Do you long to be loved just for being you?
I mean apart from how you look or what you do or how much money you have. Do you long for people just to see you and know you and really love you? Well, I got news for you. That's true of all of us, but there's a danger.
We tend to look for love in all the wrong places. Today, we're going to learn how to avoid that pitfall. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this daily discipleship program motivating Christians to live like Christians. Thanks for joining us today as we continue our series, Spiritual Simplicity. I hope you've learned a lot so far from Chip's study and to help others learn as you have. Would you take a minute after this message and share it with someone?
You can do that either through the Chip Ingram app or by sending them the free MP3s you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Thanks for spreading the word about how this teaching is impacting you. Well, with that, here's Chip for today's message, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places. I think there's three things that are true of every person on this planet. Number one, we all fail. I'm just going to, I mean, even you, you know.
I mean, you can call it mess up, blow it, miss the mark. I mean, every single person every week fails. Number two, we all have legitimate desires and needs that are God-ordained that we pursue. I mean, legitimate desires to be significant, to be loved, to give love, to be secure, to have purpose that our lives would have an impact. We just have legitimate God-given desires and needs that God wants us to pursue. Third fact, in a fallen world, our failures are often an attempt to obtain good things in a bad way.
I want you, let that one sink in. Sometimes when we fail, we're covered with shame and sometimes we fail and we get down on ourselves or if you're like me, you try and at least blame someone else for a while instead of yourself. But what would happen if you could begin to see that some of the patterns in your life and some of the patterns in my life where you fail, where you mess up, where there's breakdown of relationships, where there's breakdown in your relationship with God, where you feel terrible and you know you've blown it. What if you begin to understand that you were really looking for something good that was a God-ordained need or desire, but you went about finding it in the wrong way, that would begin to give you some new light to deal with that failure. In this book written to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul outlines a number of ways that they did it and we do it as well.
I highlighted a few. We seek acceptance and belonging, that's a good thing, right? By forming clicks and criticizing and excluding others. And that causes division. That's a bad thing. That happened in chapter three. We seek connection and intimacy through illicit sex, pornography and emotional affairs that destroy marriages and ruin families. That happens today, that happened in chapter five.
We seek security and significance and destroy relationships by our greed. That happened to this group in chapter six. We seek to protect God's holiness, obviously a good thing, but by misguidedly judging others' motives and differences resulting in disunity and broken relationships. That's a bad thing.
That happened in chapter eight. We seek legitimate, Godly pleasures with no consideration for those who are weaker in faith and we allow our freedom to destroy their relationship with Christ. That's a bad thing.
But the legitimate pleasures, God, there's nothing wrong with those. It reminded me of an old song, so many times our gravest failures are attempts to look for love in all the wrong places. Looking for love in all the wrong places.
Is that how you like that twang? Looking for love in so many faces and looking for love. I'll never make this country singer. You listen to the lyrics of that song. In fact, Johnny Lee, the story of that song is very interesting. He said it described his life. His life was totally messed up, but his desire was for a good thing. He really wanted to be loved and be connected and have intimacy and life and purpose, but he went about it in ways that destroyed his relationship with himself.
He hurt other people and certainly violated more than a handful of God's commands. Here's what you need to understand. When you try to find good things in a bad way, you will hurt other people. You will hurt yourself and you'll miss God's best. And so we talked about how do we learn to really love in real time? Not a theory, not coming to church and you ought to love more, you ought to be more kind, but how specifically?
And so the apostle Paul right into a group, much like I think high capacity, high gifts, strategically located. And so what we learned is in situation number one, how does love respond to hurt? And in verse four it said love is patient, love is kind.
That was the truth. But then the practice was when you are hurt or wounded or rejected or ignored, love absorbs the blow, remember the pillow, and returns a hug. So let me ask you, did anybody, and I'm speaking mostly the person who's sitting in your seat, have an opportunity to be hurt, wounded, rejected?
Someone dissed you just a little and you said, ooh, I could diss them back or I could, you know what, I'm going to absorb the blow, I'm going to respond in a positive way. See as you begin to practice that, you know what that's called? That's biblical love. That's loving people the way Jesus loves people. The second situation is how do we respond to differences?
There's all kind of differences. Love doesn't envy, it doesn't boast, it's not rude, it's not self-seeking, it's not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. And so the practice is love celebrates differences. Remember the principle was love refuses to compare. It refuses to compare upward and feel envy, it refuses to compare downward and be arrogant.
When you begin to practice that, you eliminate envy, you eliminate arrogance, and you start loving people the way Jesus loves them. The third situation is today, and we're going to talk about how does love respond to failure? I mean, we agreed that we all fail, and that means that the people closest to you, whether it's a roommate or whether it's a wife or a husband or a son or a daughter or a mom or a dad or people at work or people in a small group or people in your neighborhood, they're going to fail.
