I've got a question for you that I want you to think hard about before you answer. Are you really enjoying life? Now, I didn't mean are you productive. I don't mean are you committed.
I don't mean are you a good family man or a single person. I don't mean are you ministering at your church. Are you really enjoying life? Today, you're going to learn that maybe you're not having enough fun and God wants to put some pizazz in your life and if that sounds good, stay with me. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.
Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. I'm Dave Drouy and in just a minute, Chip finishes his message Enjoy Great Moments from his series Good to Great in God's Eyes. Today, he'll remind us that joy and experiencing happy occasions are vital to becoming a great Christian and it pleases God too.
Want to learn how? Well, let's join Chip now for the rest of his talk from Ecclesiastes chapter three. Pleasure has been polluted and distorted and made to be the opposite of godliness. It's very subtle and this is how Satan works.
In fact, C.S. Lewis made this other great quote. He says, the problem with Christians is not that they enjoy too much pleasure. The problem with Christians is they enjoy too little pleasure. See, what we've done is we've said pleasure is over here and it's evil and bad and godliness is over here. That's not what the Bible teaches. What's the Bible teach?
The Bible teaches worldly pleasure, hedonism, the belief that satisfying sensual desires in food and sex and materialism and fame and all that will deliver for you and will feed your soul and make you a somebody. That's hedonism. Live for today. Eat, drink, for tomorrow we may die. Get it all while you can.
You deserve a break today. Get all the gusto, right? That's hedonism. That is worldly pleasure. But what we've done is we've taken pleasure and that's the only kind of pleasure. Who invented pleasure? God did.
So what we've done is we've taken the baby and we've thrown it out with the bathwater. And so what we do is we think enjoying things and pleasure somehow we've got logged in the pentium chip of our brain that's wrong. I feel guilty when I'm having fun. I feel guilty when I relax. I feel guilty when I do something for me.
I feel guilty when I take time and stop and enjoy and richly just soak in all the good things God's given me. Here's a line that you may want to jot down. It's just kind of grown out of this study.
It's been just a one-line summary for me. Pleasure is a harsh taskmaster, but it's an excellent tour guide. Pleasure is a harsh taskmaster. In other words, if you think pleasure can deliver for you, if you think that pleasure, once you get the big house, once you finally get the boat, once you remodel the kitchen, once you get the second house, once so many people report to you, once you can, you know, eat as many steaks as you want, once you can take the exotic vacations, once your body looks a certain way, if you think and believe that, once if I could get a little bit more of that drug, if I could have a super-duper off-the-chart sex life, whatever it is, it's a harsh taskmaster because it's just like a drug. No matter what hit you get, it'll take a bigger hit to satisfy you next time. It'll take a bigger hit to satisfy you next time. That's why in the whole sexual perversion, it starts with immorality and adultery and it always ends up in kiki, weird stuff because it always takes something more, something bizarre. Pleasure is a harsh taskmaster.
It can never deliver for you, but it's a great tour guide. You know, along the road of life of walking with God, stopping and enjoying the pleasure, the good pleasure that God provides, it's just kind of, ah, ooh, that was good. In the midst of a fallen world and difficulty and pain, it's like, boy, I needed that. That was an awesome meal. That was a wonderful moment. That was a great sunset. That was an awesome party. I haven't laughed that hard around the table for an hour and a half in ages.
I'll tell you what, you know what, my priorities in order, I've done this. That was a great purchase. This is a wonderful house. That was a nice walk. And see, it's a tour guide. I remember I was on a sabbatical once and I had the opportunity to go to Italy with my family and part of Europe and I'll never forget, we're on this, you know, you're on these buses, you do these tours, you know, and the guy talks through the thing that you can't understand, blah, blah, blah, blah, you know. And so we get on this bus and it's this bridge and it's in Italy, some beautiful city, I can't remember, and there's something over here and something over here and he's a tour guide.
He goes, I want you to know, please stop right here. You'll notice off and to your left is a beautiful, beautiful scenery. And now look at to your right, there's a beautiful, beautiful city. And so all the rest of the time, okay, I hear this guy in my mind, it's a beautiful picture, you know. And I was thinking to myself, you know what, God wants me to stop and say, it's a beautiful life. You got a beautiful wife. You got the beautiful children. This is a beautiful meal. This is a beautiful sky.
