Is life really tough for you right now?
I mean, your job's not rewarding. Maybe your marriage feels stale. You're dating someone and all you do is fight. I mean, are you just like, I'm tired of all this stuff. I'm going to make a big change.
Well, let me encourage you before you take that big step and do something drastic that you stay with me. Because we're going to learn from God when it's time to move on and when it's time to stay put and why. 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 today we're wrapping up our series, Five Lies That Ruin Relationships. But before we get started, if you think this series would help others in your life, would you take a minute after this message and share it with them?
Either through the Chip Ingram app or by downloading the free MP3s that you'll find at livingontheedge.org. Well, with that, let's join Chip for part two of his message, Why a Change in Scenery Rarely Improves the View. He picks up in James chapter five, verse 10. Notice there's a second lesson, not just from the farmer, but there's a lesson to be learned from the prophet. And notice what he says here about the prophets. He says, brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets, plural, who spoke in the name of the Lord.
And you think to yourself, well, what's amazing about that? It says, well, we're commanded to be patient even when our circumstances are unfair and unjust, verse 10. See, that's what I get from the prophets.
When I study the prophets' lives, I'm just thinking, if you really love God, if you're really for God, if you're really willing to take a stand, if you're going to live a righteous life, then life's going to be good. You're going to be happy, right? Yeah, Daniel, happy, happy, happy with all those lions. I'm the lion tamer.
This sure is fun. Jeremiah, happy, happy, happy. I'm in a cistern down in a well. Now I'm in prison. Happy, happy, happy. Study the life of the prophets.
My lands, they do exactly the right thing, and they are treated with injustice and lack of fairness. Or Joseph, here's a guy that, I mean, all I want to do, you gave me a dream. I want to do your will, Lord. So what's he get? Falsely accused, sent to prison unjustly.
His whole life for the first 30 years is like a bad dream. God wants us to learn the lesson of the prophets. They spoke God's word. They were in the center of God's will.
We have skewed expectations about what it means to walk in the will of God. See, it's the happiness cult that we've produced in America. You know, I'm a Christian. I should be happy. If I'm not happy, something's wrong. God, change it quickly, quickly, quickly. I mean, I want to put it in the spiritual microwave. Oh, goody, happy, happy, happy.
Now everything's great. You know? And he says, learn a lesson from the prophets, Daniel, Jeremiah, Joseph, Elijah. They were in the center of God's will, and being in the center of God's will meant pain and suffering and injustice and difficulty and being light and salt in a perverse and dark world.
I mean, even in Jeremiah's case, I happen to be reading there right now, God even tells him, guess what? You just obey, and by the way, they're not going to listen. How would you like that job assignment? And he didn't say, well, could I get a transfer? I'd like transferred out of this one. I'd kind of like to be a prophet in some other... No, no, Jeremiah, remember what he said in the first chapter? You know, before you were in your mother's womb, I have called you for this. Life is not certain, life is not easy, and life is not fair. That's a biblical appraisal. When you do what is right, when you're in the center of God's will, if you are expecting that everything lines up and goes your way, that your circumstances align, that people are going to be wonderful, that all your kids are going to make great decisions and turn out right, that you're never going to have a major problem in your marriage, that you're never going to go through difficult, painful health issues, that you're never going to be betrayed by a friend, that you're never going to have to have a messy church situation, you're never going to have someone in business cheat or lie or do something difficult to you, then you set yourself up wrongly for a life of despair and discouragement, and you'll get disillusioned with God.
I meet Christians all the time that are disillusioned with God. God promised the abundant life. God promised I would be happy. God promised, and I'm thinking, yeah, God promised persecution, God promised suffering, God promised character building. How come no one's writing books on that? Seven steps to great character through intense suffering over a long period of time.
I can just see that baby flying off the shelf. But is that not, if Jeremiah was writing a book, that's the one he'd write. If Joseph was writing a book, that's the one he'd write. But what do you find out about those prophets? What's the lesson?
It's where they land. It's not what they go through. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various or all kinds of difficulties. Knowing that the testing of your faith produces perseverance, hupo meno, he's going to use this word, hupo to be under, meno, stress or pressure.
Knowing the testing of your faith produces perseverance and allow, it's a command, but it's in the passive voice, allow perseverance or the difficulty to do what? Produce Christ-like character or maturity in you that God may do in you what he wants to do. See, the premise of the New Testament is not God wants to make you happy. You know what the correct premise is? God wants to make you holy. It changes everything, doesn't it? That's his agenda.
