What does it really mean to have peace? I mean, is it just being calm and centered, or is it avoiding conflict and anxiety?
What if it's much more? What if it's contentment, wholeness, satisfaction? That's the kind of peace God wants to give you. Today, we're going to learn, even in tough relationships, how you can experience it. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. And today he begins his popular series, I Choose Peace, How to Quiet Your Heart in the Chaos of Life. For the next handful of programs, Chip's going to teach through Philippians chapter four to help us uncover and hold on to God's incredible gift of peace, and how in times of uncertainty, pain, anxiety, and conflict, we can respond and persevere in a biblical way. So I hope you'll join us for every message. And because this is such a relevant topic, invite a few friends to listen, either through the Chip Ingram app or livingontheedge.org.
Okay, here's Chip to kick off this series with his message in relational conflict. Many of you know, and some of you don't, I didn't grow up as a follower of Christ. And I actually went to a church that I don't think God was present in, and people said one thing and lived another way. So by 15 or 16, I thought, you know, I don't know if God exists or not, but he's certainly not here.
And I didn't think I needed him anyway. And a series of circumstances and some family issues and dreams and crushes and the things we go through, God brought me to the point where I met some people whose lives were so radically different, and they shared with me that God loves me, and you could have a personal relationship with the one who made you. But Christ came and lived a perfect life, and he died in my place to break down all the walls and all the barriers, and I could have peace with God. And it was really, really new to me.
I was very skeptical. But in 1972, as much as I could understand, I turned from my self-will and my sin, and I asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. And they gave me a little Bible that was easy to understand, and no one told me. I had to read it, but I just couldn't put it down, and I hid it under my pillow so my parents would not think I went to a camp and now became a Jesus freak or flipped out. And my desires started changing, but the most phenomenal thing was peace. I was a very driven, over-achieving, type-A, insecure maniac that just got to get a scholarship, got to date the right girl, all that stuff. And it made for a really hyped-up person, and it was like, wow, I couldn't understand it. There's no one to impress.
What other people think is, I'm sure there's some value, but that's not really important. I was sort of in this awe that now the God who made me has forgiven me. He's taken up residence in me.
And as I would read this Bible, and it was all new to me, and there was just a calm and a peace when things were up and when they were down that I could not explain. So much so that a year later, my father, who was an alcoholic and a Marine, I mean, he was retired, but if you meet a real Marine, I used the word ex-Marine once, and I was corrected quickly. And I came home from college after one year, and he said, what's with you? I said, what do you mean what's with me? You're different. I said, what do you mean I'm different?
No, you're really different. I said, well, what's different? He says, there's a peace in your life. And then he turned to me and said, how do you get it?
How do you get that? And you know, being the great theologian at the time, I said, I have no idea. You know, some of that stuff we heard growing up in church, but all I can tell you is I have a personal relationship with God, and I'm reading the New Testament.
He said, where do I get one of those? Here's what I want to tell you. The title of this series is called I Choose Peace, because peace is a gift, and it's a choice, and you can have it if you've never had it. But here's what I can also tell you. As a follower of Jesus, I experienced that peace, and I've actually figured out ways to quench it so I don't experience it. I've learned how to worry. I've learned how to be uptight. I've learned how to focus on the future. I've learned to get in conflict with other Christians and other people, including my wife, where that peace just dissipates. And I'm guessing some of you have had that... Excuse me, Lord, I'm checking out of this place.
I'm the only one that... No, I'm kidding, okay? So we're going to learn how to do that. So begin thinking, is there any relational conflict in your family, one of your kids, a roommate at work, a neighbor? Because we're going to talk about how you can choose peace and literally experience restoration. With that said, you'll notice on your notes, there's three approaches, or what I would say, there's three sources of peace. And I mean this by sources.
When I say what I'm going to say, don't think everything is terrible or wrong with a couple of these things. There's some great skills. But as a source, in other words, one source in our day would be peace is within you. You just need to discover it. It's inward. Key words would be meditation, relaxation.