You're going to get a lot of chance to respond to other people's failures. And as you listen to this, know that this is how we're to respond to other people's failures, to be loving, to maximize love. But in the back of your mind, I want you to remember this is exactly how God responds to your failure. Everything we're going to cover, this is how the heart of the living creator of the universe responds to your failure.
Because the more you can get it vertically, the more you'll begin to be able to give it horizontally. And so the truth is love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, it always trusts, it always hopes, it always perseveres. Summary, love never fails. And so the practice is love responds to failure with truth and grace.
Underline in your notes truth and underline the word grace. Love, real love, demands truth. Love and truth are inseparable.
If there is quote, you think you have love but there's no truth, it's just mushy sentimentalism. It's just gushy feelings. And we have come to believe because of media and all the books and all the romance novels, we think love is just this ooey, gooey feeling that we're connected. I mean we may be in complete denial but I feel good about you and you feel good about me and so we must be loving.
No, maybe you're just on drugs. You know, having a good feeling about another person when there's major issues that are unaddressed, when there's behaviors and addictions and issues that are bringing about fallout, when you're doing things to one another that's destroying long-term relationship, that's not love. Having a good feeling about someone is a nice thing. Biblical love demands truth. It says love doesn't rejoice or find joy or satisfaction in evil, things that are unrighteous, things that are wrong, things that are the opposite of the way God wants people to live but it delights in and finds great joy in the truth.
Love refuses to find joy in another's sin, misfortune or dysfunction or pain. I jotted a note to myself, we have a perverted attraction, a perverted attraction to the misfortune, addictions and problems of others. I don't know, I mean I guess it's just being fallen but we like to watch other people mess up. We like to hear about how badly they mess up.
We like to watch and listen and view people making fools of themselves and then laugh on our couches as they do it. It's called reality TV. I mean think of this, we all live in this house, she hates him, I heard you last night and then the camera comes. I tell you, I think she's a, and I don't think she ever do, I'm not going to kick out of this house, you know. I mean it's just like, it's not like stories of we would like to bring you an exciting story of a major star who has now done amazing things for the inner city children and those who are helping orphans in Africa.
I mean, for every one of those you get 100. Lindsay's in jail again, will she get out? Who knows? Did you see someone, I mean it's just a proliferation of evil and misfortune and addiction and pain and very subtly you're filling your mind with it and it is the culture and it is the absolute opposite of love. When I'm finding delight in things that violate what brings health and life and restoration, I'm setting myself up for dysfunctional, painful, negative relationships.
Love doesn't rejoice in evil. In fact, I mean think about, this is really fun, do you see that movie? Yeah, everybody got blown up, boom, boom, boom, bam, bam and did you see it?
It was in slow-mo, boom, boom, boom, the Teflon bullet. That was a great movie. Yeah, the sanctity of life and the value of human life is the highest thing. The scripture and the God who created life, the steams and we trivialize it with our thumbs, killing imaginary people over and over and over and over again until when real ones die, we get anesthetized to the impact. Love rejoices in the truth. Real love is a response, always has truth and grace. If it's all truth and no grace, it's a rigid legalistic self-righteousness. If it's all grace and no truth, it's just mushy sentimental emotionalism. And so after giving us sort of the overarching principle that love demands truth and rejoices in truth and not evil, then he's going to give us four specific ways to respond to the failures of one another. He's going to get four clear words that say, when someone you love that lives under your roof or is a close friend or you work with, when they fail because they will fail, this is how you respond if you love them.
Are you ready? He's going to talk to us about bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, and then he's go on and talk about how we endure all things. Bears all things. The word occurs four times in New Testament. Literally means you can jot in your notes to cover. It means to suffer or forbear. It's to protect by covering something, to cover something with silence.
It has the idea of keeping a confidence, to hide, listen, to hide or conceal the errors and faults of others. Now this doesn't mean you bury it. This doesn't mean you're in denial.
But here's the issue. We all long for someone to love me enough to cut to the core, to expose the fault, the weakness or the sin and help me deal with it and grow from it. And then after dealing with it in truth, provide grace and allow me to grow and help me take the next step and then they cover it. And they don't exploit me. And they don't pass it on.
And if you're married or you're a parent, you don't joke about it later. It's covered. It's gone.
It's not broadcast. You bear with them. You face it. You deal with it. You love them.
And then you cover it. Negatively when I delight in passing on the faults of another, when I seek to feel important because I have inside information or feel powerful or superior because someone else has sinned and I love to tell other people or just pass on little email that says, you know, did you, are you aware of often in the form of prayer request? Listen carefully. That is not loving.
Love bears all things. Jesus pictures this very clearly. Remember the woman caught in adultery? They're trying to trap Jesus. And the law talks about adultery.
