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Upside-Down Living | The Lord's Plan for Fulfillment

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 3, 2022 3:00 am

Upside-Down Living | The Lord's Plan for Fulfillment

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 3, 2022 3:00 am

The world tells us to “look out for number one.” “Every man for himself.” Or to quote Polonius in Hamlet, “Above all, to thine own self be true.” As a result, the world is full of lonely, unfulfilled souls looking for something they never seem to find. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the Lord’s plan for fulfillment. It doesn’t come from focusing on our own needs, it comes from focusing on what we can do for others. Good encouragement today to elevate our way of living.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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We're glad you're joining us for a new beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast supported by Harvest Partners. Get more encouraging audio content when you subscribe to Pastor Greg's Daily Devos.

Learn more and sign up at harvest.org. It says, be superior, promote yourself. Jesus Christ says, be unselfish, humble yourself. The world tells us to look out for number one, every man for himself, or to quote Polonius in Hamlet, above all, to thine own self be true. As a result, the world is full of lonely, unfulfilled souls looking for something they never seem to find. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out the Lord's plan for fulfillment.

It doesn't come from focusing on our own needs. It comes from focusing on what we can do for others. Good encouragement today to elevate our way of living. Alright everybody, let's grab our Bibles. We're in our happiness series and we're in Philippians chapter two.

Again, that's Philippians chapter two and the title of my message is upside down living. Let me start with a question. When someone has a photo that they shot, a group shot, and you happen to be in the photo, and they show it to you, who do you look for first?

Now be honest, don't lie, you're in church. Who do you look for first? Well in most cases, you look for yourself, right?

That's just the way we're sort of wired. I mean, what is the most popular kind of photography today? Well, of course, is the selfie. Everybody's taking selfies everywhere. I have people come up to me on occasion and they'll say, can I take a selfie with you?

And I'll usually say yes. These are usually complete strangers and they come up to me and then they like, because I have to be in the shot with them, they grab me, put their face up next to my face. They're holding, you know, their phone out like this.

Okay, wait, wait, I almost have it and I'm like pressed up against a complete stranger saying, make this end quickly. But selfies are so popular right now. In fact, some people, you've probably heard about this, are literally dying to take selfies. Did you know that in the last few months, 73 deaths were directly linked to people taking selfies in dangerous places like on the train track, why do people take selfies on a train track, and also in very high places? But really, this sort of sums up something.

And what is it? Well, we're living in what one might call a selfie culture, or to put it in another way, we're living in a selfish culture. So why do I bring all of this up?

Well, we're looking at the book of Philippians together. And as I pointed out earlier, the theme of this book is happiness. Now if you're going to go to the culture and say, how can I be a happy person? The answer would, in so many words, be a selfish person. Focus on yourself. Love yourself.

Think about yourself. Esteem yourself. It's all about self.

And the Bible gives a different answer. The Bible, in effect, to loosely paraphrase, tells us if we want to be happy, we should not be selfish. But rather it tells us if we want to be happy, we need to be selfless. And that certainly bubbles up here in Philippians chapter 2. Jesus said, it is more blessed or happy to give than it is to receive. We think, no, it's more happy to get stuff than it is to give stuff. No, the opposite is the case according to Jesus. And the rest of the Bible, true fulfillment does not come by putting our needs first, but it comes by putting the needs of others first. And that's why I've called this message, Upside Down Living, because that flies in the face of conventional wisdom today. So it's about others. Putting others first.

But this isn't so easy, is it? Because, well, there are people that just irritate us. Or we don't like to be around them. And sometimes that's our husband. Or our wife. Or our parents. Or our kids. Or coworkers. Or people who are around a lot. And we say, these people are so irritating.

News flash. Did it ever occur to you that you are an irritating person to someone else? I guarantee. It's true.

I'm sure I'm an irritating person to quite a few people. And so that's something we need to understand. That, you know, there are people that we're not going to necessarily be drawn to, but at the same time we are to love them, especially if they're in the church, because we are all part of the family of God. So here's what the apostle Paul is saying here in Philippians. He's saying, you need a new paradigm.