You need to center, okay? And that the peace is your harmony with the cosmos, but where you need to look for peace is within. The second source we are told about peace is outward. Words like achieve, conquer, control, perform. In other words, the peace is out there. You need to accomplish this, conquer that. You need to get into a good school, get great grades, find the right person, get a great job, live in a nice home, drive a nice car, achieve certain things, have certain amount of money, and somehow, someday, as you do all those things, and you achieve and conquer and perform, then your desires and your circumstances will align, and then someday you'll have peace. That's the Western way, the American way. The first is more Eastern. Now, don't get me wrong.
Are there some good things we learn about maybe breathing to take away stress or stretching, or is there goals that we learn from sort of achieving and growing? But I'm talking about the source. A movie came out and it told the story of the richest man in the world at the time, J. Paul Getty, and the story of the movie, I think it's called, I didn't get to watch it, but I read the review. It's called All the Money in the World, and in 1973 he was the richest person in the world.
He's bringing about oil business alone, 20 million a day. And the story goes on of a man who's consumed with money. He had five divorces, and it's interesting, near the end of his life, I mean, if the outward could deliver, this guy has everything. At the end of his life they said, do you have any regrets? He said, I have two. He was not on speaking terms with his children.
I would give all the money, think of that, all the money away tomorrow for one good marriage and personal peace in my heart. You can't buy those, can you? But even as followers of Christ, you cannot experience those.
The third is the upward. It's words like trust, depend, abide. Words like faith and love and obey. See, the peace of God isn't some ethereal something that you can discover with alignment.
It's not achieving things. Peace is actually a person. Jesus said, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, but my peace I give to you.
In other words, when I turned, I didn't know this happened, from my sin, and I invited Christ to come into my life and forgive me. He takes up residence and he seals me by his Spirit, and the person of Jesus in the person of the Holy Spirit lives in you, and there's a control and a goodness and a calm. In fact, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy. For those who don't know, love, joy.
So as I'm abiding, whether circumstances are up or down, relationships good or bad, the stock market goes north or south. There's a supernatural peace, the Bible says, that transcends understanding. That he'll keep you in perfect peace as your mind is stayed on him because you trust him.
That's what we're talking about. When the world or the dictionary defines peace, it's usually the absence of things. Notice I put the definition in your notes. It's the absence of disturbance and hostility. It's free from internal and external strife. In other words, we think peace is just, it's calm.
We're just kind of getting along. There's no big thing out there or there's no big conflict within here. The word peace and the kind of peace we're going to learn about and choose and enjoy is a peace that is not just the external or just the internal. It's something that God adds. The Hebrew word is shalom. And we know it means peace, but the word shalom is way, way bigger. There's four aspects of shalom. First, it's the complete soundness or wholeness of health. It's a peace of your mind, your body, and your emotions. Second, it's harmony in relationships.
You have shalom in your marriage, shalom with your neighbors. You have shalom at work. You have shalom with the body of Christ. Third, it's success or progress with your purpose. In other words, there's great peace in, I was made to do this. I'm in line with the creator of what he made me to do. And I have ups and downs, but I'm doing it. And there's a peace. There's people that spend their whole life wondering, should I be in this job? Should we really live here? Should I do that?
There's no peace. And there's the FOMO. There's always the fear of missing out. So maybe I should be doing this. Oh, maybe I should be doing this.
Oh, maybe she's doing this. And you have this acid going around. Peace may be the greatest thing God could ever give you, and if you're a follower, you have it. It's a choice. In fact, the shalom is victory over your enemies. It's that God will protect you. Jesus' last words on the last night, he said to his disciples, peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives.
And then what a great line for us, the world where it's at. Do not let your heart be troubled. Don't be afraid. Let not your heart be troubled. Can I, don't look at anybody right now, but can I just ask you to ask yourself, is your heart troubled?
