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Spiritual Simplicity - What's Love Got to Do With It?, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2023 5:00 am

Spiritual Simplicity - What's Love Got to Do With It?, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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January 10, 2023 5:00 am

Chip uncovers why a very specific attitude will destroy love and how you can avoid it.


There is one practice that is almost built into the human psyche that absolutely destroys relationships. That practice, comparing ourselves with others. The moment I compare myself with another person, I go one of two directions. I either feel inferior or superior, and neither of those responses helps me love them. Today we're going to learn how to stop comparing. And to really love people. But as we'll hear, comparison can undermine and even destroy love if we're not careful.

Let's learn how to avoid that as we join Chip for today's message. You want to become more loving in real time, here's the issue. Comparison always leads to carnality. The moment you ever compare yourself with another person, it always produces carnality.

And if you're wondering what carnality is, it's just sin. You're not loving. Because the moment you compare, there's only two directions to go. You start comparing and you go, hmm, I think that person's up here and I'm here. That's a lot nicer car. They have more visible gifts. I'm single and they're married and I wish I was married.

Or it goes the other way. You know what? That person's not very important. That's an old dumpy thing. I wonder why they act like that.

I wonder why they dress like that. And you know what? You don't verbalize it, but you feel superior. You feel better than. And when you envy people, you don't treat them in loving ways. Or if you think you're better than them, you don't treat them in loving ways. And so here's what I want you to see. We are going to go to war on the issue of comparison. Arrogance compares downward and produces pride, boasting, rudeness and independence, all of which this passage says is unloving. This is the eye saying to the hand.

I don't need you. I see where we're going. I mean, has anyone ever heard of a hand to hand conversation? It's eye to eye. I mean, the eye is the lamp of the body. I mean, the eye is what's important. The eye is what really matters. The eye is way better than the hand. You see the comparison?

By the way, it can be the exact same. Here's what's so ironic about this envy and arrogance. You can be in one room and the single people see this couple and they get married.

And the single people are going, God, I just don't understand. There's envy and resentment in my heart. And she used to be my best friend. Then she got married. Now they got a little baby.

They all seem so happy and I'm so lonely. You have the married couple with two kids or maybe three and they thought they were done. They wanted to be done. They plan to be done. They're not done. And out of the blue comes number three or number four.

And they're looking at these single people. What are you doing this summer? Well, I'm going to go on a missions trip. And then I thought I'd spend a week in Italy and with a couple of friends. And, you know, so how's your week?

It was really good. You know, I had coffee over there, had a latte with my friends, couple from work and the married couple were going, we've been in diapers 11 years. And they envy their singleness and their mobility. And see, it's not the what. It's not the what. And we compare upward or downward. The meaning of the word arrogance literally means to be puffed up, inflated, overvalued.

If the emotional kind of color for envy is red, hot, arrogance is cool, blue, above. It's like the blowfish. And I learned a fellow who owns a fish store or used to, he said, actually, they fill with anything.

He says, if you pull them out of water, they fill with air. I said, that's a good illustration because isn't that what we do? Isn't that what we do? Whatever our, you know, if it's a ministry setting, woo, if it's a financial setting, woo, if it's a relational setting, we just, when you're arrogant, you just fill up to try and project. You matter more. You're more important. And there's something that makes you feel secure by putting people down this direction. And we all do it.

It's rooted in comparison. I almost hesitate to share this, but it's probably beneficial. This is a social science experiment I'd like you to do.

Go to a coffee shop this week and you can say this is your ministry, at least application, Starbucks, wherever. And then I want you to have a book that you pretend that you read and get whatever your favorite chai or coffee and just sit there for 15 or 20 minutes. Not purposely to eavesdrop, but just to hear. Conversation here, conversation here, conversation here, conversation here.

And I'll make a prediction. Four out of five conversations are two people sitting there talking about someone else who's not there. And they're either talking about what they didn't do, what they should have done and how they don't measure up and this group is superior or they're talking about someone where this person makes them feel less than.

And there's something horrendously, sadistically and sinfully satisfying about vetting talking about someone else and how I feel better because now we're saying that about her or about him. Comparison is the arch enemy of love when you look at differences. The arrogant puffed up person has a motto or a mindset as well and basically I don't need you. You don't matter.

