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HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ANNOYED?
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE HIGH HILL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
17 APRIL 1988
By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
Proverbs 2:1-15 and 20-21
James 1:2-5 and 13-16
The Preparation: (Psalms 100:3)
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
This is the second week in our look into what it truly means to "walk with God."
We are going to pick up our walk where we left off last week.
We are still going to look at the writings of Solomon and some things about his life; but this week we are going to concentrate more on our own walk with God, rather than on Solomon's.
Let's take another look at our Old 'Testament lesson for this morning, Proverbs 2, and see where our real wealth is to be found.
1. My son, if you will receive my sayings,
And treasure my commandments within you,
2. Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
3. For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
4. If you seek her as silver,
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
5. Then you will discern the fear of the Lord,
And discover the knowledge of God.
Sometimes it is hard to understand how the same person could write both these verses and those we looked at last week. It isn't hard, though, when we realize that both were written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, what God wants us to understand is that if we treasure His commandments, seek wisdom as silver, and realize that it is hidden treasure, then we will “discern the fear of the Lord” and discover His knowledge.
When we do this, we will also find the bonus prize of peace, joy, and love.
Because we will be able to see through our problems and not fuss and fume over our troubles, for God will be with us.
Where do we start to acquire this wisdom and knowledge?
From the living Word of God, the Bible; and through a personal relationship with the Lord.
This is not some way-out thing that is only for a few. It is for all of us, if we truly desire such a relationship.
Note the following verses:
6. For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7. He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8. Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
There is no secret formula to walking with the Lord on His path or in receiving this gift. It is free to all who seek it. It is already stored up and set aside for each of us.
We don't have to worry about the situations around us. God is our shield of protection, and will guide us safely to our destination.
But all too often we forget that God is our strength, and that it is He who will sustain us.
There is something strange in the way that we look at most of the problems in our lives. With the big ones, we seem either to seek God's help immediately or go into despair. But it is the little ones that seem to annoy us the most.
These little annoyances don't usually put us into a state of despair, but neither do they usually have us seeking our help from God. We usually find ourselves becoming frustrated, angry, and downright miserable to be around.
These small irritations are blown all out of proportion within our own minds.
We really don't have to become annoyed when these things happen. What we really have to do is remember that God is still there, right at our side.
These annoyances just seem to cloud our minds so much that we forget about God, or forget that He is there to help us with these things, also.
Maybe I can give you some graphic illustrations that will help.
Since we are talking about being annoyed, do you know what a Noid is?
A Noid is that little creature that jumps all over a take-out pizza to cause the cheese and tomato sauce to stick to the top of the box.
Do you remember when you were brushing your teeth, and the cap just seemed to jump out of your hand and fall into the sink, and just as you went to pick it up, it jumped out of the sink and on to the floor, and you found yourself chasing it all around the bathroom?
And when you finally got hold of the cap, do you remember what happened? You had forgotten to set down the tube of toothpaste, and you had squeezed some of it on the floor.
And as smoke was beginning to come out of your ears, and you were foaming at the mouth, you expressed your anger in the most deplorable way.
And that Noid that had kicked that cap out of your hand in the first place, and then booted it out of the sink, was just jumping up and down with glee over the results.
Now sometimes, perhaps on rare occasions, we are really our own worst Noids.
And as hard as it may be for us to understand, we may be the one actually doing all of these things to ourselves that get us so annoyed.
I'm fairly sure that if you saw an actual Noid jumping up and down like I described, you would probably lose your anger and begin to laugh.
Yet there are times when we will not even let this kind of humor affect the anger and annoyance within us.
The reason we don't usually see the Noid is because we are looking in the
wrong place for it. Noids usually like to hide in mirrors.
Why do the Noids in our lives annoy us so much?
They do when we take our eyes off the Lord.
There is another cause, as well. If we have never established a personal relationship with the Lord, our eyes are blinded from seeing Him. Thus, true joy is missing.
Note what it says in James 1:2-3.
2. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
3. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Unless we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, unless we have been
born again, we have no real joy. We experience happiness at times, but not
That's right; joy is everlasting, but happiness is just for a season, for it comes and goes.
Thus, without being born again and having that joy of the Lord, the trials in our lives produce only anger, frustration and annoyances.
Without joy, we have no assurance of the endurance that it brings with it and its result.
And what is that result?
Note James 1:4 –
4. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
When we become annoyed, we sure don't feel perfect and complete, do we?
We also feel that something is missing. That something is joy.
And when we have that joy, we also have that assurance that the Lord is with
Now if we look at James 1:5, we can see how our Old and New Testament lessons
for today tie together.
5. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Once we establish our personal relationship with the Lord, we will also learn to pray in faith, thus being able to receive and utilize the wisdom and knowledge of God.
We will also find that we are not as likely to fall into the Noid traps as we were previously accustomed to doing.
Why is this?
We are given the answer in our Proverbs verses for this morning, beginning at verse 9. Note specifically how God's wisdom and knowledge will help keep us protected.
9. Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
What this is saying is that our eyes will be opened to see as God sees.
10. For wisdom will enter your heart,
[And it will become soft.]
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
[For the fear of the world has left us and has been replaced with love, thus...]
11. Discretion will guard you,
Understanding will watch over you,
12. To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things;
13. From those who leave the paths of uprightness,
To walk in the ways of darkness;
14. Who delight in doing evil,
And rejoice in the perversity of evil;
15. Whose paths are crooked,
And who are devious in their ways;
[And so we will be protected from many other things and situations.]
20. So you will walk in the way of good men,
And keep to the paths of the righteous.
[We will be walking with God.]
21. For the upright will live in the land,
And the blameless will remain in it;
For our hearts will be united with the Lord's, to do all that He desires of us. For He is our rock and our fortress, and in Him we will trust.
There isn't anyone or anything in the world that can save us and set us free from the sin within us and the death it brings.
Our only hope of salvation is in our commitment to Jesus Christ, to make Him both Lord and Savior of our lives.
Don't reject this greatest gift of all time because you are angry with God, because you falsely believe that God is the One tempting you to do evil and thus He is to blame for the way you are, and all the evil in the world.
James 1:13-16 tells us the truth about this.
13. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.
14. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
15. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
16. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.
If you have stepped off of the Lord’s path and been walking by yourself in a wilderness, don't you think it's time to come back? The Lord has been waiting for you with open arms since the day you wandered off.
And if you have never experienced a walk with God and the change that occurs within you, then today is the day to come to Him.
Is the Lord speaking to your heart? Then respond to Him.
Don't let the Noids in your life tell you otherwise; for they lie.
The Lord would never tell you an untruth, for He is only truth and He loves you very much.