I mean for real. Are you afraid? Do you find yourself watching the news, or hearing information, or worried about your job, or convinced in your mind you're never going to get married, or convinced that the marriage you have is never going to be any good, or right? You understand you can live your whole life with a supernatural peace as a follower of Christ available, and not choose it.
And so we're going to go through the five things that rob us of our peace in Philippians chapter 4, and the first one is conflict in a relationship. There's a question on the bottom of the page. See, this could end up a seminar, and you could be, oh this is really interesting information, and I took psych 201, and there's a lot of principles here, and oh this is really good.
No, no, no, this isn't a seminar. Here's the deal. Who in your relational network are you at odds with? If you had to come up with a person, a mom, a dad, a brother, a sister, one of your kids, a roommate, a neighbor, a fellow worker, if there's someone that you could just whisper, oh God, because some of them, they're so in the past and we push it down, you know it's a brother-in-law, it's an ex-mate, there's issues, and what happens is you don't deal with poison, and hostility, and lack of relationship health.
Bad stuff happens to your stomach, and your migraines, and your soul. And we're going to walk through a process that the Bible will give about how to get peace when you have relational conflict. So I want you to think about who would you really like to have peace with? Who would you like to say, as far as it depends on you, I'm not saying that there's reconciliation, and everything's going to be wonderful, but as far as it depends on you, who?
Because I want you to listen through the lens of that person. Now, for some of you, it's your mate, and they're not here. And your first thought is, well I wish they were here, because he really needs to hear this, or she really needs to hear this, because like me, 95% of all my relational problems are someone else's fault.
Right? Honest, that's how we think. So many of our relationships, if my supervisor, if my boss, if one of my kids, or my mom, or my dad, you know, if she or he would just straighten up and get with the program, we'd have a great relationship.
I'm kind of the person in the right, and they're totally messed up. Now we never say it quite like that, we just feel it, and we have emotions, and anger, and resentment. What you have in Philippians chapter 4 in the context is this. There's a man in prison named the Apostle Paul. There's a church that he loves deeply.
He's been in prison there. A church grew. There's a deep connection. God did amazing things. And now there's some struggles in the church. Some people at the end of chapter 3 are kind of drifting away from the Lord. There's some conflict we're going to find with people within the church.
And I mean, he loves them. I mean, he so loves them, and he wanted to remind them there's hope, and there's persecution, even in the midst of this world, and he reminded them at the end of chapter 3 that, you know what? Jesus really is coming back. There is a heaven that's real. There's a reality that the only sure hope in the world that we live in is laying hold of.
Our citizenship really is in heaven. But we're to live out this life dramatically different on earth. And so he talked about that, and now he's going to say it's more than just your individual life kind of walking faithfully with God. He says there's a relationship problem. There's relational conflict, and he's going to address it. In verse 1, what I want you to listen for is his heart. Ask yourself, is he mad? Is he angry?
Is this God saying, get with the program. Verse 1, therefore my brothers in whom I love and I long for, my joy and my crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends. Would you circle the word in your notes? Love, long for, joy, crown?
And would you put a box around stand firm? He's saying we have this hope. We have this peace. God so loves us. He wants us to walk this out together. So I love you and I care for you. And what I'm about to say, I'm not down on anyone. But when you don't experience corporately or individually the peace that God has already granted, it breaks my heart as sort of the spirit.
And so the way you stand firm is you know where you're going and you have this hope. And now he's going to have a request or literally a plea of two ladies that are not getting along. I plead with you, Euodia, and I plead with you, Syntyche, to agree with each other in the Lord. Circle the word to agree.
It's a very interesting Greek word. It means to be of the same mind, to think the same thoughts. What we know, we're going to learn is both these are really good women. This isn't a good person and a bad person.
