First, my friend Steve May wrote about the famous Yogi Berra. He said, “Recently we said to good-bye to Yogi Berra. He passed away on September 22, at the age of 90 — 69 years to the day of his Major League Baseball debut.
He will always be remembered as a great player, a great manager, and a great man.
And, of course, he’ll be remembered for his many “yogi-isms” — those sayings of his that didn’t always seem to add up.
Some of his best:
“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
“You can observe a lot by watching.”
Once, when sitting down to a meal, he said, “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
Another time he gave this sage advice, “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”
Some of the things that Yogi said didn’t make perfect sense, but his most famous saying nails it.
“It ain’t over till it’s over.”
It’s a mistake we all make — thinking that the way things are today is the way they’ll always be.
We say: Business will always be this good, or this bad. This relationship will always be this easy, or this hard. My future will always seem this bright, or this dark.
The fact is that very few things will always be the way they are now. Life has an ebb and flow; the tide comes in and the tide goes out. It’s our challenge to remember, when the tide is out, that it is certainly coming back.
The Apostle Peter reminded us of this …
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:10)
Yogi was right. No matter how things look today, it ain’t over yet. And before it’s over, the God of all grace will restore you and make you strong.
Words to remember. And to live by.
Secondly, I have been asked by many to talk about the seven main areas God wants to “purge,” from our souls.
Here is a list by John of the Cross, the 15th century monk, on the seven things that the wall addresses:
And the words are a little bit different than he used but I’ll give you his definitions which are quite interesting. God’s purging out, first is “pride.” Pride for him is if you have this tendency to be judgmental and you have attitude towards people, God’s coming after you basically to root that out. And, if you look for the approval of people, we call that pride. If you make some spiritual progress, it can make you proud. And God’s coming after that. So it’s all under pride for him. That’s just number one.
Number two, he called “greed,” but he wasn’t referring to money at this point. For him, greed was being discontent with where you are in your journey. You’re basically always comparing yourself with other people. Asking, “Why am I going through a wall? They’re getting blessed over there.” You don’t like the fact of God is trying to teach you about being poor in spirit. You don’t want to be poor in spirit. You want new teachings, new insights, new revelations. And he calls that “greed.”
Three, he called “luxury.” And for him luxury was basically using God for your own pleasure. He’s basically saying, you lived your life before you came to Christ for your own pleasures, and now you come to Christ and you’re using God for your own pleasure. You are basically more about the pleasures and good feelings of God than about God himself. God has to purge that out of you. You must learn to love God for God, not for the feelings he gives you about God. That’s idolatry. And so the only way God is going to pull that out of you is to bring you through dark nights.
He called “wrath” was his fourth rooting out. And basically, his wrath was not what we think about wrath. For him, it’s basically a lack of patience to wait on God. It’s being easily irritated. We make resolutions. We’re going to change, but we don’t.
Spiritually gluttony for him was number five. Don’t worry, there are only seven! Gluttony, for him, was that you love the Christian life. As long as it doesn’t involve the cross or crucifixion, you love it. And, you like pleasures of spirituality, but not death.
And then sixth, he called “spiritual envy” where you are unhappy when others do well. You look at them and say why are they doing so well over there and I am struggling over here? And you compare yourself.
And then finally the “root of sloth,” which for him is when you run from the things in the Christian life that are hard and you look for the easy way out. He called it “laziness.”
And basically his argument was that God is bringing you through a dark night, so that you lose your love for things of the world. You can enjoy the world, but you don’t love it. You love him. And he says the only way you’re going to come to that place is if God purges you.