And I realized as a tour guide, you know what, I don't want to be on a bus looking at stuff in Italy full time, but it was an awesome break. It reminded me of how wonderful it was to get back in the saddle and teach the word of God and be the man God wants me to be, you know. And if you think I'm pushing this just a little, you know, I can't develop it fully, but let me give you a taste of both Old and New Testament in terms of what I think is an accurate theology of pleasure. The Old Testament, you know, there's feast.
Now, you know, we make these biblical words. You do know what a feast is. At a feast, people do what? They eat. When you eat like really good food and usually a lot of it with a lot of other people, it usually has something to do with fun.
I mean, just put that in the back of your mind. There were private feasts you'll notice. There were communal feasts.
And I just pulled this, anyone can do this. Zondervan Pictorial Dictionary says about private feasts, the social life of ancient Israel provided many joyous occasions that were celebrated with feasts. Weddings, the celebrations of which often lasted seven days. Can you imagine having someone getting married and everyone goes, let's take off a week and party for a week. I mean, we go three hours. I go to the wedding.
I don't have time to go to the reception. The weaning of a child. Hey, the kids weaned. Let's have a party. The birthday of a king. The arrival of an approaching dignitary. The departure of an approaching dignitary.
It's just great. Hey, someone important came. Let's have a party.
He's leaving. Let's have another party. Sheep shearing was also a joyous season where they sheared the wool and then they went to the sanctuary and they had a party. Solomon dedicated the temple with a feast.
Ancient Hebrews were not ascetics. Often feasts demanded no specific occasion other than gladness. And it quotes Job. Translation, hey, I feel happy today. How about you?
I feel pretty happy. Let's have a party. These were private feasts. Now, I wish I had time to develop all this, but you'll notice there's communal feasts. There was a feast every Sabbath. Every Sabbath, it was a joyous occasion. There were monthly feasts. There was a new moon. There were annual feasts. And the word for festival here is the Hebrew word.
It means to dance or to turn around. God put that in the Bible. Have you ever seen tiny kids? You don't have to teach little kids who enjoy life, do you? You got to teach old people like us. God says, you know what? I don't want you to forget this. So I've got these feasts.
I mean these big ones, the Passover, Pentecost, the boost, the Day of Atonement. Now here's what you need to get. Instead of taking pleasure and pushing it over here, which we end up making amusement, which means not to think, or entertainment, I need a break today, and getting movies so that I can recover from things I don't want to face. Sorry if that was a little too convicting.
I'll get back to the text. God says, I'm going to take worship and I'm going to have you stop and I'm going to combine worship and seeing me and honoring me and the reading of my word and Sabbath or rest. And then as that progresses and you see who I am, there's going to be required food. And you know, we always think of it, oh, and they had to kill the blood and the goat came and the priest did this. They did. And they gave the first portion to the Lord, right? And then the priest got some. What do you think they did with the rest of that food? They had a party. And the widows would come and the sojourners would come and people passing through would come and the Greeks would come.
And I mean, by the time of Jesus, they had thousands of people. The Passover was not like, okay, okay, the big Passover is coming. Was it sober and holy on the front end and what they remembered? Yeah. And then it was like, wow, we're delivered, we're delivered.
Woo, woo, let's go, let's have fun. And they had these week-long parties. Three or four different times they would take a week off to stop, to sing, to dance, to worship. In New Testament you have Jesus' words and works. Remember the beatitudes? Blessed are, the word is makkadios, blessed, you know what the word blessed means? Happy are. It's a deeper than superficial, but happier are those who what? Who understand who they are before God and deal rightly with their sin and respond in certain ways.
But you know, there's this thing of God wants us to enjoy. And where did the first miracle occur? Anybody remember? Albee, isn't that? Think it was at a wedding and what was the miracle? Did he heal someone or do something really spiritual? The people have been partying for a long time.
