, and he started across the river.

Half way across, the scorpion reached under the turtle's shell and stung him. As they began to sink, the turtle cried out, "Why did you sting me?!" To which the scorpion replied, "I couldn't help myself. It's like you said: it's my nature."


We might know that we are complete in Christ, but that knowledge isn't enough to keep us from feeling as though we need to add something else to ourselves. Why? Because, even if it drags us down and drowns us, it is the nature of the earthly mind to build a self and to proclaim that it is who you are. And that mind-made self is never complete; it always needs something else added to it.

That's just its nature. It can't help itself. That's just the way it is.

And the Bible instructs us to renew our minds. But it doesn't happen over night. it's a life-long process. That's okay though. You do not have to wait until your mind will no longer sting you. You don't have to EVER trust it. And you do not have to do its bidding.


So the passage we just read starts with this:

8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Of course that "anyone" who you should not let cheat you includes your own mind.

The tradition of men. The basic principles of the world. And not according to Christ.

It's "the tradition of men," or "the way everyone knows things are," that promotes the idea that you need something else in order for you to be complete.

A popular one is that you need just the right "special someone," and that until you find them, you cannot be complete.

But deeper than that, the root of it is that the "you" you feel needs something added to it to be complete, isn't "you" at all. It's that thing the mind has spent many years building and many years insisting it is you.

In Genesis, the Bible tells us that God breathed into man the breath of life, and man became a living being.

A living being. Not a personality. Not a story. Not a half-a-man who wouldn't be "complete" until God creates a woman.

I mean, if you are just "being," you can't really be incomplete. Can you? Now, keep in mind that I'm referring to someone who is in Christ. If you are NOT in Christ, then you ARE incomplete. But that completeness or incompleteness has to do with the state of your connection with Father God. And if you don't have that in order today, then don't leave where you are right now before you get that taken care of.

But what I'm talking about here is your experience of life through the delusional filter of the earthly human mind. The mind that, regardless of the state of your relationship with God, points your attention to the person it has built, and tells you it is you. And, since the mind is never done building that false self, it believes that there is always just that one other thing that the pseudo you is missing before it can be considered whole or complete.

Maybe you need more education. Bigger muscles. A smaller waist size. Bigger breasts. Come on now, we might act all holy, but I know some of you women hearing this have felt that way at some time, just like most of us men have thought that if we had a he-man body, we would be better off than we are now.

Always something more. Something better. Something we don't have. And if we get it, then it will be just one more thing. Always out of reach by just "one."

Or sometimes by MORE than one. But I think you get the idea here. And not all these things are bad. They're neither bad nor good in themselves. What causes us to feel incomplete is our getting caught up in the mind's lies to us that we are something besides a complete being -- that we are, instead, that person it has built. And, of course, that person always needs something else to be complete.


Now, I realize that many people's minds would reason that this is a GOOD thing. After all, if you're not unhappy with what is, and you don't feel complete with who you are, then you'll move forward and you'll make good things happen.

But that's philosophy and empty deceit. It's the tradition of men. It's the basic principles of the world. And it is not according to Christ.


The world relies on fear of loss and the desire for gain to motivate what it considers to be positive action.

The Spirit simply does what's right, right here and right now.

The world believes you need to find yourself.

The Spirit simply says you simply ARE with Christ.

The world believes you are your story, that you are the sum of your past, that you are that person your mind has dedicated itself to building and protecting, that person, which is really a mental image, that your mind insists is you.

Am I getting too deep here? That's not my intention. The truth is actually quite simple. It just takes a lot of words to point us to the truth, because the truth is so far away from where our minds have been telling us to look.


A few days ago, Jen, A.K.A. Mariposa, and I went to the hospital to get a test run. While she was getting the test, I was waiting in the waiting room. And at first, I was listening to the ambiance, and seeing the people come and go. It was beautiful. And then my mind decided it wanted my attention. So it projected a feeling of slight restlessness, as it reminded me that the hospital had wifi, and that I had a device in my pocket that I could use to check email.

Why check email? There was no good reason for it; my mind simply wanted me to keep my attention on it and to get lost in it. And so it prodded me with uncomfortable feelings in an attempt to force me to do its wishes, to serve it, to be its slave.

And so I just watched the uncomfortable feelings, and just accepted that they were there. And they faded away.

What's the point in my telling you this? Well, it's just an example. Part of the feelings my mind projected were feelings of incompletion. As though I needed to add more thoughts to it, in the form of reading emails, to fill some sort of need or void.

Of course it was an atificial need, an imaginary void. And that's just what the earthly mind does. That's its nature. And when we get lost in it, we also get lost in its illusion that we always need more.


Verse 10:

10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

You are complete in Him. YOU are complete in Him. Your mind's thoughts about what it THINKS is you, those aren't complete. After all, your mind is poisoned with the knowledge of good and evil, which is the mental illness that causes you to inappropriately and compulsively label everything as "good" or "bad." And it labels not having "more" as "bad," and those things or circumstances you don't currently have as "good."

You already know that's the way things are. But your mind, being insane, is the last one who would admit that it's crazy. The crazy one must be whoever came up with such rediculous nonsense.

And I'm not trying to make the earthly mind out to be an enemy. After all, what would you do if it was? Have it surgically removed? The mind is a very good thing; it's just very ill.

