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The ART of Survival - A Theology to Understand, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
November 16, 2020 5:00 am

The ART of Survival - A Theology to Understand, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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November 16, 2020 5:00 am

If you’re wondering where God is in the midst of your suffering and frightening circumstances, if you’re so discouraged that you’re ready to throw in the towel, what do you do? In this program, Chip tells us to hang onto that towel! Because he’s gonna reveal how to slay the dragon of discouragement and have rock-solid hope, no matter what.

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Were talking these days about the art of survival when circumstances are so hard and so bleak. You get so discouraged, you're literally ready to throw in the town of your wondering where is God in the midst of your suffering and discouragement hang onto that town because I'm going to talk to you today about how to slay the dragon discouragement and get God's perspective.

Don't go away. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with your finger tips are Bible teacher on this international discipleship program about debris.

So let me ask you, do you believe God is good. You believe he has a plan for you. That's the best plan. Out of all the possible scenarios, chips, continuing today series called the art of survival and in this program.

He tells us God is good if his plan is the best based on the promises of Scripture that regardless of your current circumstances you can have rock solid hope is going to tell us how just before we get started, let me encourage you to try using chips message notes while you listen. These free notes contain chips outline Scripture references and much more will help you remember what you hear and maybe even share what you're learning chips notes are a quick download@livingontheedge.org under the broadcast Listeners Fill in notes and yourself. You have a Bible open to the book of James chapter 1. Let's jump in welcome to part three of our series art of survival and why don't we need to survive and even thrive in these coming days and this is part three. It's all from James chapter 1 and as I began I want to tell you an apocryphal story.

This is not a true story.

It was made up but has a very powerful point. The legend goes that Satan went into the market and he was having a big sale of all of his tools.

Tools he used to blind unbelievers, but even more importantly, he had some tools to render Christians, especially leaders, people really walking with God just to absolutely ruin their faith and so we had a broad spectrum of multiple tools and he had a price tag on each one of them and all the junior demons were invited to come and by these different tools to help them as they would persuade and deceive Christians and unbelievers alike. There was one very very small box that had an astronomical price.

I mean it was so high that all the demon said that it's such a small little box.

What could be in that little box that's worth that much.

And Satan said what's in that box is discouragement because it's more useful to me than all the others. He said I pry open men's heart and I get inside of them and I can get near to them. With this tool like no other. It's badly worn because I use it almost all the time but since few people know it really belongs to me. I deceive them, I discourage them and I get them to give up or to give in and render them powerless in this fight against the enemy the king the Lord Jesus Christ is so acute story, but a lot of truth to it. Back discouragement I think is the number one destroyer, especially at times like this that undermine us and that might sound like an exaggeration unless you're one of those people that's really been discouraged. This felt like giving up, giving, and I can't do this anymore as I was praying about it early this morning and thinking of my time to get to talk with you. I thought of one of the seasons very much like now where you know the things that help me out. There were health issues and then there were ministry issues then there were financial issues and there were family issues, and I felt like it was a time in my life where I was seeking and praying and pursuing God like never before and it just was getting worse and worse and worse and I actually was about 10 years ago and I done this Journal out this morning I wrote for 20 months. I have clung to a passage and a promise in Psalm 25 the journey has been characterized by pain, injustice, betrayal, the stripping of the old new insights into my pride into ministry metrics that don't focus so much on the number of people that do this or that, but leading into new processes and strategies and focus and energy that really have to do with life change, while the same time experiencing absolute desperate dependency were broke personally and as a ministry, we have no office, no staff to speak of, no clear direction for teaching a future that is uncertain and unknown and were forced to live simply by faith in the clear conviction and pain that we must move forward to helping Christians live like Christians with what we have, which is little with where we are, which is difficult and with God who brought us here.

I've been tempted many times to give up. I felt deeply, deeply discourage and I battled feelings of hopelessness in the midst of this journey that was 10 years ago. As I look back now at what God did I realize that he had to work deeply into me before he was going to work significantly through me. I had to learn what we've learned in part one and part two about, you know, considering it all joy when nothing feels or looks joyful. I had to come to the point where I said Lord I don't know what to do. I don't have any money I don't have direction difficulties at every turn. I need your wisdom, and he gave, and now what I want to ask you is where you at, how are you doing with discouragement and what discourages you, you know the definition of discouragement is to deprive courage, hope, or confidence. It's the lack of courage. Courage is that thing that wells up inside of you that says circumstances don't matter.