What's he do? He goes over to these six jugs and those jugs, they're not like this. They stood about this tall and were about this big around. Tell you what, there must have been a lot of people there. I mean, you know, that makes a keg look small. So he fills six kegs with wine or more. See, it violates some of our traditions. Even this feel, some of your faces are going. Sounds a little too wild to me, Ethel.
Uncle Ned would never go for this gun. It's just the Bible. You know, in the early church, love is what transformed the world.
But you know what their business card was? Joy. The business card of the early church was joy. When you met a New Testament believer you saw someone that despite all the circumstances and the fallenness of life who richly drank in the good things of God and deeply enjoyed and laughed and they actually greeted one another with a holy kiss and they embraced and they loved one another and they had fun. And you know what? They did take great risks. And they did make great sacrifices. And they did pray great prayers.
And they dreamed great dreams for the glory of God. But in a fallen world, you need to stop and enjoy great moments. And the reason we don't is we have a distorted view of God, number one.
And second is we have a warped theology of pleasure. 1 Timothy 6.17, it says, instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches. And we usually quote that part of it.
In fact, have you ever noticed how in some verses we memorize them but we only memorize parts of them and we sort of leave parts off? Pastors love this one, by the way. Instruct those who are rich in this present world.
By the way, that's all of us. Rich in the New Testament was you already had food for tomorrow and you had a change of clothes. Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or fix their hope on riches. Why? Because they're uncertain. Why would you stick your hope on something that can't come through for you? But fix your hope on God. We get that part.
The last line is who richly supplies us with, are you ready for this? All things to enjoy. You mean God wants me to enjoy?
Yeah. He wants me to enjoy life. The third reason that we fail to deeply enjoy life and enjoy great moments is our unwillingness to face our misbeliefs and or unhealthy behavior. And I'm not going to walk through these because we struggle with all of them. And as you start looking, I always watch people, they read these, oh gosh, I hope he doesn't go into these. I know I'm a workaholic, I'm a perfectionist, people have told me that. In fact, I've been into counseling for that one. I'm an approval seeker. Oh, what am I going to do?
Relax. Here's what I want you to do. I want you to understand just like I need to understand is that these are misbeliefs that have been over time kind of locked into the back of your mind and mine. And what you need to do as I read through these is just say which one of these is the most dominant in my thinking?
Which one of these, and just put a little check mark by it. Because if you don't face your misbelief, then you'll just keep going down a path to do something that is unhealthy to deliver in an attempt to find that joy and that happiness. Five quick misbeliefs. The workaholic work defines your life so your best energy is spent there. By the way, it's not working hard.
It's not even working a lot. It's working thinking your identity is your work. That is what kills you. It is a performance mentality.
The perfectionist has long hours required to make every task flawless. Why? Because people only like me. I'm only significant if I do everything right. The approval seeker work piles up because your fear of saying no to others.
I have to say yes, I have to say yes, I have to say yes. So everyone has a life and everyone likes you except you don't have a life. And you don't have a life not because you're so wonderful, not because you're so godly, not because you're such a servant, although I'm sure you are. But it's because the strokes of people and your unwillingness to set some boundaries and say, you know something, I don't need this external artificial pat on the back to make me a someone.
I'm a someone in Christ. And what I need to do is figure out his purposes for my life. And you can't please everybody anyway. So no matter what you do, some people are not going to like you. Just accept that and say, God, what do you want me to do?
The fourth is the escapist. Work provides an escape from painful relationships or problems. Boy, I've been there and done that. You feel a little conflict, go downstairs and work. Feel a little conflict, go back to the office. Feel a little conflict, vacuum.
Mmm, baby, you know. Wash those dishes. They don't need it.
They do it one more time. And we escape to places. We escape in these ways or the materialist is an insatiable desire for possessions that drive you to increase your workload. I got to have more because the lie is that people that are happy on the commercials, they look like this and they have this kind of jewelry and have this kind of purse with this kind of design on it that drive this kind of car and have these kind of areas and these kind of communities with these kind of beach houses.
And they have to have this kind of money and these kind of clothes and these kind of hair designs and this kind of stuff. And if you ever wonder where any of this stuff is really with you, just walk in your garage. Just walk in your garage. And then when you get done walking in your garage, you're going, what, what, what, you know, what?