By the way, the more gift, the more talent, the more blessing, the more position that for whatever reason God may give you, the greater the temptation. This book is filled with people that started out very, very humble and God could you ever use me and then they become king and they become famous and then the hubris kicks in. Because after the attitude of I don't need you and you don't matter, I'm indispensable comes feelings like I'm superior. I really am more important. I mean they talk about other people as though they're less intellectual, their feelings don't matter as much. What they do is important for those kind of people, you know, obviously. And then there's this entitlement mindset. You're special.

The action steps of arrogance is when you're arrogant, you automatically become independent. You don't need as many people. I mean, you are, you're what matters.

You're the go to person. You're the center of attention. And so the more blessing, the more money, the more position, the more power, you actually don't need people. And then the step after independence, arrogant people are independent and beyond being independent, it moves to the next one. Then they're not accountable. These rules about money and how to use it, these rules about sexual purity and what you cannot do. Well, that's for other people.

But I mean, my schedule and my demands, there's a different set of rules for me. That's usually well on the journey to their downfall. And after the independence and the lack of accountability, then they become indifferent to the needs of others. And it's not often just from the words. It's a look, it's a glance to body language. But when you're around them.

They almost don't have to say it. You feel or are attempted to made to feel less than. Now, I'm going to suggest that we all struggle with both envy and arrogance, but we tend to habitually fall into one camp more than the other. My personal camp is arrogance. I struggle with arrogance all my life. Part of it is your personality. Part is your giftedness.

Part is your family of origin. I mean, can you imagine having a dad when I was three years old before I walked out of the house? There was this easel and he was teaching me to read and then he was teaching me to spell long words so he could impress his friends.

I'd go to the swimming pool that he managed in the summer. And he was a teacher and a coach. And Chip, tell him, intercontinental ballistic missile, a three year old. You know, and then, you know, he would say, Chip, this is true. I mean, this country is going to need a good president someday.

Can you imagine this? And I think, and so, I mean, the good side, you talk about a kid that grew up with confidence. But you talk about a guy that had a warped, arrogant view that God has been cutting through for years.

So we all will lean one way or another. Often people that have had difficult paths feel like they never quite measure up, struggle with envy. You know, why did God make her so pretty? Why did he get that job? You know, I'm tired of, you know, batting eighth in the lineup. You know, that guy's a jerk and he bats third and he plays shortstop and now he just went IPO in his company.

That is so sickening. All right. Well, let me give you a remedy, a very specific love step to attack comparison if you compare upwardly. It says, the envious must believe that God is good and has sovereignly and wisely given them what is best for them and best to fulfill his purpose.

You might circle that in your notes. Notice it doesn't say the envious must try harder not to envy. Trying harder not to envy doesn't, you've got to think differently. God is good. He's in control. You are who you are, you're where you're at, and he wants to work in your life and he's for you and he's good. And every person in every season, everything doesn't look great. He cares for you and who he made you is what matters in embracing that.

I have really honestly not had much struggle with envy in my life because of my warped arrogance. There's a particular friend of mine in another state. He's a teaching pastor. He's written books. We're friends.

We've had breakfast and coffee and we're very similar age and in about a six or eight week period to make the long story short. Everywhere I went, his books are here. I look at a conference and he's speaking here and then a couple of friends. Oh, I got to tell you, this is the most helpful thing ever and ever. And normally it was like, great, man, he's my friend.

The kingdom's growing. And then even my son was telling me, Dad, I got to tell you, I just this guy, this is the best thing in the whole world. And a little something inside went. Son, are you aware I kind of do some of the same stuff? I mean, I'm your I'm your I'm your dad, you know, and then and then, you know, it's like it hit me, hit me, hit me. And then I walked into a bookstore and his books are face forward, like in a Barnes and Noble or someplace. And and, you know, my normal racks be all great.

Man, someone solid. This is really super. Instead, this is so embarrassing. So instead it was like, I wonder, I wonder how my books are doing. OK, Christian living.

Let's see. H, H, H, H, I. J. It must be sold out. No, not there. Don't even carry it. And I remember then I I read something and I mean, this guy's really helped me as a friend.