Suppose you had someone in your family who was mentally challenged. Not unintelligent, just...... "off." It's not their fault, and there's not any medication that could help. They just do and say really weird things that aren't even true. Or are inappropriate. They just don't know that's the case.

And they always demand your attention. From the moment you start to wake up in the morning, to when you drop off to sleep at night. In fact, they might even sit on your bed, in the dark, talking and talking and talking, no matter how many times you beg them to PLEASE let you sleep.

What can you do? No one else can take over your responsibility. And they won't die until you do.

The thing is, you've been giving them your undivided attention for so long, that you start thinking that you ARE them. And you start believing everything they say. And you start doing almost everything they tell you to do, unless it's obvious to you that it's something totally insane. Sometimes even then.

And the more attention you give them, the more mentally ill they become.

What can you do? Well, it might help if you realize that, if you take your attention off of them, and you pay full attention to the dishes you're washing, or the food you're eating, or the sounds you're hearing, and you pay no attention to your mentally ill relative's words, such as, "I wish you didn't have to be here doing this. Look at me! Listen to me talk about how, right now, you are supposed to be somewhere else doing something else. Look at this long line. Let's be somewhere else. I know we have to stay here until we pay for what we have. Let's be somewhere else. Here, let me kick you a little bit in your shins, because the computer just froze and it's not supposed to do that. Maybe I can dig my elbow into your ribs a little because I don't like what's happening right now and you HAVE to agree with me because you ARE me. Of course your not me. But you ARE me. I know you're you and you're not crazy, but feel this: you ARE me, and I'M not crazy. But that's okay, you'll be much happier if you just eat another cookie."


Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to silence their mind just a little. But you probably already know, somewhere deep inside you know, that if you let your sick relative do what they do, and instead of fighting with them or labeling them as an enemy, you just accept that they are the way they are, and put your attention fully on other things, not believing what they say about those things or getting lost in their constant labels, they will eventually start becoming more silent; and eventually, you will be able to have short conversations with them. SANE conversations. And your relationship with them will change from a destructively sick psychopathy to something healthy and beneficial.

And the "you need more to make yourself complete" feelings they throw at you, you can just see it, feel them as they poke and pinch you, and you just continue to give your attention to Life.

For in Life, you are complete. In the Author of Life, you are complete. In the head of all principalities and powers, of all crazy minds and their insistance that you must add something to a self that isn't even really you, in Him, you are already complete.

Not after you have this. Not after you accomplish that. Not after you enter the perfect relationship. Not even after the world ends and sin and death are done away. But NOW. YOU ARE COMPLETE RIGHT NOW. And as you start witnessing Life from the silent presence you are instead of from the perspective of an insane mind and its false self that you are not, then you will start to KNOW, first hand, what it is to be fully and perfectly complete.


Now, a few minutes ago, we touched on the truth that, without Jesus, you are not complete. Some people have done what I just described, and they feel so complete that they enter into a relative bliss; but their sin stains remain, and while they can experience the Breath of God, they are still cut off from fellowship with the Giver of that Breath.

Do you still bear the weight of your sins? Whether you feel that weight or whether you've escaped that positive use for the mind, the Bible says that your sins are like a scarlet stain. You can scrub and scrub with good deeds or affirmations, but even if you become numb to their presence, you are still guilty of what you have done.

And as Romans 6:23 tells us, the penalty for sin is death. And that is the only reason Jesus died. He wasn't paying for His own sins; rather, He was paying for the sins of "whosoever will."

So wherever you are, and whenever you're hearing this, right now God is calling to you. And you already know, deep inside, that you are not truly complete as long as you are separated from Him. Just as a stream cannot be complete without its beginning and its end, so you cannot be complete without YOUR beginning and YOUR end. And that beginning and end took on the form of a man and paid the price for your sins.

All you have to do is to call out to Him. Instead of holding on to your life, your ways, your sins, hold on to Him instead. It's really that simple.

And if this is you, please take a moment to open a web browser and go to almcyberchurch.org, click the Pastors' Offices link, and contact us there. Or if you're listening to this live or at a later time in Second Life, you can instant message one of us.

And to the rest of us, those who are one with God, whose sins are forgiven, whose name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, I encourage you to let the things that were spoken today sink in. I'm not asking you to believe anything I've said. That's not necessary. You already know it. All you need to do is live like you know it.

You don't need something or someone else, or different circumstances, or a better apperance, or better health, or less challenges, or less so-called problems, for you to be complete. You already ARE complete, regardless of what your insane mind wants you to believe. And you can be free to know and experience that completeness right now.

And there's nothing else you need to do to be complete. Jesus finished the work. You don't need to earn your Salvation. You don't need to do enough good deeds to hopefully get into heaven. There's nothing you can add to what Jesus has already done. It is complete. And because you rest fully in His finished work, you are complete too.


Let's close today's service with a time of prayer, ministry, and worship. Whenever you need to leave, you're free to do so. If you can stay until after this time of ministry, you're invited to make your way into the room up the steps to your left when you're done here, and we'll meet there in a few minutes for some fellowship.

Come, and let's rejoice in the undeniable fact that we are complete in Him.


*** listen to the audio to hear the closing prayer ***