All this stuff or probably many of you have storage. That's the new thing, right? You know? And if that doesn't work, then go into your closet. And I haven't worn this in six months and I probably will never wear it.
I really don't like it. But there's just what? There's just you get a little bit of a rush out of buying something new.
And, you know, I've met people that they've got stuff in the closet. The tags aren't even taken off. Lest you think this is just about you. Lie. Another lie for me is that thinking, reading, relaxing, enjoying, just doing things for the fun of it.
Margin. Time for me. Time with Teresa. Trips to visit kids are all luxuries to be fit in after I get all my work, deadlines and obligations completed.
Some of you again are thinking, and there's a lie in there somewhere? See, all those are renewing, refreshing times that really restore my life, my heart, my spirit, my body. And they're fun. But see, I grew up and the Protestant work ethic is a very good thing.
Don't get me wrong. But the Protestant work ethic with World War II parents like I had means when you come home, you cannot do what? You cannot play until your homework is done. Correct? You know, you cannot have any dessert until your meal is done. Correct?
By the way, I think these are good. Very good disciplines. Here's the problem. If unconsciously it gets so inbred in you, you can't have fun until all your work is done, that is good for a third grader. But when you're 42 years old, you can't have any fun until your work is done and the work is never done.
Guess what we have? You never have any fun. And you feel guilty when you do have fun. The truth is, in reality, these renewing activities are the key to healing and effectiveness in leadership and lifelong impact in health.
Therefore, it means I must say no to pressing demands in the eyes of significant others. In fact, life's value is not measured simply by the extent of one's accomplishments or impact, but by the quality of living in the process. Enjoying God's rich commands are commanded. Did you ever think you're disobeying God when you're not enjoying life?
For some of you that are guilt motivated, that'll help you. Start feeling guilty about not having fun, you know? Enjoy great moments.
It's a serious business of heaven. Let me give you a little to-go package on the solution side. How can you start enjoying great moments?
Some of you are going to walk out of here liberated and just go, whoa, I'm going to try some of these. First of all, slow down. Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Slow down. Psalm 46 10.
Be still and know that I am God. Speed kills joy. We are multitaskers and we just feel good when we get seven things done at the same time. I remember Dallas Willard in one of his books, ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.
Spiritual development and intimacy with God is impossible in a hurried life. And it was like, and for a solid two years, unless, you know, circumstances were completely unavoidable, I started driving in the right-hand lane on the freeway. When I went to the grocery store, I got in the longest line. When I went to the bank, I got into the longest line. I started arriving at meetings 10 minutes early and I decided I would slow. And I realized underneath this, I've got to get in the shortest line to get here, get here, get here, get here. And when people cut me off this behind it all was this thought where I'm going is way more important than where they're going. That's why I need to be at the front of the line. I need to get through the quick line because they just probably don't understand how important I am with all my demands and how much I have to get done as though all those people in all those cars and all those other lines are second-rate citizens. At the core of hurry is arrogance.
And God is against the proud. So slow down and it will take discipline and a plan. Second, don't take this as a weight loss plan but slim down.
Slim down. Do less so you can enjoy it more. Simplify your schedule. Simplify your meals. Simplify your calendar. Simplify your clothes. Simplify your commitments. Quit getting overextended.
Look at some of the stuff you're doing in your life and just say, do I really need to do it? This may be heresy. I remember probably eight years ago I looked at all the time and all the energy in Christmas cards and I just thought, you know something? I'm just not doing them anymore. So if you don't get one from me it's not that I don't love you.
I really love you. I just don't do them. Who said you got to do them? And most of them are. We spend all this money, all this time, all these addresses, all this stuff and the only ones I ever read are the people that write a little note on it.
Right? I got one from Bob. I give them to Bob.
God bless all those card companies making all that money. And I'm not saying they're wrong but I just thought, do I need to do Christmas cards? What motivates me to do that? Why not call five people you're really close to?
Why not do something that really matters to someone that might need some encouragement over Christmas time? Instead of all the jazz, and you know what? The older you get is crazy, isn't it? You used to give 50, now there's 100, now there's 200. Say no more.