That's what we know from this context. It's not a moral issue. It's not a doctrinal issue. But we have two powerhouse people in this local church who've been greatly used of God and something's happened that they are not getting along. And when key people in a small group, key people in a house called a mom or a dad, two roommates, whatever it is, when you don't get along with someone, what's it do?
It affects other people. So he has a plea in verse 3. He says, yes, and I ask you, loyal yoke fellow, help these women. Would you circle the word help?
Sometimes in relational conflict, no matter what you do, it doesn't get better. You need help. And then who are these women? These women who've contended at my side in the cause of the gospel along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers and whose names are in the book of life. We learn two things about these women.
One, they've contended. He's saying, I mean, my right hand, my left hand, these are women that prayed and fasted and gave and we were in the midst of persecution and that little church got birthed and then I love them both and they're great people. There's no bad person here. In fact, I'm absolutely certain their names are written in the book of life. So, but they can't get along. The phrase here, loyal yoke fellow is actually a proper name, suzages, but since no one can pronounce it, including me, many translators take the meaning of the name, which is a loyal yoke fellow.
And the word literally means someone that can take two oxen and have them be in harmony and walk together. And what he's saying is, hey, we've got a problem. We've got a problem in our small group. We've got a problem in our church. We've got a problem in our family. These people are at each other. They have resentment.
They have hurt. It's affecting the church. I'm asking someone competent, can you sit down with them, probably someone with a gift of exhortation and a wise counselor and can you help them?
And then in verse 4, he gives a command concerning the relational focus because when there's conflict, what do you do? Who do you think about all the time? You think about this person, right?
You're driving in your car and you have anger fantasies. You know, she did that. She did that.
You replay it in your mind. She said that. He did that. I can't believe that. You know, he thinks as a supervisor, he couldn't code with a, you know, and then he'd say that about me.
That's unbelievable. And, you know, what's she thinking? I mean, her in-laws, every time they come, she's depressed for three weeks afterwards.
It's not a good idea. You know, gosh, yeah, right, okay, I bring up one more time, we don't have sex as often as I would like and, you know, she blows up and, have I hit enough people yet? Is this real stuff? This is real stuff.
This is real stuff. It's how life works. And he said, and so what you do is you get fixated. You have, and you might, you know, you might have 90% of your relationship with this person is good, but man, this is, once you get fixated on this, then, you know what, they go from being a disagreement to a bad person.
You demonize them. You know, that kind of, you know, that supervisor, I remember 10 years ago, he made another mistake. I think this whole company is in trouble because of that guy and he's my boss, right? She said that, you know, she grew up that way. I remember too. And all of a sudden, you take all the dots of your relational hurt and you rearrange them and they're the bad person and you're like me.
It's 5% our fault, 95% their fault. And then you harden your heart. And so here's the command. It's a command, by the way. Rejoice in the Lord. And again, I'll say rejoice. You know what he's saying?
Get vertical. Get off of them and the problem. He's saying this one, not only to the two ladies, but to the whole church. Because when there's a fight, what do we do? I'm on Euodia's side.
I'm on Syndike's side. In a family, even the kids. Mom, dad, mom.
Gosh, well, I guess, you know, right? In a small group at work. Because the one thing we don't do is we often don't obey scripture and we have a problem with the person. What we do is we find two or three people that usually agree with us. And just go to a coffee shop sometime and act like you have earphones on. And just listen to everybody. Just listen to everybody. It's really fun to tell you the truth. And 80% of the conversations, well, I don't know what he's thinking. You know, he plays golf three times a week and he expects me to take care of the kid and blah, blah, blah. Well, my roommate, you know what? The refrigerator, this is my side and this is her side and I paid for everything and this is what she did. And, you know, my supervisor, I think he's on drugs, you know. Right? People are talking about someone else.
And what's it do? Gasoline on the fire. You've been listening to part one of Chip's message, In Relational Conflict, which is from our series, I Choose Peace.