I love him. But I felt less than my less than was followed by kind of didn't want to be around that. And I felt resentful. And it was like, oh, this is so ugly. And so I I did a very specific steps that God led me to that I want to give you that will help you with your person. Number one, I faced the desire, my jealousy.

So I called it all kind of other things, but I kept having this uneasiness. It really helped to say I'm envious, I'm jealous. The second thing is I I didn't try and squash the desire. So what I want to say, God, I never want you to use my books. God, I never want you to use my life. No, I redirected and said, God, I really want you to use my life. But I want to be your man, your spot used at whatever level to promote ministry and kingdom, not compared to anything or anyone else. And so I repent of that.

But I long for you to use my life. Third is I meditated on God's goodness. See, at the end of the day, it was like when you start comparing, it's like, well, if God was really good, he would have given me a mate by now. If God was really good, he would have kind of healed my body like he did this other person's body.

If God was really good, he would have. When we compare, we begin to believe the lie that God isn't good. The very first sin in the Bible, Eve was deceived because she believed God was holding out.

Eve, I mean, do you understand what this will do for you? And she believed that God was holding out, that he wasn't good. And so you meditate on that.

The fourth specific thing you do to overcome envy is choose gratitude and give thanks. So I begin to thank God and I begin to thank God for this guy. Thank God for his books. Thank God my lands, my son is listening and reading this person and it's helping him and encouraging him. Thank you, Lord.

And then I begin to thank God. And then I willfully decided it's made a little thing. I said, you know something? I'm not going to compare. So I just have a new little rule.

I'm not going to go into bookstores and see where I'm not or where I am or care either way. And I just decided, you know what? That little practice just sets me up for doing and having bad comparative thoughts. You can be jealous or you can be grateful, but those two won't live in the same heart. You start thanking God for this person, thanking God for his blessing, thanking for what he's done, and then start thanking for what he's done. Either you will envy what others have or you'll thank God for what you do have. And you start doing that. I will tell you what, the envy will dissipate. And then finally, connect with that person if it's appropriate and serve them.

Now, this person lives in a whole nother state. So I just I remember as an application I've been praying for him. Hey, his name, I just want to let you know, everywhere I've turned around in the last three or four weeks, God is using you in amazing ways. Thank you for your impact in my life. And I just want to encourage you, keep pressing ahead and hang in there, Chip. You know, a few hours later, thanks, Chip. And you know what?

I was free. And now we're both we're in the kingdom of God boat and we're both rowing together toward what God wants. Aren't we going the same direction?

And so I want to rejoice in that. For the arrogant, you must admit our need and choose to be vulnerable in order to receive the goodness God in their daily experience. Arrogant people don't have people close to them.

They keep getting separated, separated, more and more independent. And everyone sees them as powerful. In fact, I work with one group of guys recently and I said, you know why most of you don't have any close friendships? And they all happen to be in a room and they all own their own business.

I said, because you can either fire them or disinherit them. And that's why you get very little truth in your life because they're intimidated by you. And you know what they don't understand? They don't understand how lonely it is to be, quote, as influential and affluent as you are. They don't understand the issues in your marriage that other people don't understand.

They don't understand that when you start having a relationship in the back of your mind, you're always wondering, is this person trying to get into my wallet, my portfolio or my Rolodex? And so you become an untrusting person. You become more and more independent. You will gravitate toward this very dangerous place of not being accountable. And then you'll start using people because pretty soon affirmation is all you get.

You don't get a lot of real love. And so you have to make more and more impact and do and do more and earn, earn more. And so you use people to get things done. And that's called manipulation. And your soul dries up when that occurs. Arrogant people need to choose to be vulnerable.

So you need a safe place to do that in order to receive the goodness of God in their daily life. And I will tell you that there's three or four things you can do that will give you some real help here. One is remember that everything you have is from God. In chapter four of this book, Paul says, what do you have that you haven't received? The brains you have, the opportunity you have, the family that you have, the money that you have, the gifts that you have, the talent that you have. They're from God.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, from the Father of lights with whom there's no variation or shifting shadow. You don't own anything. You are not the blowfish. You're just a fish. And God can fill you up.