Third, sit down. Stop living for tomorrow or because of yesterday. First Thess 5, 16 to 18 says, rejoice always, present tense. Pray without ceasing, present tense. In everything give thanks for this is the will of God. Take stock, thank God, drink it in, focus on what you do have, and just realize so much of our activity is I got to do this, I got to do this, why? Because if I don't then this will happen in the future.
Or I've got to do this, I got to do this, I got to do this, I got to do this. Why? Because someone 32 years ago said you'll never amount to anything and I'm going to prove them wrong. My land, you're 50 some years old, you've already proved them wrong. Stop doing things because of the past or for the future and take some time to sit down and live in the now. And I could be wrong, but right now maybe all you have.
I don't have any problems. Three minutes from now Jesus could come, this afternoon I might get hit by a truck. So what if I spend all my time living for something or because of? The only thing I miss is life.
Fourth, look around. What blessing from God could you celebrate today? And I don't mean, I mean everything, I mean little things. Recently I leave in the morning when it's dark and there was this huge star and I don't know anything about stars but it was so bright, it was probably a planet, it was probably Venus, but it was awesome. I lived next to the ocean for about 12 and a half years. I went through for like almost nine months once and I realized I'm a mile and a half from the ocean and I'm not seeing the ocean. You know what that's called?
Being an idiot. And when I started learning this and I started on Sunday mornings I would drive and I'd have my sermon done, I'd park over a cliff and look at the ocean and just see it come in and just thank God. And just often cry out of joy and just think, this whole big planet and all this beauty. It was a couple, three weeks ago I came home and I don't know if you've ever seen a hawk up close. They've got the big yellow eye. I mean they're majestic birds and this one was, I might exaggerate, my wife says I do on these things, but his wings, he was about that tall and I pulled in and they're supposed to be real high and in the bush next to my house is this hawk. And I pull in and he doesn't fly away so like my windshield from me to this hawk is like the first row, I mean like four feet. And when I turn off my car he doesn't fly away. And you know, I got things to do, people to see, calls to make. And I thought, you know what, when is the next time you're going to get five or six feet from a hawk? And I just sat in my car. And his eye would go, you know? And I just thought, the majesty.
I mean that eye, he can be up probably a couple hundred feet and see a mouse. I just drank it in. Drink it in. Final thing is not on your notes, write in the word plan in. Schedule great moments into your daily, weekly, monthly and annual calendar.
It's the only way I've been able to break out of this. Plan it in. I plan in a date with my wife.
I plan in, it sounds crazy, I plan in. I pick up a cup of coffee in the morning. I like coffee, okay? I hope it's not bad for me.
For those of you that are concerned, I go half-calf, so relax. I get a good cup of coffee every morning. I put on some music that really refreshes my soul. I drive the long way to work. I sing along with the song. Sometimes I do a little worship. Sometimes I pull into the parking lot and I sit in the parking lot for 10 minutes before I go in. And I just lean back and think of all the good things I have and just start counting and say, you know what, thank you God. Do you realize what a change that is instead of grabbing the cup on the way out, how to get here, you know, the coffee here, the burger here, the land of traffic, oh, the red light, well, you know everyone else runs them, I'll run them too.
Blood pressure goes up, you know? You arrive frenzied, stressed, angry, upset, that joyful, loving, winsome Christian who's going to give that great testimony, right? Plan it in.
Plan in fun, plan in activities, plan it with people you love, plan in times away, daily one-minute vacations, a chat down the hall with someone you like, vacation with a family, a great clean movie, a walk a couple times a week, go out and just look at the stars. Can I just tell you something from God? You have permission. Enjoy great moments.
You'll be glad you did. Chip will be right back with his application for this message, Enjoy Great Moments, from his series, Good to Great in God's Eyes. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus said, whoever wants to become great among you must what? Through this series, Chip explores what greatness means to God by highlighting 10 crucial practices he says are vital. Now, if you're looking to dive deeper into the subject, let me encourage you to check out Chip's book or our small group study. These are perfect tools to help jumpstart your faith.
To learn more about these resources, go to livingontheedge.org, the Chip Engram app, or call 888-333-6003. Chip's back with me in studio now. Chip, before we go any further, I can see you're wanting to jump in here and share something with our listeners.
