Do you feel guilty when you relax? I mean, do you feel guilty when you just stop to really enjoy something?
Down deep, do you believe that you're not supposed to have any fun until you get all of your to-do list done? Well, I've got shocking, wonderful news from God for you. He's all about enjoying great moments now, and we're going to learn how to do that today.
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. I'm Dave Druey, and I'm really excited for you to hear this message, because it's all about fun and why it's so important to God that we experience it often. But before we continue our series, Good to Great in God's Eyes, if this is your first time listening to Living on the Edge, or you just want to learn more about what we do, go to livingontheedge.org.
You'll find tons of resources on a wide range of topics and countless programs to enjoy. Okay, here now is Chip's message, Enjoy Great Moments, if you have a Bible, turn to Ecclesiastes chapter 3. From good to great, not in man's eyes, but in God's eyes. And I just got a note. In the last year, and I keep it at my desk, and it was from my college basketball coach, and when I played in college, he was not a believer.
And you know, sometimes you do things and you think it's not making any difference, any difference, any difference. What I didn't know is in the last 25 years, he'd become a Christian, and he walked through a bookstore and he saw a book with my name on it, and he thought, now that can't be the Chip Ingram, the little skinny guy that I coached. You know, and he picked up the book and part of it told some stories about the college, and he got my address and I got a little note from him, and he talked about, Chip, just remember, you know, as I read this book and I went on the website and I see your life's moving very fast, he said, just remember, I could almost hear in my mind, he says, Chip, remember, everything starts with balance.
Defense starts with balance, the shot with balance. As I see your life moving quickly, I want you to know I'm really proud of you, I want you to know that I've come to Christ, and I just want to tell you, Chip, keep your balance. And I share that because in the last session or two, we've talked about some things that really push the edge of the envelope spiritually. Make a great sacrifice. Take a great risk.
Now I'm going to share something that is going to require very significant balance. Can you believe that going from good to great is going to require that you enjoy great moments? CS Lewis said, joy is the serious business of heaven.
Think of that. Joy is the serious business of heaven. And I want to ask you just a little question as we get started, and the little question is, are you enjoying your life?
Are you deeply enjoying and are you satisfied and drinking in rich experiences with people and places and circumstances that God providentially is putting all around your life? Or are you thinking, I'm going to enjoy my life after I retire. Well, I'm going to enjoy my life when I get this big list of things done. I'm going to enjoy my life after I raise these kids the way I know I'm supposed to. I'm going to enjoy my life once I kind of get this career on track.
I'm going to enjoy my life after I do most of the Great Commission all by myself. Listen to what scripture says, the wisest man in the world, Solomon wrote, there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun. There's a time so to make a great risk. There's a time to make a great sacrifice. There's a time to pray great prayers. There's a time to dream great dreams. But notice there's a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
See the balance? He goes on in Ecclesiastes to say, verse 11 of chapter 3, he has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they can't fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end. And then notice this verse, you may have not known this is in the Bible.
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and to do good while they live, that everyone may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all his toil. Then notice that this is the gift of God. Do we need to make a great sacrifice? Absolutely. Do we need to be focused and disciplined?
Absolutely. But in the midst of a fallen world, in the midst of pain and suffering and disappointment and the absolute certainty that Jesus is coming back, we also need to enjoy great moments. We need to just drink deeply from the grace of God and from all the things God is putting in our life as gifts to encourage us.
Did you notice? It's a gift from God. He goes on to say in chapter 5, moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and to be happy in his work, this is a gift of God. He seldom reflects on the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart. Does that describe you? Do you find that you are occupied with gladness of heart? Do you find that you seldom reflect on the days of your life as in looking back with regret or looking forward with anxiety just because you're filled with gladness of life, with the sense that I'm alive today and God loves me today and look at what I have and look at these opportunities? Or do you tend to be so focused, so busy, so driven, so active that you're going to enjoy life someday, some way, somehow when you get time? Do you really enjoy life? I didn't say, are you productive? I didn't say, are you spiritual? I didn't say, are you making an impact? Are those things important?
Absolutely. I ask you, are you deeply enjoying life? If I ask your mate, if I ask your best friend, if I ask one of your children for those that have children, if I ask them privately and they really know you, would they tell me, oh yeah, he or she, they really enjoy life. Focus, discipline, get a lot done, but they're so fun to be around.
They really know how and when to kick back and drink it in and have a great time. In fact, they'll just stop periodically and just get off of the rat race of life and really just thank God for these rich gifts and these great relationships before they get back on the track and do what he wants them to do. What if joy is in fact the serious business of heaven?