And I'll tell you what, he can take you down. And you just need to understand it's a stewardship. God, I'm not sure why you gave me this position. I don't know why you gave me these gifts. I don't know why you've given me this family. I don't know why you've allowed me to be single and free. I don't know why you've given me this money. I don't know why people look to me.

But what I know is it's a sacred stewardship. Second thing, remember your roots. Remember your roots. You got to remember where you came from. You know, I remember Kaufman, Texas, 35 people. And I have a friend.

This is the third one. Hang out with some people that know your roots. That no matter what is ever written about you or what people say about you, no matter how many zeros get at the end of your name or how many letters. There's some people who know you. And you know what?

They are totally unimpressed. Played golf two weeks ago with a guy that I spent 18, 20 years with as friends and ministry. And, you know, he just he has the gift of bluntness. And I so love him for it. And I mean, it's just he loves.

Here's the other thing. He loves me for me. Because he loved me when we were in ministry together with. Well, he came on when we were surging.

We were up to 60 people or 100, you know? And he just loves me. I have another friend who's on our board that I've known for 28 years and he'll bring up the past. And I know what he's doing.

And I so love him for it. You know what he's saying? Chip, remember when you and I were painting your bathroom in that very first church? Remember the house with all the cracks in the foundation? And remember when you did that silly, stupid thing?

Yeah. Remember when you know what he's doing? He's saying, I love you. But tell you what? It's God. You're just a steward. You're just a piece of flesh. And he's filled you with opportunity and some gift. And you'll stand before him on it.

I just want to remind you. And see, the thing about envy and arrogance, remember, they're just the hit man. The core is comparison.

That's what we've got to eliminate. I'm giving you specific ways for you to say, I either lean toward arrogance or lean toward envy. And how do I address it? And I want to encourage you here that fourth is admit your needs and invite people into your life. If you're arrogant, admit your needs. I didn't want to do this. In fact, I came to last night's service and I didn't have this. And as we were singing one of the songs, just the Spirit of God whispered, you need to share this. I like to say this is from 10 or 20 years ago when I used to be an arrogant jerk. But it's from August of this year when I acted like an arrogant jerk. A verse came to my mind at the end of the day.

I traveled and I had the privilege of having dinner with my older sister that I rarely see. It says the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately wicked. Who can understand it? That verse came to my mind from Jeremiah. And then this is what I wrote in my journal. As I finished up my day of travel yesterday and enjoyed a rare evening with my sister Jeannie, I realized how true that verse is above. They were all little things throughout the day or so I thought.

And one by one, the Holy Spirit brought them to mind as I walked back to the hotel. I remember ignoring the man in the wheelchair going through security, caring more about my place in line than demonstrating servanthood or concern. I even secretly thought he doesn't need that chair. He's just doing this to dish everybody.

Yeah, I'm sure you've never had those thoughts. Second, being so consumed with my work on the plane, I ignored the man next to me named Michael. Then when he asked, what do you do? I postured something about being an author and returning to the local church as a pastor. But fundamentally, I was just seeking to please men. I didn't want to be viewed as just a pastor. I wanted to be important and significant because of my miles I got bumped up to first class and I wanted to impress.

God brought Galatians 1 10 and Luke 16 15 to mind as I recalled those events. Later that night, I had dinner with my sister and realized that I took away one of the few opportunities my sister could have to be my big sister and take care of me and give to me and be blessed. And I insisted I had to pay for the dinner. Pride in its many insidious forms is so ugly. All of this insensitivity, self-focus, self-absorption, all the while while I was writing a new introduction for the book, The Genius of Generosity.

How ironic and sad. Father, where would I be apart from your great mercy and steadfast loyal love and forgiveness? Thank you for applying the work of your son Jesus to my sin and forgiving and cleansing me last night after I became aware of it. Help me today to please you, not people. Help me today to be a man whose life and motives are highly esteemed in your eyes, not seeking to be highly esteemed in the eyes of men. Help me today to love people and not impress them. Help me today to not compare myself with anyone in any way or judge or evaluate others based on their outward appearance, wealth, position or perceived value to me or our ministry. Help me from any and all false humility or posturing that communicates that I'm more than I am. Finally, Lord, help me today to do justice, to love kindness and walk humbly with you.