You'd be stoned and it wasn't practiced very often. So they're thinking we're going to get him on the hotspot. So over here, we found this woman caught in the very act and they drag her out of the house and they plop her right in front of Jesus.
Okay, what are you going to do with that? We caught her in the very act of adultery. And Jesus, as they're talking, he goes over and starts to kind of write in the dirt. And you know, the text doesn't say what he writes, but I think now this is the Chip Ingram theory, not to be confused at all with fact. I think he wrote in the sand, where is the man? Question mark. See if you were really concerned about the law, if you were concerned about righteousness, you wouldn't have brought one person caught in adultery.
Last time I heard sex usually takes two. So where are both of them? And by doing that, he exposed their hypocrisy. And so then he says, whoever has never sinned, tell you what, you pick up the stones and you start. And the older people wiser realize they've been exposed and they leave and one by one, everyone leaves.
And here's a woman. He says, does no one condemn you? No, Lord, neither do I. Go and sin no more. Did he act like it wasn't an issue? Did he say the sin wasn't important?
The sin was dealt with and then he covered it. Who in your relational world needs you to help them deal with a failure and then cover it? Who needs to not hear ever again in your family jokes or sarcasm or little innuendos about a fault that occurs on a regular basis and instead, I love you, I'm with you, let's deal with this and then I'm going to cover it.
I don't talk about it to my friends, I won't bring it up to you, I'm going to cover it. That's how you respond in love to people's failures. The second way you respond is believing all things. The word believes, New Testament is 239 times. It has the idea to believe or to entrust, to commit. Here it has the idea of to credit or have confidence in another person. It's not naive, it's not that you believe or you're gullible and whatever someone says, oh, I believe, you know, whatever you say. I mean, you lied 44 times, but I believe anyway.
No, no, no, no. This is a belief that is discerning, insightful, but it's not suspicious and judgmental and it doesn't assume the worst. The picture for me that what this means is when you hear something about someone or you observe a circumstance and maybe the circumstances kind of look a little negative, but you don't know for sure, you believe or assume the best. You in your mind make a willful choice and you see the circumstance or you hear this about a person and you say, that sure doesn't seem to be the kind of person I know, but someone said he or she did this or he or she was with someone or he.
Then what you do is you step back and love says, I'm going to create in my mind's eye the best explanation for this that puts this person in a positive light because I don't know all the issues. I was in a pretty important meeting and a person was supposed to be there that works with me and so everyone was around the table and the agenda was starting and someone said, we're so and so. I said, well, I don't know. Well, is he supposed to be here? Well, yeah.
And you know, so you know where your mind can go. Well, gosh, I mean, is he blowing off this meeting? Is he late?
Did he, you know, all the, and I remember just having this passage in my mind and I remember just willfully going, you know what, what the character of this man I know is he had a flat tire. Maybe his wife is sick. Maybe one of his kids have an issue.
Maybe God showed him something that is way more important than this meeting and he's doing that and obeying God instead of being here. You see it? You see it? You create a scenario that puts them in the best light and what happens, especially if you're a parent or if you've got a roommate, once they do this once and they do it twice and they do it three times, when they do anything near that, what do you start believing? You'll never change. She's doing the same old thing.
Oh man, I can't believe it. Instead of, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a second. Don't assume the worst. Love believes the best and then you check it out and you deal with it. The practice is every one needs someone who will believe in them. Everyone needs someone who says, you know, that fault, that sin, that weakness, that circumstance, it can't define you. You're a God's child. You're valued, you're loved, you're gifted and I believe, okay, you really messed up.
All right, we understand that, but I believe in you. Snapshot from Jesus life. It's in the hot part of the day. It's the part when everyone's taking a little siesta. The righteous women have come out early in the cool of the day, but it's John chapter four and here's a woman in the hot part of the day getting water and it's because she's an immoral woman and she's rejected by society and she's been looking for love in all the wrong places and Jesus is there and he asked for a drink and she can't believe that a Jew would ask a woman or a Jew would ask someone from her Samaritan background and they get into this conversation and so Jesus, loving people always says truth and grace and so he says, so where's your husband? And she goes, well, I don't have a husband, which was honest because she's living with this guy and she's had five husbands and Jesus informs her that he knows that and she goes, well, you must be a prophet and they get into this conversation about life and the meaning and how do you satisfy your soul?
She was desperately trying to satisfy her soul and man after man after man and illicit sex wasn't delivering and Jesus knew that she was trying to get a good thing in a bad way and he wanted to give her life and so he talked about a heavenly father that pursues people, even immoral people, even failure people, even people that have done really big and bad things over a long period of time and she discovers someone cares and believes in her and here's a woman that didn't want to be seen and she ends up going back into the town saying, hey, someone who knows everything about me, I think he's the Messiah and she leads an entire town and hundreds of people come to Christ because someone believed that her past could not mark her future forever. Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places from his series Spiritual Simplicity, Doing Less, Loving More. Have you ever felt like there's never enough time in the day for yourself, the people you love, even God?