Now what I like right now is a very perplexing look on your face because what you're looking at me and you're telling me is, I think this is illegal. I think Chip took a happiness cult pill. I think Chip did the last session and he felt so bad for us about this call of great sacrifice and great risk.
I think he just got feeling bad and thought he ought to balance it out. If you will notice, what I read was from scripture. This isn't Chip's thoughts. This is from the wisest man in the world. Let me give you five quick reasons why it's so important to enjoy great moments. And this sounds kind of crazy, but some of you really need permission to start enjoying life. Some of your best friends, mates, and kids would tell you, if they could, boy, do they really need to learn how to enjoy life. And I don't want to dwell on these, but I've given you five reasons and I've given you a passage that you can look up and develop because I really want to spend the majority of our time helping you understand why you don't enjoy life more and then I want to get on the solution side and give you some very practical ways. I think you'll say to yourself, you know what? I think I'm going to apply this one to my life beginning today.
It sounds actually fun and legal and spiritual. I can't believe God says that. So let me give you the five important reasons why you must, not should, not ought, not a luxury, why you must enjoy great moments. Number one, it reminds us of God's goodness. Psalm 84-11, the Lord God is a son in his shield. The Lord gives grace and glory. No good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly. You see, when you enjoy a good thing, it reminds you that good things come from him. If he promises no good thing, will he withhold?
What if he has lots of good things and he wants to give them to you, but he can't get you to stop long enough to enjoy what he's given you? Pretty soon you focus on all the challenges of life and you forget God's goodness. The second reason, it sustains us in adversity. Nehemiah 8-10, you might read through the book of Nehemiah, you know, get a cup of coffee or Diet Coke or your favorite drink, sweet tea, put up your feet and just read through Nehemiah sometime this week. And what you'll find is there's this huge project and they rebuild a wall and it's a miraculous thing. And the first portion of the book is how they rebuild the physical structure. And the second half of the book is they rebuild the people. And when they start rebuilding the people, the people are totally messed up. And when they hear how messed up they are, they start moaning and wailing and they hear the word of God taught and they go, oh man, we are so, we so fall short. And Nehemiah says, stop, stop.
He looks in the passage. He says, this is the month that we're in. What we're supposed to be doing this time is to have this festival. And then he says, we're going to celebrate. Yes, we repent, but we're going to celebrate for the joy of the Lord is our strength.
See Lewis is right. Joy is the serious business of heaven. Joy is at the core of our strength. It sustains us in adversity.
The third reason enjoying great moments is important. It honors God as the source of all of our joy. James 1 17, every good and perfect gift comes from where? The father of lights with whom there's no variation, but there's no shifting of shadow.
Every good and perfect gift comes from him. I think there's some of us that may, you know, this is a little hypothetical, so don't go, you know, preaching this one and telling people this is where to find it in the Bible. This is a Chippism.
Okay. I think though, I think many of us could get to heaven and find like a really big door and have our name on it. And we would open the door and inside would be the shelves and they're stacked with gifts, beautiful gifts.
And you know, they're pretty paper and they got all these bows on them and we'd say, wow, what's all this? And the Lord will say, well, this is all the, all the good stuff I had for you. And you go, oh wow, great. This is heaven.
He'll go, no, no, no. You understand? Heaven's way, way better than this. This is all the good stuff I had for you while you were on earth. But I couldn't get you to look up. You, you, you were so thinking you had to prove yourself to people and you were so busy, you know, wanting to make an impact and you were so consumed with, with, you know, the, the career move and you were so just filled with you that you never took the time to receive the good gifts. I wanted to refresh you. I wanted to bless you. I wanted to encourage you. I wanted to love you. You know, those people that live next to you, there's some of the, actually there's some of my choice of servants, but you know, your garage door went up and it went down.
You didn't even know they lived next door. I had multiple, multiple gifts, but I wanted to give them to you, but you didn't do it. You see, enjoying great moments remind us that God is the source of all of our joy. Fourth, it connects our hearts to those we love.
Isn't it interesting that when you enjoy a great moment, most great moments, some are by yourself, but many of them are with other people. And the two examples I gave you, I think are so great in Luke 2 19, Mary had a great moment. Remember, she got to hear these prophetic things about this little baby. You know, the Anna who was in the temple and been praying and fasting and she made this pronouncement in Simeon and they said, you know, this little baby is going to be the rising and the falling of many. And Simeon said, I have waited all my life and God promised that I would not die until I saw the savior of the world.
