Imagine with me for a second you're in heaven, standing before the God of the universe, and He asks you, What did you do with the life that I gave you? How would you answer?
Let me remind you, this isn't hypothetical. We will all answer this question. Today, I want to help you give a good answer.
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 will wrap up this new series with Part 2 of his message from 1 Timothy, Chapter 6. Last time, Chip unpacked for us the importance of knowing our weaknesses and guarding against false teaching. In this program, he focuses on one major issue that often poisons our motives and pulls us away from God. If you're ready to learn what that is, then let's join Chip as he begins his talk in 1 Timothy, Chapter 6, Verse 15.
He who is blessed and the only sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to him be honor and eternal dominion forever. And then, almost like an afterthought, because he said, okay, Timothy, you understand, right? Remember my coaching tip, Timothy?
You need to understand your opponent. I was a pastor 10 years when I thought there was God against Satan. That's not what the Bible teaches. According to Jesus, there's two gods, me and Mammon. Materialism, wealth, money. And Satan uses that to say money will make you secure, money will make you famous, money will give you happiness, money will make you significant.
And what he's saying to Timothy is, boy, there's a trap. Because the other god, money, is always screaming. Money changes how you view and think about life, the future, and yourself, and especially other people.
And money can give you the sense that there are other people and then there's you. We all want to be really, really pretty. We all really want to be rich. We all really want to be famous. So why are the prettiest people and the richest people and the most famous people, by and large, they can't have a happy, sustained relationship?
They find themselves putting white powder up their nose and living for a group of people and fans that tomorrow it'll just be someone else and they don't care. But he doesn't throw wealthy people under the bus. What he does is address the desires behind unhealthy wealth that pierces and ruins your life. So he ends it in such a positive way. He says, instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. I mean, if there weren't wealthy people in the world, we would not be sitting in this room who underwrite tremendous amounts of things for ministries, who employ hundreds of thousands and millions of people because of their business acumen and their hard work and the companies and the things that have come with that is wealth.
They just have a level of challenge and temptation and responsibility that most of us don't have. And just like God holds me accountable for my teaching, God holds you accountable for your life and God holds them accountable for the judgment seat looks like this. It's just you and Jesus. What did you do with the time I gave you? What did you do with the money I gave you?
What did you do with the opportunity that I gave you? Life is a stewardship. And when we stand before God it won't be, I mean, thank heavens you don't get compared to other people. And He doesn't grade on the curve. He's the revealer of hearts. He knows the spiritual gifts and the passions and the abilities and the intelligence. He wired you in a certain way and the judgment seat of Christ for believers will not be for our sin. Jesus took that judgment for us.
It'll be for what did you do with what I gave you? And so He says to rich people, just instruct them, don't be proud, in other words, don't trust in your riches but on God. And don't trust in your riches because they're unreliable. But He says instead instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share. Storing up, I love this, for themselves. Treasure of a good foundation for the future, purpose clause, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
I love the translation, the life that's really life. Timothy, protect what's been entrusted to you, avoid worldly chatter, the opposing arguments of what's falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and thereby have gone astray from the faith. He started there. He ends there. And I think the truth, I mean, that just screams coaching nugget is keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time.
He is coming back. He who is blessed, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, who alone possesses immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, live your life in a way that pleases Him. And a way that pleases Him, in one word, if you trace it through this whole book, is be godly.
Right? And our response is the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil. And some, by longing for it, have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. You might just circle all the negative things in there.
And so what do you do? Flee from these things, you man of God. Put a box around, pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. And then put another box around, fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called. And you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Boy, those are strong, strong words.
Pursue, fight, take hold. Well, Paul's coaching the subject is God and money, false, true teaching. The issue is, at the core, is motives and loyalty to Christ to the very end.
He's raised the issue of the other god in his tactics, money, mammon, who promised all the things that God says, you're secure in me. Your future's with me. You're significant because of who I made you and your position with me.
And the underlying question is, am I willing to be content with what I have at any given time and to make decisions based on God's will, not the world's values? And there's different seasons. And by the way, it works two ways. My parents were school teachers. I call us lower middle class. And you buy the little ranch house that's like 900 square feet. And then after a few years, you get a 1500 square foot house.
And then coming out of seminary, we didn't have anything. And little by little by little, I found myself in multiple different economic worlds. And then when my three boys were done with college, I found myself for the first time in my whole life with, my oh my, I live in Atlanta in a nice housing development, and I have more coming in than I need. And we were on the journey of generosity, so we were, gosh, we were getting to do things we thought only, quote, rich people could do with their money. And I'll never forget, we were driving back home.