The opposition doesn't matter I'm going to press forward on that to follow Christ I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. No matter what happens.

Discouragement is when you lose heart discouragement is that feeling when you say it's not worth nothing will ever change. I can't go on. I'm powerless. It's that feeling that just screams just quit, just give it up just compromise take a shortcut so let me ask you before we begin the teaching time here in get into how to slay the dragon of discouragement want to ask you where are you at in terms of what discourages you what person what circumstance what's going on in your life or in your thoughts what's happening in your country.

Where are you in your life right now that you would say I mean very specifically. This is discouraging me. These are the thoughts that are coming into my mind that make me want to say God I just can't do this anymore.

I give up what what is going on. I want you to get it down very specific and very clearly because God's going to take his word today and he's going to speak to that very specific discouragement in your life and mine. Discouragement is the number one destroyer of God's plans for our lives just before we receive God's highest and best.

Many of us throw in the town and I've had some times and I've counseled so many hundreds of people right before there's a breakthrough in their marriage where it gets resolved where they learn to forgive and where they love so many quit and separator get a divorce right before there's a huge answer to prayer. Whether it's finances are an open door in ministry just before that happens so often many give up and they quit just before God is at work and get out of the habit that they addiction the struggle that it is just been a stronghold in your life.

God is working working working working in just before he answers and delivers so many people give up. And what I want to say to you is were going to learn how to slay the dragon of discouragement and God is going to give us a plan he's going to answer. How do you survive when you're tired when you tried when you've worked when you've prayed when you're exhausted everything in use as I just can't take it any more.

God says I have an answer for you.

He has an answer for me and he has a plan and the plan begins with an attitude at all begins with our attitude. God's will and adversity is this attitude joyful endurance.

Consider it all joy, my brother, when you encounter various trials, knowing the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its perfect result that you might be perfect or mature, lacking in nothing.

And then the second thing he gives us is a resource in the midst of not knowing what to do in the midst of not having answers and battling discouragement. He says here's a resource God's promise in the process is supernatural wisdom he's going to give you insight into the best possible ends by the best possible means.

For the most possible people.

The longest possible time.

He says in verse five but if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, it will be given to him condition, but let him or her ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind for let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord being double minded, unstable in all his ways. God tells you and me in the midst of our discouragement.

He will show you what to do and how to do it to get through your greatest challenges and then the third thing in God's plan isn't just an attitude and is not just a resource of super natural wisdom he's gonna say I'm going to give you a truth, a theology if you will about life and about circumstances and about the future and when you get this clarity, this truth, it is the thing that will allow you to slay the dragon discouragement. He writes, but let the humble brother and his humble circumstances glory in his high position and let the rich man glory in his humiliation.

Why, because like flowering grass he will pass away.

Speaking of the rich man for the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed. So to the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away and then against this admonition. This hope this reward blessed is a man who perseveres under trial for once he has been tested and is approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love him. God's prescription his truth to persevere, to not give up.

Is this a divine perspective, there is a truth there is a theology about life here is life. God says I want to give you a lens to look at life and your circumstances.

I want you to see things through the kingdom lens in the practical lens rich people powerful people, people with position with homes with money security. They're the ones that have it made. He's going to say no and God's kingdom lens.

Actually, the opposite is true.

Those who have little actually have a high position and then he's going to explain why. Let me take a moment and just explain this passage and then from that I want to give you three very specific principles that will allow you to hang in there when things get tough.

He says let the brother of humble circumstances.

Word is social, economic, he's not talking about you know like character, humility, saying, you know basically let someone who doesn't have very much money, glory, and the word means to boast or take joy or rejoice and say wow look what I have so in your high position and not about you, but I have studied the Bible for number of years and I remember reading and studying the entire book of James and looking at each paragraph teaching through the whole book, and for years honestly getting to verses nine through 12 especially nine through 11 in chapter 1, and we do this knowing who study the Bible, especially some of us who teach it and just scratching my head and thinking I don't get this. What's with this little section about poor people being having a high position in rich people having a low position and in this promise of reward will follow along.

It's super insightful. One of the things I've learned about studying the Bible.

If there's something in a passage that at first doesn't seem to make any sense.

Chances are it's very profound and this is one of those passages so he says to those of us that don't have very much for those of you that don't have very much I'm thinking you know maybe because of covert you've lost your job may be lost your business. Maybe you're in a country right now that things are very, very difficult.