That's his agenda. He gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, pastors, teachers for the work of building up the body of Christ. Until they all attain to the unity of the faith, of the knowledge of the Son of God to a mature man. What's a mature Christian? It's one who looks like Christ. How does God produce maturity or holiness or Christ-likeness? It's not because we're happy all the time and everything goes our way. It is when he takes us through things that the pressure and the difficulty like a piece of coal in the heart of the earth, the pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure, pressure takes it and makes it a diamond. Or it's like the piece of sand inside of a pearl where all the rubbing and the difficulty and the irritation produces a pearl. God's looking to create men and women whose character and whose hearts and whose lives from the inside out are diamonds and pearls reflecting the fragrance of Christ.
That's his agenda. But if we think it's to make us happy, we get very ticked off with God and disillusioned when he allows us to experience what the prophets experience. Jot down, if you will, Genesis 50-20.
Here's the principle. Here's what we learn from the prophets. It is a fallen world. Life is not fair.
Life is not certain. But all the evil, all the difficulty that came into Joseph's life, he could, when he saw it all, look backwards and said to his brothers, as for you, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. He said, your motives were bad. You were evil. You did the wrong thing.
Some of you, I'm reading into the text here, don't look for this in Genesis, but a little elaboration here. Some of you wanted to kill me, thank heaven. Some of you wanted to put me in slavery. Potiphar, his wife did me in. He treated me wrong.
The baker, he didn't even remember my name. All these things happened to me, thinking directed for evil, but God meant it. He's sovereign. He's all knowing. He's all powerful. And notice the text, he's compassionate. That word means there's something down in, literally, the idea is out of the bowels of God, out of the inner parts of God, that when he sees your need, he wants to rescue and help.
He loves you. God, out of his mercy and out of his grace, meant it for good to bring about what? He delivered all these people.
He wanted the nation of Israel to be a little incubator over here. And the way he did it is he sent me. And he knew there'd be a famine, and he knew what he wanted to do, and he knew the promises he made to Abraham, and what he did is he brought me here, so that by the time the things happened, I would be the second most powerful man in the world, and I would be able to be the shepherd and take care of God's people. Other people don't have the power to ruin your life. Circumstances do not have the power to ruin your life.
The only thing that can ruin your life is failure to believe that God is good, God is sovereign, and God is faithful to his promises. And so he says, learn first the lesson of the farmer. There are seasons in life, patient, wait, patient, until you see God bring about what he's going to do.
Don't miss out. Second, learn the lesson of the prophet. Even when life is unfair or unjust, don't get your expectations skewed thinking that God has left you. If he left you, he left Daniel, Jeremiah, Joseph, Elijah, Paul, 11 of the 12 disciples. Does anyone know how they happened to die? They were martyred.
And the only guy left is on an island, you know, writing down Revelation for us. I mean, the prosperity gospel won't work through the New Testament, but didn't work for Paul, didn't work for James, I mean, he's saying, so I follow Jesus, what happened to you, Paul? They killed me. Peter, what happened to you? I followed Jesus, they killed me. James, what happened to you? I followed Jesus, they killed me. You know, there's another good book title, How to Walk with God and Die Young.
And you know when they did it? Church History says Peter didn't do it like God deserted me. Peter requested to be crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to be crucified in the same way as his Lord. Paul would understand that it's not the frivolous being happy and all the circumstances lining out. In Philippians chapter 3, he will say, for me, forgetting what lies behind, pressing forward, I want to apprehend or gain or get what God's called me to.
And so what I want to do, I want to know him. I want to know the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering. You will never be closer to God, you will never have more intimacy with God, God will never speak more loudly or more clearly than when you are in pain, when you need him. When there's, you know what, when sex and food and trips and money and possessions and houses, no matter how nice they are, all in the right frame of mind with all the right people can't deliver, Jesus said, I'll be there for you. The third lesson we learn is the lesson from Job. We are commanded to persevere even when we don't understand why God is allowing such adversity in our lives. Notice it changed from patience, patience to persevere. The third picture with Job is this idea of, I alluded to, patience is having a long fuse. But with Job, it's not just patience, it's perseverance. Perseverance is holding up under pressure.
The word picture that I have, I have a little stick figure in my notes that when I think of this word, hupo under meno, is I have a little stick picture and I take a bag with a bunch of weights. And the bag with a bunch of weights is on his shoulder and on it is stress, pressure, life demands. And hupo meno is, I'm under this and what happens is with a lot of people, if you put weight on their back, it crushes them. But these people, just one day, one moment of time, this marriage is difficult, this health is difficult, this financial situation is difficult, this conflict at church is difficult, but I'm going to hold up today, I'm going to hold up today, I'm going to hold up today.