I picked up my daughter. She went to her last high school years in Atlanta and went to a really, really good public school. And one of her friends lived in a country club in the south. You probably don't know what that is.
It's a beautiful golf course. And she said, oh, Dad, you know what? You know we have a few of those little prints in our house? We have actual real paintings. And you know some of those famous people?
Yeah, she named a few artists. They have actual paintings of them hanging in their house. Dad, they're really rich.
Dad, they have a jet. And we pull into our housing development, which by the way is very nice. And then my cute little daughter said, Dad, are we rich? And I remember having just, you know, my first thought was, well, if Country Club of the South is rich, no, we're not. And that's how most of us identify wealth. We always find someone richer and say, I'm not. And in a moment of, I think, Holy Spirit, I said, Annie, yes, we're rich.
This house is, it's the nicest house I've ever been in. And we have no pressure financially whatsoever. We're rich.
And she said, well, what's that mean? I says, it means we have a lot more responsibility than most people. Because it doesn't matter how old you get, Annie, money changes how you think. And if you don't constantly choose to put yourself in places of being dependent on God, you will, we're just human, we all will trust in money. I remember saying, Annie, you know what I realize is I was way better at being content when I was poor than I am being rich. I don't know how to work through it. I feel guilty a lot. And we got where we tithed and then it was 15 and 20 and then 30 percent and more of our income.
I think the apostle Paul was right. He had learned it's a process. It's a learning to be content with little or much. And then I think in one of those rare moments, you know when you're a father and you get it right, you kind of realize, wow, I don't know where that came from. Thank you, Lord. I said, honey, here's the deal.
If God decides to shift our world and it sure could happen, we got to be just as content. So that's where you got to keep the equilibrium. The action here is to step away and let me get really practical as we wrap things up. I don't know that there's anything more helpful because your money always reveals your heart. Do a personal inventory of your finances.
I mean, just get clear. This is exactly how much comes in. This is what goes out. This is my level of debt. This is how much, if I have anything on credit cards, this is how much equity I have in my house, if I have a house. I mean, just do an absolute personal inventory of your current finances. Read or take a course on biblical finances, whether it's Crown or Dave Ramsey.
But get where. There's some excellent, excellent books and courses you can take where how does God view money. And then align your money with God's principles.
That's sort of the general game plan. The unspoken need, I think, is to develop a spiritual, financial game plan. And I put that perfectly, a spiritual financial game plan. And by the way, some of you have a financial planner or people who help you. Some of them are Christians.
Some are not Christians. Let me just pause to say some people that will help you with your financial game plan think that security is the only issue you should consider. And how do you make sure you can take care of you? And they have built into it ideas about retirement that you need to think through for your own self to say, is it really God's will to stack up as much as I can so in case I do live to 100, I can live at X level?
I think we have to really start asking ourselves some really hard questions. So that's why, for me, I think it's important to have someone who's helping me with my finances that has the freedom to speak into my life and has also the same biblical worldview that I seek to have. Know what the Scripture teaches about money. Let's read.
Just follow along. This is Jesus because it's so important. Matthew chapter 6. Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.
Why? Where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. This isn't a prohibition about money.
It's about being smart. If you store stuff up where someone can get it or destroy it, it's not good. But store up for, if you're watching, for yourself.
See, I don't think most people believe in heaven or a new heaven or a new earth or all that's coming. You can actually store up for yourself treasures in heaven where neither moth or rust destroy or where thieves can break in and steal. For, here's the principle, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
It's just axiomatic. In fact, I've often flipped it the other way. When I wanted my heart to be somewhere and I know it wasn't a good place, I started giving money to that. And over time, my heart caught up. I was reading through the Psalms and reading through the Psalms.
And Proverbs, it keeps talking about the poor, the poor, the poor, and the orphan, the orphan, the poor, and the poor. And I just realized in a moment of truth, I don't think I care about orphans. And I just thought, God cares about orphans. And I had a buddy that I'd done, he started these orphanages throughout Zimbabwe. And I had to teach in South Africa and I said, Glenn, could I come and visit? And we did a little pastor's conference and I went to all these orphanages. And this little girl, her actual name was Blessed. She would not leave and I walked with her on my hip. And they heard about Jesus and they had little chickens. And we went home and we started giving a little, and then a little bit more, then a little bit more, then some big chunks. And then I had a big contract come from a book and we gave a really big chunk.