You need a new way of thinking. And here it is. Let's read about it. Philippians chapter 2. Starting in verse 1. Paul writes, Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy that you be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than themselves. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but for the interests of others. We'll stop there. Here are the words of Paul from a modern translation.

Same verses. Don't push your way to the front. Don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Are you kidding me? If you live this way, it'll change everything about your life. You see, because the culture does not say this. And if we go back historically, this is not what we learned from even civilizations.

I mean, if you look at all the great kingdoms of the world that have come and gone, everything is always about self. Greece effectively said, be wise, know yourself. Rome said, be strong, discipline yourself.

Epicureanism, which is the pursuit of pleasure, says, be sensuous, enjoy yourself. Education says, be resourceful, educate yourself. Psychology says, be confident, assert yourself. Materialism says, be possessive, please yourself.

Humanism says, be capable, believe in yourself. Pride says, be superior, promote yourself. Jesus Christ says, be unselfish, humble yourself. Humble myself?

That seems like a recipe for disaster in the world today. In fact, when we think of humility and meekness, we don't think of those as virtues. We think of those as deficiencies. But yet, did not Jesus say, blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth? And Christ said of himself, I am meek and lowly in heart, so come unto me. But you need to understand there's a big difference between weakness and meekness. Let's say that somebody hits you in the face and you don't hit them back. And the reason you don't hit them back is because you're weak and you're afraid.

But let's say that you're trained in mixed martial arts and you're quite a street fighter and someone hits you in the face and you don't hit them back. That's not weakness, that's meekness. See, meekness is power under constraint. When someone gets on the back of a stallion and rides it at full speed and then pulls back on the reins and the horse stops, that horse is being meek. It's submitting itself to the will of the rider.

It has the strength to go on, but it submits. So when I'm being meek, it doesn't mean I'm weak. It means that I'm submitting myself to God. And that is how I am to live as a believer. God is saying you want real happiness and genuine success, then put Jesus first and others second.

In fact, there's a simple acronym you can use to sum it up. J-O-Y. J is for Jesus, O is for others, Y is for yourself. You want to live a happy life? You want to live a joyful life? Jesus, others, yourself.

Here it is simplified. Following Jesus and loving others. Following Jesus and loving others. What did Jesus say?

He said if you love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, and your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself, you fulfill all of the commandments. See, it's just so simple if we would focus on that. But a lot of times we're not focusing on that. We're not putting Jesus first.

We're putting ourself first, and as a result we find ourselves depressed. In a moment, Pastor Greg gets very practical and gives us some steps to keep from falling into the blues. Stay with us.

Whenever you send us a letter, an email, or post a comment on social media, we read every word. Pastor Greg, I've been encouraged by your teachings, your podcasts, Sunday services, online studies, and everything else I can get my hands on. I now have a peace that can only come from God. I found a great church home for myself and have been attending faithfully for the past six weeks.

Today, I even signed up to be part of a small group. And while I love all the things I've been learning, what has truly blessed me is seeing God change my heart. I've never shed so many tears of joy over things I see God doing.

All around me. And your ministry and teachings have been a big part of that. I'm so thankful and want to wish you God's richest blessings.

How have these daily studies ministered to you and your family? Would you let us know? Tell us your story by calling 1-866-871-1144.

Again, 866-871-1144. Well, Pastor Greg is offering a message from his happiness series today called Upside Down Living. Let's continue now. Listen, if you find yourself down on the doldrums as a Christian, if you find yourself depressed, I have a ten-step solution to depression. So if you're taking notes, write this down. Ten steps to get rid of your depression.

Are you ready? Step number one. Do something for someone who has greater needs than you. Do something for someone who has greater needs than you. Go to a convalescent home and visit someone who's staying there. Go to Skid Row on one of our missions and reach out to people that are literally living on the street. Go to someone with a need.

