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Upside-Down Living | Where Happiness Is Found

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 4, 2022 3:00 am

Upside-Down Living | Where Happiness Is Found

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 4, 2022 3:00 am

Celebrity marriages are twice as likely to end in divorce. The reason? Research shows the stars experience more pain and suffering than the rest of us. So you have people who are wealthy, famous, attractive, powerful – everything the world says is supposed to make one happy – and they’re miserable. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out why. When we look to the world’s prescription for happiness, we get just the opposite. We’ll instead look to God’s Word.

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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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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. If we want to be happy, we should not be selfish. We need to be selfless. It's upside-down living.

Pastor Greg Laurie says the Lord wants us to live a life that's humble and sympathetic and sacrificial toward others. That's where happiness is found. It seems like, no, think about yourself.

Make the world revolve around yourself. That leads to unhappiness and misery and depression. But when you put others first and you think about them, the fringe benefit is happiness. Celebrity marriages are twice as likely to end in divorce.

The reason? Research shows the stars experience more pain and suffering than the rest of us. So you have people who are wealthy, famous, attractive, powerful. Everything the world says is supposed to make one happy, and they're miserable. Well, today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out why. When we look to the world's prescription for happiness, we get just the opposite. We'll instead look to God's Word.

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. And we think, no, it's more happy to get stuff than it is to give stuff. No, the opposite is the case, 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 have called this message Upside Down Living because that flies in the face of conventional wisdom today. You have probably heard of Stephen King. Very successful author.

I don't know if you are aware of this, but he had a serious automobile accident a number of years ago. So he wrote an article about it. And the title of the article was What You Can Pass On. And this is what he says in the article.

And I am quoting. A couple of years ago I found out what you can't take it with you means. I found out why I was lying in a ditch at the side of a country road covered in mud and blood with the tibia of my right leg pointing out the side of my jeans like a branch of a tree taken down in a thunderstorm. I had a MasterCard in my wallet. But when you are lying in a ditch with broken glass in your hair no one accepts MasterCard.

King continues, I got a painful but extremely valuable look at life's backstage truths. We come in naked and broke. We may be dressed when we go out but we are just as broke. Warren Buffett. He is going to go out broke. Bill Gates. Going out broke. Tom Hanks. King continues to write. Going out broke.

Steve King. Broke. Not a crying dime. All of the money you earn. All the stocks you buy. All the mutual funds you trade.

All of this is mostly smoke and mirrors. It is still going to be quarter past getting late whether you tell the time on a Timex or a Rolex. No matter how large your bank account. No matter how many credit cards you have. Sooner or later things will begin to go wrong with the only things you have that you can really call your own. Your body. Your spirit. And your mind. So I want you to consider making your life one long gift to others King writes. And why not?

All you have is on loan anyway. All that lasts is what you pass on. Then he concludes, so I ask you to begin giving and continue as you began. I think you will find in the end you got far more than you ever had and did more good than you had ever dreamed end quote.

Wow. That is an amazing conclusion. I don't know that Stephen King believes in Jesus Christ.

But I will say this. He has certainly landed on some important biblical principles that tell us that it is not about us. The world does not revolve around us.

And if we try to make it revolve around us we will be very unhappy people. So here is what the Apostle Paul is saying here in Philippians. He is 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 will stop there. All right. So let's identify some key points here from Philippians chapter 2. If you are 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 3. 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 is 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.

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. 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 is selfishness. I want that person to do what I want them to do. We won't put that person first. We want to put our self first.

Point number two. Always regard others as more important than yourself. Again look at verse three. In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Always regard others as more important than yourself. Now by the way this is important because it speaks of thinking. Thinking of others is better than yourself. And the word that Paul uses here for thinking is from a verb that means more than just having an opinion. It refers to a carefully thought out conclusion based on the truth.

So here is what it is saying. Don't just pretend others are more important than you. Actually believe they are more important than you because they are more important than you.

I mean where do we get off thinking we are better than somebody else. Think about the thoughts that go through our minds. The evil thoughts.

The horrible things. You know if you want to know how to best consider someone above yourself just take a hard look at yourself. Consider your own sins. I mean really knowing this about ourselves how can we be so hard on others. Jeremiah 17 9 makes a statement the human heart is so desperate and it is so deceitful and wicked.

Who really knows how bad it is. The great evangelist D.L. Moody once said quote I have more trouble with D.L. Moody than any other man I know. End quote.

That's true. I have more trouble with Greg Laurie than any man I know. And you probably have more trouble with yourself as well. I like the statement of Andrew Murray a great writer who said and I quote the humble person is not one who thinks meanly of himself. He simply does not think of himself at all. End quote. That is real humility. You just honestly are thinking about others all of the time.

