Trading Chairs, Trading Lives
June 27, 2019
Over the last ten days, since I preached on the musical chairs we tend to occupy in life, I have had this conversation quite a few times. “Dwight, I want to go from chair two to chair one. What is the next step for me?”
My response is probably not as simple as some would like. The chairs are not just “chairs.” The life in the first chair and the life in the second chair are two completely different lives. Your focus, your commitment, your passion are all different. There are a couple of foolproof signs of which chair you are occupying. The best thing I know to do is to look at the characteristics of the ones sitting in the first chair and see how well you mirror them.
The surest and clearest way to make sure you are sitting in chair one is to look at your giving. Jesus Himself said, “Where your treasure is, there is your heart.” If you want to live in the first chair, you must commit to generous giving. First-chair people are also known for their generosity of spirit, which is played out into generosity with all their resources.
Secondly, if you want to be a first-chair person, look at your calendar. How do you spend your time? Who figures largest in what you do with your day? Is it purposeful? Do you spend your self on people? On the causes that matter to Jesus? Or are you all wrapped up in accomplishing just for you?
Thirdly, if you want to solidly sit in the first chair, surrender completely and submit yourself to Christ. This is not saying you aren’t saved. This is saying, “Jesus, no one and nothing can ever afford to be more important to me than you and Your ways. Over time I have grown cold in my passion and commitment, and I am unsatisfied with myself in not doing what You have created me to do. Forgive me, and help me live a full, generous, passionate, obedient life.” It is saying to Jesus: “The answer is YES! What’s the question?”
Truth is, this will be challenging, because if you are sitting in the second chair, you have said “NO” to God many, many times. He has not been silent. He has not left you in the dark. The only way to get into the first chair is to consider where you are and repent. Repent is a significant word. It means to change your direction, your thinking, your behavior. It’s not a halfway word. It means you truly DO something different.
You see, you’re not the only one who has lost out by sitting in the second chair, the kingdom has lost. You haven’t fulfilled your purpose; the significant reason God has put you here. You have not been fully devoted to Christ. You have been a casual Christian . . . the kind of following that is unworthy of the sacrifice of Christ, and unattractive and not compelling for others to follow. This demands repentance and surrender to God’s claim on your allegiance and passion.
Here’s a hard truth. The truth is that most of NewPointe is in the second chair. Most of the church in the United States is in the second chair, and we are fast losing our families and any significant influence in the world. To understand this is to experience a breakthrough.
Now the question is, “Will you do what Christ is asking you to do?” Will you repent for the waste of your years? Will your surrender to Him from your whole heart and commit to never go back to the second chair?
You already know what life is like in the second chair. Why not try the amazing life in the first chair? This is where . . .
• God will hear your prayers.
• You will have a hunger for God’s truth.
• The Bible will become real and understandable.
• You will experience peace, power, purpose.
• You will sin less.
• You will experience new joy.
• You will find yourself with renewed energy.
• Your schedule will change, and your priorities will be different.
• Your relationships will be deeper.
• Your goals will shift from simple and fleeting success to lasting significance.
What a way to live!
But it is your choice. Your spouse, your parents, your friends, your pastor can all WANT it for you, but they can’t get it or choose it for you.
You must make the decision.
That’s how you move to the first chair.