Go to someone who has a greater need than you. That's step number one. Okay, here's step number two.

Repeat step number one nine more times. Now listen, I'm not dismissing clinical depression. I know that can be very real. But I'm just talking about that general kind of depression we can find ourselves in that frankly is sometimes a result of just being selfish. And instead of being selfish, try being selfless. In other words, stop thinking so much about yourself. Alright, so let's identify some key points here from Philippians chapter two.

If you're taking notes, write this down. Never let selfishness or conceit be your motive. Again, never let selfishness or conceit be your motive.

Look at verse three. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit. As the New Living Translation puts it, don't be selfish.

Don't live to make a good impression on others. So first I start with self. And it's interesting, before anything else is said, Paul sort of drills down on this because the love of self is probably at the root of maybe all of my problems. But if not all, certainly most of them because we want our own way.

James puts it this way in James 4, one to two. Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way and you fight for it deep inside yourselves.

You want your own way. And by the way, this goes way, way back to our earliest days as a kid. My granddaughter Stella was a very little girl. I remember I took her to a toy store once and they had a little dollhouse set up on a small table, a load of the ground that the kids could access. So, you know, the house had little bits of furniture and dolls and such.

And she went over and started organizing it and putting the little figures in the chairs. I thought, it's so cute. Girls are so, you know, they love to do things like that. And I'm just watching in amazement. And I'm thinking this thought to myself, girls are so good.

They're just so good. Look at her with the little dollhouse. And suddenly a man comes walking in with a little boy about the age of Stella.

And I'm not making this up. This boy was on a leash. He had some kind of a harness around the boy. And this boy is lunging at the dollhouse.

He wants to destroy it. And the man is pulling on the leash. And I'm thinking, pull that leash harder. And I just thought to myself, you know what?

Boys are bad and girls are good. Well, a couple days later we were with Stella and her parents and some folks came over and they had their little child with them. Actually it was more of a little toddler baby. So a little younger than Stella.

And the little baby reached up on a little table to grab some toy and Stella took the baby's hand and pushed it away. I thought, oh no. Girls are bad too. Yeah, we're all bad. We're bad to the bone. We're sinners and we're selfish.

I mean, think of all the problems we have in our culture today. Think of immorality as an example. Why do people have sex before marriage? Selfishness. Why do they commit adultery? Again, selfishness.

Why do most marriages fall apart? If I had to pick one word to sum it up, selfishness. Oh yeah, we could talk about communication breakdown and we could talk about financial disagreements but really, if you get to the bottom line, it's selfishness.

I want that person to do what I want them to do. We won't put that person first. We want to put ourself first. Talking about immorality, look at all the unwanted pregnancies today. And what do so many do? They go and get an abortion.

What's more selfish than that? Since the passing of Roe v. Wade in the early 70s, listen to this, 58 million babies have been aborted. Let me put it more clearly. 58 million unborn children have been murdered in the womb and to me, this is a travesty.

Why? Well, the baby's a burden or an inconvenience to the mother. They say, what about when the mother's life is in danger? Yeah, but now they've become so liberal in the interpretation of that, if the mother even says, well, I just felt a lot of stress from the baby. Oh, and then you're in some kind of danger so we'll just go ahead and abort it. By the way, more than 40% of women admit to having an abortion before so a lot of these women that are getting these abortions have done it before.

And the sad thing is, is not only is this permitted in our culture today but it's even encouraged. I don't know why but I had an issue of Teen Vogue sent to my house the other day. It's probably because I stopped paying my subscription. No, really, I'd never have signed up for Teen Vogue but it shows up at our house. So I'm flipping through this little magazine designed for teenagers and one headline caught my eye and the headline said, what to get a friend post-abortion. I'm thinking, what?

What kind of a magazine is this? And so this is basically an article about what to do if one of your teenage friends has gotten an abortion. They suggest that you watch the comedy All I Wanna Do, get the person a girl power hat to deal with the post-abortion physical discomfort and emotional woes.