Guess what? I really care about orphans. I really love orphans.
And I didn't give a rip about them probably 15 years ago. Not that I didn't want to. Once my treasure started caring about orphans, then my heart got moved. Second is start with the 10-10-80 principle. Give the first 10% of what comes into the Lord. Save the next 10% and live on the 80%. Oh, I could never do that.
Yes, you could. You're going to have to have a budget. You're going to need help and you're going to have to make hard decisions. But don't. Don't get thinking that now that I've given 10%, God's got his and I've got mine. He owns everything. I'm going to give an account for the 10 or 20 or 30 or 40 or whatever percent I ever get to.
And all the rest that he lets me keep to do other things with. But you've got to start somewhere. And what happens is giving forces you to live by faith. Remember the manna? Do you ever understand like the very first thing God did with the Israelites was manna and it was daily?
Why? He wanted. The goal wasn't food. The goal was will you trust me one day at a time?
And so that's just a great way to start. And Luke 6 38, give and it will be given unto you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, back into your lap for whatever measure you give. This by the way is a non-financial passage. It applies to finances but this is life. If you're miserly with your time, miserly with your money, miserly with your gifts, you will be as that word fully comes out, you will be miserable. And if you are generous with your time and generous with your gifts and generous with your money, you will find great joy.
It's axiomatic. And then finally share your entire financial plan with a mentor. Matthew 13 22 is the parable of the seeds and the sowers and it's the third seed that falls into the earth. It grows up and the thorns are the desires for other things and the deceitfulness of wealth that chokes out the word of God in our life. And so this is a journey. My experience and the research says that most of us as men, most of us as Christians, our finances are not in good shape.
And if your finances are not in good shape, you may not know it but your soul is not in good shape. There was a man and some of you that are older, could I encourage you maybe to do this for your pastor or do it for maybe one of your sons or grandsons. A guy named Jack Cowles came to me.
He was in the church. I didn't know him very well. He said, Chip, I'd like to do something for you.
And I said, well, what's that? He goes, I'd like to pay for the first year of a financial planner. I said, oh, Jack, I don't need a financial planner. I said, I don't have any money. So he said, well, even if you don't have money, having a plan is really important.
I know this group is called Ronald Blue and Company and they do a great job and they're biblical and they would really help you. Please let me pay for that. And I said, well, I mean, if you want to, I mean, gosh, thanks, but I don't think I really need it. And then he said, well, I learned that you got a book coming out soon. I said, yeah. He said, so what are you going to do with the money?
And this is probably why he met with me. I said, I don't know. I don't even know if there will be any money to tell you the truth. I'm not an author. I'm just Chip. He said, why don't you and your wife pray and come before God and decide in advance what you're going to give out of that?
Because right now it's really easy. You don't have anything. Right? You can be as spiritual as you want.
You don't have anything. You know, it kind of reminded me, know your weaknesses better. Oh, man, I'm that guy that likes to gamble. I'm that guy that likes to, this is from God. So my wife and I prayed, and we were probably a little more spiritual than we would have been. So we designated this big, big, big chunk of anything that ever comes into the Lord. Well, you did great.
What is it? Give it away. And I'm not sure I could have ever done that if I would have known someday I might write like 20 books. And we started with a tip. The tip is, know your opponent well. You do not have a more formidable opponent in your life than the temptation and the deception around wealth and money and stuff. Second, know yourself better. How do you structure your life around the areas of money to protect your heart from being deceived?
Because this sounds really funny, and even when I say it, I almost laugh. You do understand that when you're deceived, the person that doesn't know it is you. I meet a lot of pastors, and I'll talk like this to them. Oh, well, you know, I work so hard at the church, and I do have some debt and this and that. I don't really give because, and I'm thinking, you are deceived, my brother. Lots of debt, lots of stress, lots of pressure. If you continue in the truth, the truth will set you free. And money is a hard one to get our arms around.
It may take a few years to get out of debt. It may be an incremental journey to begin to find the joy. But I will tell you what, man, you know why I got to write really big checks to orphans? Because when it came in, it already gets set aside over here. God, what do you want to do with it? You know, we have a ministry, and we have lots of people of all levels that give. And some people just give horrendously, generously that allows us to do things all around the world. I mean, we've got a couple three million books that we've been able to put in China translated with training. I mean, it's millions and millions of dollars. I mean, I was just a little donkey that went in and did the teaching and the training, but I could never afford to do any of that.