It hurts, I'm going to hold up today. And when you persevere and persevere and persevere and persevere and persevere, all you people out here that are athletes, you know, there's some people that actually pay to get to do this. But instead of a bag, it's actual weights. And if you take actual weights and you put them on your shoulder and you persevere and you persevere and you persevere and you persevere and you do about three sets of that with just a little bit more, then your legs will burn and then your core will get strong and you do that for about six months and you know what, you can get into that thing and it's no problem at all.
Because the weights don't change, but the person under the weight gets stronger. Did you ever consider that part of God's plan may not be to deliver you out of your difficult circumstance, but He might want to deliver you through it? And there's biblical precedent, isn't there? The Apostle Paul, I mean, he had no faith. The Apostle Paul had a pretty powerful prayer life. The Apostle Paul had seen the third heaven.
Who knows what that is or what it looks like, but we're going to find out soon. And he asked God one time, two times, three times, take the adversity away. Take the thorn in my flesh away. We don't know what it was, but some difficult, painful, physical thing that just bugged him to death. And what did God say? No. See, if he went to a meeting today, people would say, well, Paul, you just don't have enough faith.
That's your problem. If you just believe God, then no, no. God's will in this situation for him was no.
But then in 2 Corinthians 12 verses 9 and 10, he tells him why. He says, Paul, my grace is sufficient for you because power is made perfect in weakness. I'll do something in you.
You hupo meno. You allow me to strengthen who you are as a man in your inner man. My power is perfected in your weakness and in your pain. In fact, we learned the reason he got the thorn was that he saw and had such a revelation of who God was and what he'd done that arrogance would have been impossible. And so it kept Paul in the sense of dependency out of his pain.
Could it be that God has something so wonderful to do in you and through you that he has chosen not because you've been bad but because you've been good and he knows that he can trust you with it to allow you to endure through the pain of the relationship or the health issue or the difficult situation and that through the pain, his grace will be sufficient and one day you'll be able to say, therefore, most gladly, I will take joy or rejoice in difficulty and suffering and persecutions. And he goes on and lists about everything bad that could ever happen in your life because when I am weak, I am strong. That's the lesson of Job, isn't it? Persevere. Persevere.
Why? Because God's plan is at work even when we can't see it or understand it. Did Job know what was going on? He didn't have a clue.
He did not have a clue and his friends were not a lot of help. But he knew God. There's a song I heard years and years and years ago and who knows who wrote it and who knows the melody but I mean there was one line in it. It says, when life is hard and difficult, I'm paraphrasing here because I'll get to the line that I really like and you just don't think you can take it. It says, when I can't see your hand, God, I can trust your heart. It's a great line. There are times where you're a Christian and you love God and it just stinks. There's probably stronger words the youth would use.
I don't know what they are because they don't come to my mind but you could probably think of one or two just like it. And there's times as a believer it's like that. And you pray. It's not sin. If it is, you've asked and prayed and confessed. You look back on your life and you say, I'm walking with the Lord.
I've been obedient to what I know. I feel like I'm meeting with Him. I feel like I'm honoring Him with my life.
I want to be used by Him. Life is just hard, hard, hard. And you pray and you're waiting for the breakthrough and there's no breakthrough.
It gets harder and harder and harder and harder. And you just get to where? There's one thing where there's times where you cry out to God and there's sometimes I've had at least, and I'm sure you have, where you just cry. You just get before the Lord and you cry and you go, I don't get it.
There's times there's a veil. And what He says to do is you persevere even if you can't understand. Final thing He says here is there's a lesson from the farmer. There is a lesson from the prophets and a lesson from Job. And then the application we're commanded to demonstrate.
How do you demonstrate your patience? We're commanded to demonstrate our patience and our perseverance by keeping our words and our vows. Verse 12, did you notice what it says here? Above all, my brothers, beyond all that I've said, do not swear by heaven or by earth or by anything.
Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Don't bail out. If you made a commitment to God, keep it. If you made a commitment to a marriage partner, keep it. If you made a commitment to your kids, keep it. If you made a commitment to your church, keep it.