Thanks so much, Dave. I just want to say thanks to every single one of you who partner with us at Living on the Edge. You know, some of you pray, some of you give, and some of you do both. You may not know it, but we meet as a staff Monday through Friday, and we pray.
I mean, we have staff all across the country, and we time it where we come together. We pray over you. We pray over the teaching that goes out. We pray over the projects. We have so many people that call in and say, this is a specific need, and we pray for specific needs. We pray over relationships. We pray that God will use the ministry here and around the world.
I have just one question. If the teaching on this program is making a difference in your life, would you get on board? Would you commit to pray for us? Would you commit to give?
In fact, regardless of the amount, if you could give monthly, it would make a world of difference. We have so much ahead of us. The needs are so great, and life is short. Would you go online or give us a call and become a partner with the ministry?
I'm not discouraged, because I know God's in control, but I believe He's calling us to step up and really make a difference, and we need your help to do that. Well, if you're already a financial partner, thank you. With your help, Living on the Edge is ministering to more people than ever before. But if you're benefitting from Chip's teaching and haven't yet taken that step, now would be a great time to join the team. To send a gift or to become a monthly partner, go to livingontheedge.org or text the word DONATE to 74141. That's DONATE to 74141, or visit livingontheedge.org.
HAP listeners, just tap DONATE. Well, Chip, today you talked about five specific behaviors that we tend to fall into that destroy our ability to really enjoy great moments. Now, why don't you take a few minutes and just walk through those again for us, would you? Let me just list those, and as you're listening, let me encourage you to put a little checkmark mentally in your mind to say, oh, yeah, that's me or that's me, and hopefully you'll only have one or two checkmarks.
Unfortunately, I have three. But the first is the workaholic, number two, the perfectionist, number three, the approval seeker, number four, the escapist, and number five, the materialist. And so as we taught today, we talked about how when that is your mindset, you don't have time for fun, you don't build it in, or you, the escapist, actually, you take it to the other extreme and you think pleasure is going to deliver for you what it never can. And when me personally, you know, I just admit this, I was 28 years old, I was a full blown workaholic, I probably went on four hours sleep, I really was committed to my wife and kids, and I got up and read the Bible. But I was killing my body because of my workaholism. And I felt guilty when I worked out, I felt guilty if I watched a ballgame, I felt guilty if I played nine holes of golf, I felt guilty about everything, because I was not only workaholic, but I was a perfectionist. So the sermon was never good enough, the church was never good enough, I was never good enough. Unfortunately, some of my kids would say, Dad, you kind of projected that we were never good enough. And then finally, I was an approval seeker.
And so you know, I thought if I did everything really well, then people would like me and, you know, that's like a toxic mixture. And it's amazing to think that enjoying great moments, being refreshed by God, hearing him say, I approve you, you know what, that was your best effort, it doesn't have to be perfect. And guess what, I rested from my work, and I'm God, so you can take one day off too. So all this is to say now, if you're thinking, oh, yeah, thanks, Chip, it's encouraging to know that someone else has these struggles. I didn't break out of those alone. I only broke out of those when I got with a group of people that we were really honest, and I could out loud say, I'm a workaholic. And it's, I'm not a martyr, I'm not a super saint, I'm not a super pastor. I'm a guy that desperately needs people's approval and that is sin. I'm the focus of my life. And when I did that in a group, and we processed it together, and I had some people hold me accountable, and then I renewed my mind about my thinking, I broke free of that. I always had the tendencies under pressure, but I broke free.
Find a group, study this, God will change you from the inside out. That's a great reminder, Chip. Well, to help you get into meaningful community, let me encourage you to check out our small group resources.
They're so easy to use. Chip provides the teaching, then you'll have time to discuss what you've heard alongside our helpful study guides. So if you're not in a small group yet, or you aren't sure what to study next, check out our resources today. And for a limited time, we've discounted all of our small groups tools for you. To learn more, go to livingontheedge.org or call us at 888-333-6003. App listeners, tap special offers. Well, until next time, for everyone here, this is Dave Drewley saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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