And remember what it says? And Mary treasured these things in her heart. See, it was a great, it was a moment. When you have a great moment, there's certain little windows of time and whether it's the birth of a baby or a sunset or whether it's, you know, that day that you get married or whether it's seeing, you know, one of your kids graduate or whether it's the day that you came to Christ, God gives great moments that he wants us to treasure.
But if we get so fast and so busy, we don't get them. I think that that great moment sustained Mary for a lot of years. I think when her son was hanging on the cross, I think she was still pondering and treasuring. He will be the rising and the falling of many. And even Jesus on the very last night in Luke 22, remember what he said to his disciples?
I mean, yes, he's fully God, but he was fully human. He knew what was ahead. And he said to them, I eagerly awaited to share this feast with you.
He wanted to have a meal. They went out and they sang together. They cried together.
They prayed together. They had, he had a moment with the people that he felt closest to. And I believe much of his human endurance, depending on the father, was that great moment with those men that he loved that sustained him, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.
And so my point is great moments aren't nice good things. Enjoyment and joy is a serious business of heaven because it reminds us of God's goodness. It sustains us in adversity. It honors God as a source of our joy. And then it connects our hearts to those that we love. And finally, are you ready? God uses great moments fifth to renew us.
In fact, he planned in great moments. The Sabbath, I don't know how you grew up, but I didn't grow up in a very good background spiritually. And all I heard about with the Sabbath when people who were real religious is all the stuff you couldn't do. And then I read the Bible and Jesus said, the Sabbath wasn't about what you couldn't do.
It's like all these pagans have seven days they've got to work to make a living. You only have to do it six. And I want one day of vacation. I want you to stop. I want you to rest. I want you to worship. I want you to kick back. I want you to take a deep breath.
I want you to enjoy one another. The Sabbath was the idea of rejoicing. It's looking back over all that God has done and going, wasn't last week great? Isn't God good?
Isn't he wonderful? Let's stop. Let's back off. Let's deeply enjoy what we actually have. And so God wants great moments to renew our bodies with rest. He wants us to renew our hearts with laughter.
You know, people that are serious all the time are serious all the time. You know, some of the people that you, you know, I want to be committed. I want to, I love God. I'm committed. I love God.
I love God. I'm going to do this. I never do this. I always do this.
I've got seven rules. You know what? They're just the kind of Christians that if I was a non-Christian, I don't want to be a Christian. If that's what it means to be a Christian, right?
We kind of forget. I think Jesus was the easiest person on the planet to be around. I think when he and Peter and James and John walked, I think they told jokes.
In fact, I know they did. Some of the passages, I mean, they're funny. You know, let me, hey Pete, can you, Herod, that fox, you know, you know, we think, oh, Herod, what fox? I wonder what he meant by that. He just meant, hey, you know, a little hyperbole, a little joke, a little jab in the ribs.
You know, that sly guy. You know, the camel going through the eye of a needle. I couldn't have, I mean, I think Jesus didn't attract people by his outward appearance, but I think there was laughter. I think there was belly laughter, and I think he was serious, and I think he was pure, and I think it was fun to be around him. I mean, how in the world would we ever enjoy fun if we're made in the image of God if God himself doesn't enjoy fun?
And see, we've got spirituality over here and fun over here like they don't mix. In fact, Proverbs says what? A glad heart renews the soul. The best medical research tells us that laughter does what?
It builds the immune system. God wants us to enjoy great moments to renew our bodies, our hearts, and our souls. I mean, the Psalms, a whole section of the Psalms is what? Praise, praise, praise.
Give thanks, give thanks. I mean, what about all those Psalms? You know, play the trumpet, the tambourine, get the strings out, let's dance, let's have fun.
I mean, if you get around, have you ever been to a Jewish wedding? I mean, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh, duh. You know they do all that stuff? I think they're having fun and then they eat food. And they laugh. And God commanded him to do it. Five reasons why to enjoy great moments.
Well, let's get down to a little analysis here then. Why don't we enjoy great moments? What keeps normal, regular people like you, like me, who are committed, who want to make a great sacrifice, who pray great prayers, who dream great dreams, who want to have quality families, who want to help fulfill the Great Commission, you want to be God's man, you want to be God's woman. What is it about how we think or how we've been trained or how we perceive life that keep us from enjoying great moments?
I'm going to suggest there may be a lot, but there's at least three very specific ways that I think that distorts our ability to enjoy great moments. The first one is a distorted view of God. I think part of this is that we see God through like one of those mirrors at the funhouse, you know how they have the mirrors and when you look at it you can look like this big or you can look real skinny.