If you made a commitment to someone else, keep it. Psalm 15, 4, he who swears to his own hurt and changes not. Those are the kind of people that can enter the temple of God, the holy hill, and be honored by Him. Now are there, please hear, are there unique situations where immorality or things happen in a marriage? Are there unique situations where churches go off doctrinally or there's dysfunctional things that you've done all you can and God releases you? Yes.
Okay? But we're living in a world of exception clauses and loopholes. We're living in a world where it really wasn't adultery, it was kind of this and kind of that and I am miserable and I'm happy so I'm going to get a divorce. Well, you know, yeah, the church really isn't all that bad but I'm just so sick and tired and so much work so I'm just going to keep your commitments. Keep your commitments until God tells you this is what I want you to do. And if He tells you this is what I want you to do, you better be able to open your Bible and say, and here's the biblical basis for it.
Not because I felt it or even because some Christian leader, person, or pastor said it was okay. We got all kind of pastors and leaders telling people unbiblical things to justify our immoral behavior in the church right now. And it's got to stop. And it's got to stop by starting with us. I know the plans that I have for you declares the Lord. Plans for good and not for evil.
To give you a hope and a future. Part of that plan will mean times where you have to patiently wait. Part of that plan will mean that you'll have to be like a prophet and say this isn't fair and this really stinks and I'm not giving up.
And part of that plan will mean you will persevere when you don't understand why God is doing what He's doing. And so you will have to trust His heart because you can't see His hands moving. But what I want to remind you is all the cards aren't dealt yet.
All the cards of your life and His purposes aren't dealt yet. And forgive me if I've kind of watched a couple of those ESPN or those, you know, poker shows now and then. But I always like it and it looks like one guy's going to lose, you know, and then they have the low-hole card, right? Card on the river, you know. And I know they're only playing for fun. There's no real money exchange.
I don't endorse gambling in any way. People take these illustrations wrongly sometimes. But you know what? The whole thing looks like this but there's one card left and you turn it over. God has a card He's not turned over in your life yet. Don't give up. In the words of Winston Churchill to his alma mater, when the war was going desperately wrong for England, he gave a very short, meaningful speech. Never give up. Never give up. Never, never, never, never give up.
And England responded to the call. And that's God's word to some of you. Never give up. Chip will be right back with his application for this message why a change in scenery rarely improves the view from his series, Five Lies That Ruin Relationships. In this ten-part series, Chip describes the common lies we tend to believe that can completely wreck our most treasured relationships. He'll also uncover the source of our quarreling, the ways words can deeply wound those we love, and how not to make decisions. Discover the practical ways we can apply God's truth to confront and dispel these harmful lies.
If you've missed any part of this series or want to share it with a friend, let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. I'll be right back with some thoughts about today's message. But before I do, I know a lot of people pray and support the ministry because you hear of exciting new things that we're doing, whether it's in China or the Middle East or working with pastors.
And you know, there's about a million people every week that are hearing God's word, about three million that are in small groups. And God is using the teaching ministry of Living on the Edge to help Christians grow in Christlikeness, and that changes families and communities. Would you pray about giving back if indeed Living on the Edge is ministering to you and helping you grow spiritually? It's just a principle that I think is very important.
Would you pray about it and do whatever God chose you to do? Thanks, Chip. Well, as you've heard, God has called this ministry to help Christians really live like Christians, both here in the U.S. and all around the world. So if you'd like to help us fulfill that mission, now's a great time to join the team. To send a gift or to become a monthly partner, visit livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app and tap the donate button. Or if it's easier, just text the word donate to 74141.
That's donate to 74141. Now for the last time in this series, here's Chip with some application. As we close today's program, my prayer for you is that you would tie a knot at the end of your emotional and spiritual rope and hang on. Don't give up and don't give in. But it's tough, isn't it?
And God never intended you to make it on your own. This is the last part of the series on five lies that ruin relationships. And I know it's a penetrating set of messages that really cause us to examine our assumptions and those unconscious lies that we believe.
And what I also know is that there's little chance of change of you trying to do this by yourself. You break these lies and build great relationships when you face them together with people that you love. Find a handful of people who'll say, hey, let's spend 10 weeks together and really expose those lies we believe and take our relationships to the next level.
Let me encourage you, dig in, expose the lies, and build the kind of relationships that last a lifetime. As we close, you know a great way to get plugged in with our resources here at Living on the Edge is through the Chip Ingram Map. There you can listen to past series, sign up for a daily discipleship, and much more. Let us help you experience God in a new personal way, starting today with the Chip Ingram Map. Well, until next time, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-19 04:48:24 / 2022-11-19 04:58:44 / 10