I would have never dreamed that I could get to be a part of that. Do you know what that is? He who is faithful in a very little thing be faithful also in much, and he that's unrighteous in a very little thing will be unrighteous also in much.
And Jesus was talking about money in that passage in Luke 16. Guys, God loves you so much. Father, thank you for the privilege of being with your sons, these good men. Will you protect them? Help them be godly.
In Jesus' name, Amen. Chip will be right back with his application for this message Step Away from his series The Book of 1 Timothy Life Coaching from the Apostle Paul. Now, if you look at that word coach in the dictionary, you might see phrases like one who teaches, gives instruction, or provides special training.
The question is, who's coaching you, and who are you coaching? In this new 12-part series, Chip dives into one of the most well-known mentor-mentee relationships in the Bible. He'll unpack what we can learn from Paul and Timothy's bond and how to apply these lessons to our lives and pass them on to others.
If you've missed any part of this series, the Chip Ingram app is a great way to catch up any time. Well, before we go any further, I'm joined now by our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram. And Chip, I understand you have a special word for our listeners.
Absolutely, Dave. What I want to share now is really important. There's about 8 billion people in the world today, but there's only one you. And you know, God has wired you with specific gifts and talents. Your life experience and your story are unique. He knew exactly who you'd become long before you took your first breath. And He's got a purpose and a plan for your life.
But do you know what it is? Well, here at Living on the Edge, we've created a brand-new resource called The Real You. It's an online questionnaire designed to provide insight into how God wired you. This is more than spiritual gift tests. You'll identify the patterns in what you think, what motivates you, and why teams need someone just like you.
It'll take about 20 minutes to complete, and it won't cost you a thing. Then based on your responses, The Real You will offer suggestions about how you can practically live out God's purpose for your life, whether that's at home, in the office, at church, or in your community. As a Living on the Edge partner, we want you to be the first to access this resource. Head over to TheRealYou.org to learn more. That's TheRealYou.org.
Most Christians don't know how to leverage their God-given wiring and experiences for the kingdom. We want to change that. Thanks, Chip. Well, as you can tell, we are really excited about this new resource. We hope The Real You will help you not only discover who God made you to be, but how He made you to think, act, and live.
As Chip said, you can sign up for this free assessment by going to TheRealYou.org. Or if it's easier, text the word REAL to 74141. That's the word REAL, R-E-A-L, to 74141. App listeners, tap Special Offers. Well, with that, Chip, let's get to your application that we promised.
As we close today's program and close this entire series, I can't move on without just encouraging you to do something that is a pain that you know you need to do, that you're not motivated to do, but it will be of such great value. Your money reveals your heart. Your money reveals your relationship. Your money and your debt level and your spending and your giving or your lack of it, all those things will tell you more about your genuine heart relationship with God than almost anything. And here's the principle, and this is why I'm so emphatic. Your life will never be in line with God until you get your money in line with God. The reason that Jesus spoke more about money than heaven and hell combined isn't in any way to get our money. It's that it's our priority a meter.
It shows us where our values are. And so, could I encourage you to do an inventory? I mean, for 30 days to just track where your money goes. Could I encourage you to find, you know, one other person that would help you get a biblical view of finances, take a course?
There's so many good resources. And then third, could I encourage you to take a step of faith and to do the very simple acts of giving the first portion of your finances to God with each paycheck to next save, even if it's not a lot to actually save something and then to live on less than what's left rather than continue to go into debt? It will be hard. It will be challenging. It will change the course of your life. You will have to trust God. You'll have to make hard decisions.
You'll have to say no to some expenses. But I will tell you, you will never, ever regret it. Paul was saying to Timothy, you got to step up, you got to step down, you got to step in, you got to step out, you got to step into, and then you got to step away from the things that draw you away from the Lord. And that's our prayer for you. I hope you'll take this coaching from the Apostle Paul in a really serious way. It'll produce great results in you and through you.
Keep pressing ahead. Thanks, Chip. As we wrap up this program, just a quick but important thought.
Living on the Edge depends on listeners just like you to help us continue to encourage Christians to live like Christians. So would you consider partnering with us on a monthly basis so others can benefit from the ministry of Living on the Edge? You can set up a recurring donation by going to LivingOnTheEdge.org or via the Chip Ingram app. Or text the word DONATE to 74141.
It's so easy. Text the word DONATE to 74141. And thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. Until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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