The Teen Vogue offered this counsel, she should not have to feel ashamed because she made the right choice for her situation and if she's not ready to carry a pregnancy to term and that's okay, Teen Vogue counsels. And then the article argues she will need a ride and she will need a hug and she will need you not because the act itself is so terrible but because the world can be, end quote, mad. To quote the British, that's just rubbish. Are you kidding me?

You know what, here's the reality. Going back to a verse I quoted, James 4. Let your tears for the wrong things you've done be shed. Let there be sorrow and deep grief.

Let there be sadness instead of laughter. You should feel bad and if you've ever committed this sin, ask God to forgive you and if you know a girl who is pregnant, by all means encourage her to carry the baby to term. She does not wanna raise the baby as her own.

There are many families standing in line more than willing to adopt that child but it's selfishness, selfishness. It is at the root of so many problems where it's all about me. Pastor Greg Laurie pointing out how the pathway to happiness is not paved with selfishness but selflessness. Good insight and there's more to come as this study continues here on A New Beginning including an additional comment from Pastor Greg before we go for the day. Well, we hope you're enjoying this series called Happiness. If you are, drop Pastor Greg an email at greg-harvest.org.

And then let me take just a moment and read something. A listener recently wrote us and said, hello Pastor Greg, I'm 16 years old from the United Kingdom. I've been enjoying listening to A New Beginning for the past seven years. I'm so thankful that all your messages revolve around salvation which I love as Christianity is all about the cross. You've been a blessing to my friends and family. Well, you know, as you're joining us each day there are thousands and thousands listening right along with you. Some may be right there in your neighborhood or in a faraway country. Some might be right across the street.

Some may be across an ocean. But the Word of God is relevant to everyone everywhere and we hope you'll recognize how God is using these studies to touch lives. Would you pray for us that God prepares the hearts of those who listen? And would you also partner with us so we can continue to reach out? And Pastor Greg, we have some big plans for a major ministry this year, don't we?

Yeah, you know that's true, Dave. And whatever you send to us here at A New Beginning we'll take those resources, that money, and channel it into continuing this ministry and even expanding this ministry around the nation and the world. Yeah, and we want to thank you for your donation right now.

Get all the details about that at our website, harvest.org. Or write to us at A New Beginning, Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514. Or contact us by phone by dialing 1-800-821-3300. We can take your call anytime around the clock. Again, that's 1-800-821-3300. Ever start your day off wrong?

You know, things started badly and just kept going downhill. A lot of it has to do with your focus, where your mind is centered as the day starts. Why not plug into Pastor Greg's daily devotions?

They're free of charge. It's good encouragement to keep your eyes fixed on Christ. You can read each day's devotion or listen to the audio version, your choice.

Sign up today free of charge at harvest.org. You know, sometimes we can't always make it to church, but here's the good news. Church is coming to you.

It's coming to you on your TV screen or on your tablet or your computer or even your phone. We do it every weekend, and it's called Harvest at Home. We have worship. We have a message from the Word of God. If you want to find out more, just go to harvest.org.

And join us this weekend for Harvest at Home. Well, next time, we'll see that following the world's prescription for happiness leads to the opposite. More insight from Pastor Greg's Happiness series. But before we go, he uses today's study called Upside Down Living this way. Proverbs 11, 25 says, those that refresh others will be refreshed themselves.

As you give out, God will give back to you. Even actress Angelina Jolie figured this out. She made these statements in an interview, and I quote, I went through a depression when I was first famous because, she says, what was I famous for? I didn't do anything great, and I didn't discover anything wonderful. But then she writes, but when I'm in a refugee camp, my spirit feels better there than anywhere else in the world because I'm surrounded by such truth and family, and I feel connected to just being a human being because I'm willing to spend a day in the dirt.

Maybe it was important for me to know that, and that's better than having an Oscar, end quote. Wow, very insightful, and very true. This is the day, the day when life begins. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app, and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-28 01:24:07 / 2023-05-28 01:33:38 / 10

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