Now, that's ugly. But it was in comparing myself with others with my arrogance. And therefore I was unloving to my sister. I was unloving to a man who God may have wanted to hear the gospel. I was unloving because in my comparison I compared downward and me and mine and what I had to do was here instead of considering others more important than myself. Where are you on the journey?

What if this week you said, God, I'm going to attack the hit man of either arrogance or envy? I want to maximize my love so I can minimize the urgent and the demanding that is masquerading and causing my life to be so complex. Chip will be right back with his application for this message, What's Love Got to Do With It, from his series Spiritual Simplicity, Doing Less, Loving More. Most of us live very hectic lives that move too fast, demand too much and deliver too little.

If you're desperate for an alternative that actually works, then this study is for you. Chip's teaching will help you get out of this destructive pattern and reveal how to better prioritize what matters most and love others in a fresh, revolutionary way. If you've missed any part of this series, let me encourage you to catch up via the Chip Ingram app.

Chip's back with me in studio now, and Chip, you wrapped up this message talking about how we can get stuck in the cycle of comparison. And often when we do that, we get so focused on the wrong stuff and neglect our relationship with God. So for people who feel out of sync in their faith, how can they find that healthy spiritual 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's 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 going to meet every week or every other week. We're going to do life together. We're going to be open.

We're going to be honest. We're going to dig in. We're going to apply the scripture to our lives, and we're going to 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 point, Chip. To check out all of our small group resources, go to or call 888-333-6003.

And let me tell you, they're so easy to use. Chip provides the teaching, and you and your group will have time to discuss what you've heard with the help of our insightful study guides. So order your small group resources today. And for a limited time, we've discounted them to encourage you to build community.

For more details, call 888-333-6003 or visit App listeners tap special offers. Now here's Chip to share some final application for this message. As I close today's program, I want to remind you that comparison always leads to carnality. And as I shared in the message, we do this so often. I mean, all of us do it. We do it multiple times a day, so much so that we actually start believing and thinking that it's normal.

And the fact of the matter is it's not. It always takes me to a bad place. And whether you tend to compare, you know, upwardly and feel like you don't measure up and you envy how people look or envy what they do or envy what they wear or envy what they drive or envy, you know, the boyfriend or girlfriend or the maid or the children, all that takes you to a place of unloving response. It's fine, as we talked about, to desire. You know, have desires for a mate or have desires maybe for a car that works or for a job that's better.

That's fine. But you can't compare yourself with others. Or some of us go the other direction. We compare downward. And out of our insecurities and struggles, we feel better and superior and we put people down. And even in our minds, you know, we don't even say anything, but if we have a little bit of disdain, like I'm better than you, it comes out in your body language. It comes out in your tone of voice. And so I want to encourage you.

What's love got to do with it? Simplifying your life demands that you cut to the heart and ruthlessly eliminate comparing. And so in the message today, I gave you two or three very practical ways.

And I want to remind you and let's just do them today. The moment you start to compare, I want you to catch yourself. So when you walk in the office or go to the construction site or you're driving in your car and you look to the right or look to the left, and the first thought is, hmm, and you start to compare, then I want you to stop. And then I want you to thank God for whatever that person has. Just, Lord, thank you for that car that they have. I don't know their life. Thank you for that child they have.

Thank you for the job that they do have. And then, God, thank you that you made me just the way you made me. And then whatever it is that sort of prompts a hurt or a need or a desire, like, you know, I would really like to have a mate, or I wish we could have children someday, or I really need a better job, or this junker that I'm driving really isn't any good. After you thank God for what He's given them, with a sincere heart, say, Heavenly Father, this is just a desire. I don't want to compare myself with anyone, but I'm asking you, would you help me? Would you grant this desire?

And I don't want it to impress people. I want it so I can serve you better. See if today you can put a death blow to comparison and see if God won't allow you to love more deeply and more authentically.

And watch what happens. Thanks, Chip. Just before we close, I want to thank each of you who's making this program possible through your generous giving. One hundred percent 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, or text the word DONATE to 74141.

It's that easy. Text DONATE to 74141, or visit App listeners, just tap DONATE. Let me thank you in advance for whatever the Lord leads you to do. We'll listen next time as Chip picks up in his series, Spiritual Simplicity. Until then, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-10 19:50:41 / 2023-01-10 20:03:01 / 12

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