But here is the super cool thing about that. The fringe benefit is happiness. It seems like no think about yourself. Make the world revolve around yourself.

Only indulge yourself. That leads to unhappiness and misery and depression. But when you put others first and you think about them as above you because you realize they are above you suddenly you find yourself a happy person as a result.

Isn't that interesting. It's upside down living. The way to happiness is sadness.

The way to up is down. We all learn best by following someone else's example. So Pastor Greg gives us an example of self-sacrifice in just a moment.

Stay with us. It's such a blessing to hear that Pastor Greg's messages are touching lives. Pastor Greg I grew up going to church but stopped when I turned 18 mainly rebelling against my mom who always forced me to go. I'm 52 now and I'm back going to church after all these years.

I attend with my very religious girlfriend and I've done so for the past year. I've also been doing a lot of reading and talking to people and listening to different things. One of them was your radio program A New Beginning. As you were talking Pastor Greg you gave a prayer and asked if anyone would like to follow Christ and have their sins forgiven.

Well it felt like the right thing to do and I prayed the prayer to follow Christ. Thank you Pastor Greg. If you have a story to share why not call us and give us all the details. Here's the number 1-866-871-1144.

It's a special number for this purpose 866-871-1144. Well Pastor Greg is giving us some practical pointers on how to live a life of happiness by following the biblical prescription. A prescription that's the opposite of what the culture tells us.

That's why today's message is called Upside Down Living. Point number three, don't limit your attention to your own personal interests. Again don't limit your attention to your own personal interests.

Look at verse four. It says look out not only for your own interests but for the interests of others. Notice it says look out not only for your own interests. You know you do need to look out for some of your own interests. Hey we want you to look out for your own interests. We want you to take a shower. We want you to pay your bills. We want you to be a respectable member of society. But for some people that's so hard because they're so self-absorbed all they want to do is think about themselves and talk about themselves.

As Benjamin just really once said quote, talk to a man about himself and he'll listen for hours end quote. So this is a tall order admittedly. And it's not easy for me and it's not easy for anyone. So how do we do this? Well we need an example. And we need more than an example.

We need help. Who is the greatest example of selflessness and sacrifice? Well I am. And no that's a joke. You know that's not true. All right so who is the greatest example? Well I think we know it's Jesus Christ.

Let's read about that. Now go to Philippians 2. Look at verse 5. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus who being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made himself of no reputation.

Underline that phrase if you would. Taking the form of a bondservant and coming in the likeness of men and being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death even the death of the cross. Verse 9. Therefore God has highly exalted him and given him the name that is above every name. That at the name of Jesus every knee will bow of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the earth and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

So here's the example now. How am I to live a selfless life? Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. By the way this is like theology 101. Paul is describing the mystery of the incarnation.

What does that mean? The incarnation is the biblical truth that God was supernaturally conceived in the womb of Mary who was a virgin. This baby. This young man was God. He was fully God.

100 percent God. Yet at the same time he was fully man. He was not man becoming a God.

That's impossible. He was God becoming a man. Verse 6 says he was equal with God.

That's very important. You see there was not a moment when Jesus became God. Nor was there a moment when Jesus ceased to be God. His deity was pre-human, pre-earthly, pre-Bethlehem, pre-Mary. And he sort of gave a glimpse of his deity on the Mount of Transfiguration. Remember that.

He stood up there with Moses on one side and Elijah on the other. And I remember Peter was sleeping and he woke up and Jesus was shining as brightly as the sun. Have you ever tried to look straight at the sun? Don't do that. Ok.

But if you ever have it is blinding right. So there was Jesus. It is almost as though he was saying this is who I am.

Here is a quick glimpse. But most of the time when he walked among us he did not shine like the sun. Otherwise when Judas came to betray him in the Garden of Gethsemane Judas could have just said look for the guy that glows in the dark.

He is not hard to spot. No Jesus shrouded the glory. He veiled the glory. He was God but as the old hymn says veiled in flesh the Godhead see.

Hail incarnate deity. But make no mistake about it Jesus claimed to be God. Remember the story of that crippled man who was lowered through the roof before Christ. And he said your sins are forgiven you. And then the Pharisee said who can forgive sins but God alone. And Jesus went on to say just so you know that the Son of Man has power not only to heal but also to forgive sins I say to this man get up.

Take your bed and walk. And he did. You see he was God. He claimed to be God. In fact John 5 17 says the Pharisee sought to kill him because he said God was his father continually making himself equal with God.

You say well why are you bringing this up. Because some people would say Jesus never claimed to be God but he did you see. Now having established the fact that he was God he also was a man. Verse 7 he made himself of no reputation taking himself on himself the form of a bondservant.