I mean super challenging like you don't have food. I mean, he says to those who have little to boast, and rejoice in your high position. What he is doing is saying I want to give you a perspective from heaven about looking at life through this lens of faith pierces point he's gonna say when we don't have anything are high position is were automatically dependent.

We automatically turn to God, we automatically pray went when I read this for my journal 10 years ago when I said I was broke up. I wasn't exaggerating no money. I have had seasons where I have sat in the car with my family. We had no money. We had no food and we bout our head and said, Lord, you said that you would promise was literally after a church service and we we literally had nothing. And as we prayed and why we were praying toward the end we heard a knock is the first time I went to this church. We had just moved to that city to prepare for ministry and someone we didn't know that apparently sat behind us and saw a young family not on the window. We rolled down the window and they said excuse me, do you all have plans for lunch.

We would love to bring you to our home for lunch. You see, we didn't pray in the car because we were being spiritual, we didn't pray in the car because we got all this is important. Let's be good Christians. We prayed in the car because we had no money and nothing to eat and I had three kids in the backseat. What he saying is as hard as it is to face when we are low. Socioeconomically we are rich in faith because we are pre-positioned to be dependent to trust God and to see him and then he says to those who are rich and the idea of New Testament being riches. I have enough for today. Enough for tomorrow and I may have even savings for the future. In other words, the person who basically has their own security.

Many in America. Listening to this and in many around the world that are that are watching and listening to this would say to themselves by biblical standards. I may not think of myself as rich but I'm rich.

I'm not worried about cannot eat tomorrow or do have a roof over my head and he says to those who are rich, we should glory now my season is changed I need to glory in my low position I need to realize that spiritually I met a very big disadvantage because money is powerful and, and money can provide false security and money can create idols and money can create expectations and money can get us thinking that we can live our life our way without God is so he says we have to willfully choose.

I need to get up and say Lord I need you. I choose to depend on you because the fact of the matter is if I didn't pray today I have enough money in the bank to eat for this week and next week and probably next month. I don't have to pray is Rich people are in a a more challenging spiritual situation and that he gives this reason for the sun rises with a scorching wind and it withers the grass, the flower falls off. In other words, life is temporary life is transitory life is a vapor life is a breath and he says the low position of rich people and many people are experiencing this right now is that you know a few months ago, things were great. Now you don't have a job.

I talked to men who have spent the last 20 years in building businesses and investing money with this idea that their retiring and their secure forever and ever. Are you ready in the last for five months.

Covert, 19 is gone, it's gone. And so what he saying to us is that you can't trust in these things because of the nature the transitory nature of life.

They fade away and then he says blessed in this war is an inner quality of happiness not dependent on circumstances is the one who perseveres you ready for this, but if you have your Bible circle that word persevere and then go up at the top of chapter 1 member where it says let endurance. It's the same word hoopoe meadow.

Blessed is the man. Blessed is the woman who person under pressure under stress under discouragement under spiritual opposition under difficult circumstances under finances that you don't know what you going to do but you refused to give up.

You refused I'm going to trust. He says as you endure and persevere under trial and it's the exact same word as in the earlier part. Blessed is the man who end with these external trials. Once you've been approved.

Notice that the word here is for a test. This is once you pass the test you want. Passing the test is being faithful. Your call. Not getting up not getting it it it is not caving into temptation is not compromising. It is not saying the ministry is not worth it saying I'm gonna hang in there.

In this difficult marriage. I'm gonna hang in there. In this ministry. I'm gonna hang in there with this difficult situation with my boss or supervisor. I'm going to hang in there, in this difficulty because I'm called by God to be faithful to him. I refuse in the power of the Holy Spirit to give in or to give up and he says once you been approved you receive the crown of life. And this is great.

Grammatically, this is the crown, namely life.

It's yes were going to get crowns and there's going to be rewarded for believers, but the emphasis here is the crown, namely life.

This abundance when you persevere and do not allow discouragement to society. But how is your life.

There is a quality of life. There is an intimate intimacy with Jesus. There is a power there's a faith there's a courage there is a life experience that other people don't get he says you're going to receive the crown of life, not just now but with future reward as well, which the Lord has promised notice to who to those who love him, to those who say Lord, my loyalty, my loyalty to you.

It is hard. It is difficult it is to be back with this application. Just a quick reminder, this message is for three of this series. The art of survival arts is an acronym ART as Chip walks us through the book of James chapter 1, we realize that the uncertainty and fear of the believers dreams originally wrote to her, similar to the growing pressures we face today.

