Sermon: Addition by Subtraction
Scripture: Judges 6-7
ICE BREAKER: Would you rather sneeze nonstop for 15 minutes once every day or sneeze once every three minutes of the day while you’re awake?
This week we learned about the life of Gideon, one of the Heroic members of the Hall of Fame in Hebrews 11. Gideon led Israel to one of the greatest military triumphs in Israel's history. The midianites were a far superior fighting force and had already taken Israel captive. However, through Gideon's faith, and God's leadership, the people took back their freedom in a stunning show of power! However, while this is a story that ADDs to the resume of Israel, it was not possible without significant SUBTRACTION first!
Gideon was not a brave, courageous leader when we first meet him. In fact, he was actually much more of a WORRIER than any kind of WARRIOR! Gideon was hiding, fearful of Midian and unable to muster the bravery to show his face. Then, something peculiar happened - and angel of the Lord appeared and greeted Gideon by calling him a VALIANT WARRIOR!
Did this angel get the wrong address? Did they think they were talking to someone else?
This greeting teaches us the first critical lesson of Addition by Subtraction:
You Have to Get Your MIND Right!
We all struggle with false narratives about ourselves. The real danger is that these scripts in our minds play themselves out in our real life! Gideon was convinced that he was afraid and powerless. Look at what Gideon says in verse 15:
He said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Look, my family is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s family.”
Too young, too inexperienced, not mature enough, too weak.... Gideon's false narratives come spilling out without a second thought! If we are going to experience the Heroic Life, we must subtract these false narratives from our mind!
What is a false narrative that you have struggled with?
Where do you think this belief came from?
God directly contradicted what Gideon thought of himself - and what God says about you is INFINITELY more true than what you might think about yourself! When we subtract the lies, we make room for God to add the powerful truth of who he created us to be!
Next, God instructed Gideon to go to his father's house and tear down the false, pagan idols on their property. Gideon went at night, knowing that Israel was in such a state of rebellion that they would kill him if they saw him mess with these false gods. Not only did God have him tear these statues down, Gideon was then instructed to use the remains to build an alter and make a sacrifice to God. YES, God is asserting HIS dominance! He was also teaching Gideon his second lesson:
You Have to Get Your House in Order!
We live in a culture where everyone wants to change the world, but few people will make needed changes in their own personal lives. Before you can be a Hero for the world, you have to start by being a Hero in your own home!
Gideon and his family worshipped idols. We worship idols as well! This is the part where you will be inclined to let yourself off the hook... DON'T! An idol is anything that takes the place, priority, and worship of God from your life. We may not have a statue of Baal in our front yard, but the idols in our homes are more subtle - and possibly more dangerous! We know longer have to build a figment of stones or wood, we put our idols in our pockets.
What is something you feel you can't live without?
What are some things (and we all have them) that we often prioritize higher than our walk with God?
Once Gideon had his mind right and his house in order, it was time to go to battle! God put him in charge of 32,000 men. In Gideon's eyes - a strong fighting force. In God's eyes - too many men! It was time for more Addition by Subtraction. God first cut 22,000 soldiers who were afraid. Next he cut an additional 9,700 because they were worshippers of idols.
Gideon's once mighty force was now a very small circle. God was reinforcing the key lesson - He can do more with a faithful few than we can do with all the weapons of this world. By Subtracting the wrong people, God was able to ADD his power in miraculous ways. This is the last lesson:
You Have to Get Your Circle Straight!
Who is in your social circle? Who is in your circle of influence? We are in a spiritual war, and it matters who you go into battle with!
Which of these three areas do you need the most subtraction?
-Your Circle of Influence?
This week, what is ONE WAY you will Subtract things that don't belong in your life to make room for the Additions that God wants to bring?
Ask God show you clearly the things that don't belong in your life. Get a plan together and bring accountability from your faith family to help you take steps to follow through! Seek the Holy Spirit for wisdom and courage. Acknowledge your trust that Jesus will fill in your gaps with exactly what you need!