This word no reputation is from the term kenosis and it means an emptying of himself. He did not empty himself of his divine attributes but he emptied himself of privilege meaning he walked among us as a man. When Jesus walked this earth he was tired like any man. Remember when he fell asleep in the lower part of the boat. He was hungry like any man like in the temptation in the wilderness.

So we read that after fasting for 40 days and 40 nights afterwards he hungered. He was thirsty like any man. Remember he was there with the woman at the well.

And he said can you give me a drink. Listen he felt sorrow like any man. At the tomb of Lazarus we read that Jesus wept. He also wept over the city of Jerusalem. And I bring this up because sometimes we might say well God doesn't know what it's like to live in this earth. He's up there in heaven surrounded by angels. He doesn't know what it's like to be tempted and go through hardship and trials.

Nothing can be further from the truth. He knows exactly what it's like and then some. Hebrews 2 17 says it was necessary for Jesus to be in every respect like us his brothers and sisters so he could be our merciful and faithful high priest before God. He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people since he himself has gone through suffering and temptation. He's able to help us when we're tempted.

Are you being tempted right now. Are you going through hardship right now. Maybe you've been abandoned by friends or even family and you say God doesn't know what it's like. He knows exactly what it's like. Jesus was the loneliest man who ever lived because when he hung there on the cross and the sin of the world was placed upon him who had never sinned in any way shape or form and Jesus cried out my God my God why have you forsaken me. There's never been a lonelier man when even the Father momentarily turned his face away from the Son. So you have a friend in high places.

You have someone that understands what you're going through right now. But yet Jesus was a servant. In John chapter 13 there's a remarkable story about the servanthood of Jesus. The disciples come together with him and he gets down and washes their feet.

Now in our culture today we don't really do this anymore but back in those days this was done. You know with all that dust and dirt out on the streets of Jerusalem and Galilee and elsewhere their feet would be dirty. So the role of a servant was to wash the feet of people when they came in. Again the role of a servant.

Not the role of the host. They hired the servant to do that. But the disciples walk in and Jesus gets down in his hands and his knees and he washes their feet. By the way this included Judas Iscariot. And Jesus knew Judas would betray him. If I knew Judas was going to betray me I would not wash his feet.

I would break his feet. But Jesus washed them showing us what a servant looks like. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. Look as I said earlier this is a tall order. We can't do this on our own. We need God's help. We don't need imitation. We need impartation. And by that I mean we don't need to just say well I will try to do it like Jesus did it and I just hope I can do it.

No no. Lord you need to impart to me the power to love unlovable people. You need to help me to put the needs of others above myself.

I need your help. So you can pray a prayer along the lines of Lord I am not happy with my selfish me first attitude. I want to live your way not the world's way. I want to esteem others better than myself.

I want this mind to be in me which was also in you. Impart to me your power that I might live the way that you want me to live. Why don't we just pray about that right now. Let's all pray.

Father we can't do this on our own. We need divine help so even at this moment we would pray you would give us love for the unlovable. That you would help us to not be so self-absorbed but to put the needs of others above our needs and see them as you see them. We want this mind to be in us which was also in Christ Jesus. We ask for this in Jesus name. Amen. Pastor Greg Laurie with an important prayer to live the kind of life God meant for us to live. A life of generosity and self-sacrifice.

As we're learning that's the road to happiness. And then just a word of thanks to you if you've partnered with us so these daily studies can continue. It's only because of listener support that these programs reach out like they do. You're making a difference in people's lives through your generosity. And Pastor Greg we really appreciate that partnership don't we?

Yeah that's right. Now I know that some of you can't give that much so whatever you can do it's appreciated. I know some of you can give a little more and some could possibly give a lot more but whatever gift you send will be used to continue to bring this radio broadcast around the United States and around the world. You know our mission statement here at Harvest is knowing God and making him known. Help us fulfill that mission statement and let's work together and in advance I want to say thanks for whatever you can do. Yeah that's right and we want to thank you tangibly with an important new resource. Go to harvest.org to get the details or call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300 that's 1-800-821-3300.

Hey everybody Greg Laurie here encouraging you to join us this weekend for what we call Harvest at Home. It's worship. It's a message from the Word of God.

You can watch it with your family in your front room or you can watch it on the go on your tablet on your phone or your computer. Take it with you. Take the Word of God with you and join us for Harvest at Home at harvest.org. The Bible tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

Ever found that verse a bit puzzling? Well Pastor Greg has some clear insight for you next time as he continues this happiness series. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. Hey everybody thanks for listening to A New Beginning. This is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners. So for more content that can help you know God and equip you to make him known to others or to learn more about how you can become a Harvest Partner just go to harvest.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-27 17:05:29 / 2023-05-27 17:14:36 / 9

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