I think we look at God and we have a distorted picture. You notice I put in your notes Luke 15 and Luke 15 is the prodigal son. It's the story of the renegade boy, rejects his father, leaves home, asks for his inheritance, loses it all in wild living, correct, finally comes to his senses while he's feeding the pigs, repents, rehearses his speech, I've sinned against you God, I've sinned against my father, comes home with his hat in his hand and realizes, you know I've blown it, at least the slaves have a place to live and they got food on the table, that's better than me, and as he comes the father runs, breaks multiple cultural norms, puts a ring on his finger, sandals on his feet, a robe kills the fatted calf, basically says in all those things no no no no you can't come back as a slave, I forgive you, I love you, I've been looking for you, you are my son, and that's the part of the story and all of us have had our prodigal moments, right, and that's an awesome story because it gives us a right view of God and it reminds us that regardless of where we've been there is a father always looking for us to say turn around, come to your senses, come home.
The problem is we usually stop that story there. There's another brother isn't there? He's the older brother and the older brother hears music and dancing and fatted calves and a big party and a celebration and he gets outside and says to one of the servants, what in the world is going on? Well your little brother's home, so your dad's really fired up and you know he fatted calf, there's a party, invited all the neighbors, all the friends, I mean you can hear the music, they're having a ball, you ought to come in. And the older brother goes, man it isn't, boy I'll tell you what, life is not fair, this stinks, what and where are you coming from dad? You know you go and you have a wild living and prostitutes and you know by the way you know the text you know we don't have anything the text that says that the little brother said this is all the terrible things I did.
See that older brother is kind of like a lot of Christians thinking you know I got all these rules to keep it all those non-christians are having all the fun. And then the father comes out and says you know come on in, no I'm mad. And you remember how the story goes? Remember how the father says no, you don't understand, he was dead and now he's alive. See the older son didn't realize there's consequences of that kind of life, there's absolute forgiveness but there's consequences and there's pain and older son you really don't want any of that. And then the older son makes this plea, he said dad you know something here's I don't get, I've been a good boy. I mean I get up, I've done the fields, I did what you told me and I day in day out and you know what you never had a party for me. And I remember the father remember what he says, he says son well all that I have is yours 24-7 every day any moment all that was here is for you. And I think if we could sort of elaborate the story I think the father might say something like you know son can you tell me the time when you asked if just you know some of your friends could come over wouldn't have to be even a fatted calf that you know maybe a cow maybe a goat we could have a little barbecue and I said oh no we don't do that here. See the the father is saying to him it was available 24-7 but the older son was so performance-oriented he was so focused on not messing up he was so busy doing what is right he was so saying I gotta prove that I'm okay I'm gonna earn my father's favor he never realized you already got your father's favor I love you all that I have is available to you and you have never stopped never asked to enjoy all that I have you could have you could have had a feast once a month if you wanted it but see you didn't you didn't grasp it was about a relationship you thought it was about your duty you thought it was about keeping the rules you were the legalist you assumed that I didn't already love you you've spent all your energy and all your time trying to prove yourself to me or in some of our cases to our father or to our mother or to the coach or to the third-grade teacher back there or some kid who said you'll never amount to anything and you know what we've been win a whole I'll show them I'll show them I'll show them I'll show them instead of having godly drive we become driven and there's a huge difference and I think this is a message for the most committed Christians I know you're not very fun to be around I don't see a lot of joy in your life I see a lot of drivenness I see a lot of performance I see a lot of you do things right I see a lot of subtle self-righteous arrogance I see of not understanding the Father's heart and I wish this all came because I read good books about this but all my applications here are you're looking at a guy that spent years and years as a Christian as the older brother I finally realized the lie that I was believing and I don't know how to change other than you know Romans 12 to says don't be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that your life could prove or demonstrate what the will of God is that which is good acceptable and perfect so I try and figure out what lies I'm believing and I write the lie on one side of the card and then I write the word stop and then either on the bottom or on the back of the card I write the truth and then I don't try and memorize it or anything I just read it over and read it over so that when the lie pops up I'm training my mind to catch it and then change so here's the lie I believe about this one a distorted view of God I believe being a godly man this is a lie by the way being a godly man father husband boss means always giving up my desires plans and goals to do what others want to do because a servant always puts others first that's actually some of you're thinking what part of that's a lie right a servant always puts others first lie the truth I must be willing to give up my desires plans and goals and submission to God's direction for my life in serving and loving others but my desires my goals and my plans are valid and important as well I will never give others a chance to love me if others are not given an opportunity to make sacrifices for me as well are some of you the kind of people that close friends say hey how come we can never do anything for you you're great at giving but you're not very good at