If so, then don't miss this series. Chip's going to challenge the unrealistic standards and norms we all feel pressured by. Join us as we learn how to break free from this demanding cycle and uncover the simpler, more fulfilling life God has for us. To get more plugged in with this series, Spiritual Simplicity, visit livingontheedge.org.
That's livingontheedge.org. Well, I'm joined now by our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram. Chip, here at Living on the Edge, we believe small groups are absolutely vital. They have real power. I mean, they don't just change lives. They help all of us grow spiritually, too. But I'm sure there are some out there who are looking at all of our small group resources and aren't sure which one to choose or where to begin. What advice do you have for them?
Well, Dave, we all have special times in our life where there's either crisis or we know we need to improve our parenting or marriage or there's some emotional issues. And as people go through, there's plenty of small group resources like that. But what I think is missing is what historically has been called a catechism. A catechism is a well ordered process of truth by which you go through it systematically and intentionally in order to become more and more like Jesus and to fulfill more and more what Jesus has called us to do. And so if you follow Jesus' life, his actual chronological life, then the first thing is he defined what a disciple is. And so the very first study I encourage people to do is true spirituality, becoming a Romans 12 Christian. It'll let them know this is what it means to be a follower of Jesus. The second thing Jesus did is he took them through various experiences to reveal who God was like.
What is God really like? And so our second study is called The Real God. And in that, we studied the attributes of God and how to get them from your head into your heart. The third thing that Jesus did is he helped them understand how does life change really occur? How do you put it into practice?
We have a study from Ephesians chapter 4 called Transformed, The Miracle of Life Change. And then the fourth one I'll give you because I don't want to lay it all out is that when you take these kind of steps, all hell breaks loose. I don't mean that as a cuss word. What I mean is it's challenging. It's difficult. There's spiritual warfare. And that's our study from Ephesians chapter 6. It's called The Invisible War, what every believer needs to know about Satan, demons, and spiritual warfare.
So let me encourage you, unless there's a critical need, a high felt need, consider studying in order the catechism the way Jesus taught his disciples. Thanks Chip. Well, to learn more about the studies Chip just mentioned or any of our other small groups, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003. And for a limited time, all of our small group resources are discounted. So visit LivingOnTheEdge.org or call 888-333-6003 to learn more.
App listeners, tap special offers. Now with a few final words, here again is Chip. As we close today's program, let's talk about those final two points. You know, Paul says, inspired by the Holy Spirit, love bears all things and it believes all things. And to bear all things, literally we said, it means to cover, not to bury, not to deny, not to enable, but it means you really cover it. Love covers a multitude of sins. And I think what gets difficult here is when am I covering and saying I forgive, I'm not going to hold this against a person, I'm going to really release them from maybe the pain or the wound that they've inflicted on me or someone else. And when is it just sort of this pseudo-mercy where you don't really want to deal with it and so you keep enabling and enabling and enabling and you don't confront. And I just want to make sure as we talk about covering or this bearing the burden that covers sin that it's not enabling, it's not just denying that it's really there and pretending. And so I want you to think right now is who is someone who's blown it? That God is speaking to you about covering it and part of covering it is you don't share it with someone else.
You know the opposite of covering is exposing. And so often when we've been hurt there's a side conversation or we share the experience and we always share the experience or we tend to like we're the victim and they're the bad person and they did all these things and we're sort of asking will you help me because I'm struggling. But we phrase it and say it often in ways that really puts the other person in a bad light.
And there's such disunity in the body of Christ and there's so many small groups and ministries and churches where it's just a lack of love. And love bears all things. I think the second part ties into it believing all things means that you don't judge their motives. And so you know when someone has hurt you or you have an opinion you've created about someone it is so easy to think that you know why they did what they did. And I just want to remind you today that what did we learn? What would be the best possible solution that you could make up in your mind for someone's behavior that wouldn't judge their motives? So love bears all things.
It believes all things. That is a powerful powerful way to help the people that you love. Great reminder Chip thanks. As we wrap up this program just a quick but important thought Living on the Edge depends on listeners just like you to help us continue to encourage Christians to live like Christians. So would you consider partnering with us on a monthly basis so others can benefit from the ministry of Living on the Edge? Now you can set up a recurring donation by going to livingontheedge.org or via the Chip Ingram app or text the word donate to 74141. It's so easy text the word donate to 74141. Thanks for whatever the Lord leads you to do. From all of us here I'm Dave Druey thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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