Chip explains there's an art to survival skills honed by practice that lead to joyful endurance. No matter what a is the attitude that helps us navigate adversity are is the resource God offers them adversity and T is the theology that guides our perspective in adversity.

If you think this message could help others. Why not share or send it to them, email, text, or on social media everything to be most helpful. For more information and access to all the series discounts just go to LivingontheEdge.org or give us a call at 8883336003 that's 8883336003 hapless nurse tab current offers will Chip as I heard your message today and always thinking that literally about a million people are listening right now most people have real needs as Living on the Edge continues to create new programming and develop resources that address those needs. The expenses of the ministry are always a monthly issue. I think it's fair to say that a lot of people may have thought about partnering with us but then they might think if they can't give something really impressive.

The gift won't make much of a difference in a day really only about 2% of all the people that listen to partner with us financially in any way.

I think sometimes is because they just don't think what I could do would make a difference but I just want to encourage some of you that feel like you know hey you know what God's really using this my life but I'm just not in a position maybe you could do something really small. But God could take your small gift into something really big with it. So thanks so much and appreciate anything.

God leads you to do will as you prayerfully consider your role with this ministry. Let me remind you that when you partner with Living on the Edge you become part of a much bigger team ministering together, our efforts and resources are multiplied in ways that only God can do to send a gift call us at AAA 83336003. Donate only up or just go to LivingontheEdge.org and let me assure you every gift is significant. Thanks in advance.

As we close today's program I want to repeat that amazing promise. Blessed is the man blesses the woman who endures or perseveres under trial for once you've passed the test, you will receive the reward. The crown of life, literally the crown that's the quality the kind of life both now and forever, that the Lord rewards to all of those who love him. I know what were talking about is super challenging to hear and more challenging to apply but it's God's perspective it's his way blessed, happy, deeply rich inside satisfied are people who don't give up who endure.

You know I gave you that word hoopoe Menno hoopoe to be under Menno stress, pressure, and it's that experience where you feel like I just can't go on one more day. But God just give me grace of God give me grace you might jot down unless you're driving you can listen to this later and jotted down Hebrews 1036 is a verse of a group of people that were wavering and ready to give up and it says for you have need of endurance. Hoopoe Menno R. Word for once you have done the will of God, then you receive what is promised. In other words, endurance is the pathway. It's the process.

It's what you have to hang in there in order to get God's very very best for your life and pastoring all the decades that I have.

I can tell you that the saddest thing I see is people who don't endure in a troubled marriage. People don't endure with a wayward child. People who don't endure when they're just about ready to address it an addiction or problem and they give up or they give in and then the cycle starts all over and I was thinking about you know what I shared the very end of this message and people that endure, and it's hard and they're just normal in the regular like you and me. It produces something, doesn't it. If you've rubbed up against what I call a mature godly person you know they have.

There's a quality to their life. There's an intimacy with Jesus.

There's a power in a confidence of faith and encourage. There's this rich life experience that you know they're not just saying Jesus words and praise the Lord and everything's going to be okay in quoting sort of trite trivial things when you're next to them there's a sense of life, power and confidence in actually a sense of Jesus.

And when you're around them you feel kinda confident like I just want more of what they have and you know that verse Hebrews 1036 where it says for you have need of endurance. So once you've done the will of God, you might receive what is promised.

I thought of enduring during a time early in my marriage when I wanted to quit enduring in work actually in seminary when I thought I don't need this enduring with a wayward child enduring through cancer when my wife went through that enduring back pain and back surgery. Enduring a real failure in ministry where I made some big mistakes and really look back and thought all God, I just want to quit.

I don't think I'm cut out for this that I tell you, don't give up. Trust God, find two or three people that really love them hang close to them stay in his word. When you feel lousy telling when you feel like crying. Go ahead and cry when you don't know what to do.

Just do the next thing. Just do the next thing you don't know what tomorrow brings. And I don't either but I know who controls it and I know that he loves you and I know he's available. Draw near to him, he will draw near to you. Hang tough organ to make it through together. You know an easy way to share any message that you find especially helpful is with the chipping roadmap with just a couple of taps any message you choose is on its way to your friend, someone in your family or on social media to help others who could benefit from the truth of Scripture and its encouragement. And don't forget to include a quick note about how it made a difference in your life will be with us again next time when ship continues a series.

The art of survival.

Till then Dave Drewry saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge


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