receiving see that's me and you know what when you believe that lie I'll tell you what there's more to do than you can ever do because you always you don't you don't give yourself permission to have fun you don't give yourself permission to enjoy what God has put all around you and you know when you don't then you don't experience joy and if you don't experience a lot of joy then you don't have the strength of the Lord and if you don't have the strength of the Lord you end up in a performance trap and so outwardly it's work work work godly godly godly and inwardly it's wine wine wine you know and God you know how come I'm not having so much fun and you know what it sets you up for temptation you ever wonder why people that walk with God sometimes 15 20 25 years and all of a sudden I mean you know they're like went over the real leaders in the church and have raised this amazing family and like then you hear this crazy story like you know they separated divorced he's got a red sports car and she's running around with a guy that's 22 years old and you go what you know why all that didn't happen you know in the last six months a lot of that happened because they never enjoyed all the good things and they had an elder brother mentality you've been listening to part one of chips message enjoy great moments he'll be right back with his application for this teaching from his series good to great in God's eyes now you may be thinking isn't wanting to be great a bad thing in this 10-part series chip assures us that our ambition to be the best Christian we can be isn't a prideful thing at all in fact it comes from God himself stay with us as we better understand the specific practices that will help mature our faith and delight the heart of God now if you missed any part of this series the chip Ingram app is a great way to catch up anytime well I'm joined in studio now by chip and chip it's no secret that we're coming out of one of the most disruptive seasons in our history and for a lot of people it's become a real challenge to get plugged back in spiritually now what do you recommend for people looking to find that rhythm again well Dave I think most people would say start reading the Bible spend quality time with God take maybe some passages where you're struggling and memorize a short chapter I think all of those would be great places to start but most of us are struggling with the lack of community isolation has killed us the enemy that his goal to get us isolated to get us discouraged to get us looking inward and the only way to experience the life of the Holy Spirit is to be with people we need to get in a room with a group of people centered around the Word of God and say we're gonna meet every week or every other week we're gonna do life together we're gonna be open we're gonna be honest we're gonna dig in we're gonna apply the scripture to our lives and we're gonna encourage one another it's been a really really hard last 18 to 24 months we need each other and so let me encourage you to go to our website and choose the small group study that best meets the needs of your family or a group of men a group of women or a group of couples we have studies to help you get back in sync get in rhythm get in community because there's life there and God longs for us to experience the very life of Christ but we can't do it alone great word ship well here at Living on the Edge we have a growing library of small group resources on a wide range of topics and they're so easy to use chip provides the teaching then you'll have time to discuss what you've heard with our helpful study guides so if you're not in a small group yet or you aren't sure what to study next let me encourage you to check us out and for a limited time all of our small group resources are discounted for more info go to Living on the Edge org or call us at triple 8 3 3 3 6 0 0 3 that's triple 8 3 3 3 6 0 0 3 or visit Living on the Edge dot o RG app listeners tap special offers chip I think it's safe to say today's message really hit a lot of people right between the eyes I mean we're all busy but we don't stop and appreciate the important moments so how can we practically enjoy life the way God wants us to well I think we need to get behind the time issue and the priority issue to the core issue and the core issue is that if you believe that your identity and your value and your worth is your performance for most Christians I find if they're serious Christians fun is like an elective and you know what if I get some extra time I'm really gonna have some fun but in the words of CS Lewis joy is the serious business of heaven and you know something I meet a lot of Christians and there have a lot of characteristics but joy is not a big one because what you start to believe is that it all depends on you I don't have time to do that joy refreshes your soul in other words we need to understand that God is gracious and he's abundant and he's kind and he's loving and we want to take time to soak that in and fill our hearts in fact I would say if you don't plan daily monthly and yearly times to build in fun into your life here's the deal you'll never be the person that God wants you to be because you don't enjoy great moments so let me give you just a quick next step many of my fellow workaholics have told me this chip I listen to that whole thing but I underlined almost everything in the book in chapter 8 enjoy great moments and I put the CD in my car and I've listened to it 27 times I mean I'm a workaholic to think that it's legal to have fun was such a counter-cultural counterintuitive idea for me and I got to tell you it's revolutionized my life a challenging reminder chip thanks well just before we close I want to thank each of you who's making this program possible through your generous giving 100% of your gifts are going directly to the ministry to help Christians really live like Christians now if you found this teaching helpful but you're not yet on the team would you consider doing that today to send a gift go to Living on the Edge org or text the word donate to 741 41 it's that easy text donate to 741 41 or visit Living on the Edge org app listeners just tap donate and let me thank you in advance for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do well until next time for everyone here this is Dave Drewy saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge
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