Chip will be back with us in studio shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. What are you anxious about right now? What's causing you to lose sleep? Financial uncertainties? A tense relationship? The daily demands of life? Whatever is robbing you of your peace right now, there's an antidote. Through Chip's insightful teaching in Philippians chapter four, we're going to learn about the peace of God, which can restore, calm, and encourage our soul no matter what's happening around us. And to help you better understand that, during this series, we're offering every listener a copy of Chip's popular book, I Choose Peace, at no cost. We want to encourage you to completely lean on God and trust Him through the highs and lows of life. So to learn how to get your free copy of I Choose Peace, go to livingontheedge.org or text PEACE to 74141. That's the word PEACE, P-E-A-C-E, to 74141.
Limit one book per customer while supplies last. Well, Chip's joined me in studio now. And Chip, we're just diving into your study in Philippians chapter four. So take a minute, if you would, and share your heart and purpose behind this series. Why is it so relevant for us right now?
Well, Dave, it almost goes without saying. You think of what's happening culturally in America and whether that's racial issues or political issues. If you just think of the financial pressure that people are living in and all the changes that have occurred, if there is one thing I think people are desperate for is peace, peace in their heart, peace in their marriage, peace at work, peace in the government. And we try lots of things when we don't have peace to either medicate it or avoid it or do something to bring us some level of calm. And this series is going to talk about four or five specific things that challenge our peace, things like relationships, difficult circumstances, worry, et cetera. I am so excited that we can open God's Word and know this is how you choose peace. Jesus said, My peace I give to you. It's a gift. It's something that we can choose.
It's something that we can access regardless of the circumstance, the relationship, or the problems in your life. This is a series that's really going to help you. I agree, Chip.
Well, I hope you'll stick around for this entire series. And to help you get the most out of Chip's teaching, download his message notes. They include Chip's outline, the scriptural references, and some key fill-ins to help you remember what you hear.
Get them by going to the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org, app listeners tap fill-in notes. Well, here again is Chip to share a few final thoughts. As we close today's program, I can't help but believe that many of you have had a person come to your mind. You know, I've talked about relational conflict, and, you know, for some of you it's your marriage, for some it's a roommate, for others it's one of your kids or especially maybe one of your grown kids. For other people it's like, gosh, that person at work, or any of you been next to this neighbor or your person in the apartment complex.
There's so many opportunities that even as I brought up all these issues about relational conflict that can pop into your mind. And then there's one that I think really gets us as Christians. It's that person in your Bible study, or the person you see at church, or even one of those Sunday school classes, and you feel so bad and so guilty about it, and it just makes you so frustrated because Christians are supposed to get along.
I mean, you have this unconscious belief or expectation that they're a Christian, why don't they act like one? And then you feel guilty about some of the thoughts and feelings and attitudes and bitterness and resentment. And I think this passage is really helpful, because what if, now don't get me wrong, there's Christians that do really mean bad terrible things.
I'm with you. I am one of those Christians that I actually have done some of those things on bad days when Chip is in control instead of the Holy Spirit. But all conflict isn't because someone's bad. I love this passage where the Apostle Paul introduces these two women. He describes them both really as women who love God, serving the church, really care, and yet they have bad chemistry. They have bad personalities.
They look at things differently. I'm mindful of that passage where the Apostle Paul and Barnabas have such a sharp conflict that they have to part ways. And as you read it carefully, I don't think there's a bad or wrong person. Paul's thinking of his responsibility, the big picture, the mission. Barnabas is gifted differently. He's thinking about the concerns for an individual.
John Mark, someone needs to help him. Both those things are true. Here's what I want to tell you. What if instead of blaming this person, having resentment, you had some specific ways, a very specific game plan, to bring about resolution to this conflict? Part of it might be something that happens in you. Part of it might be something that you could think a bit differently.
And part of it could be what you actually do with this other person. In our next broadcast, I'm going to give you five specific ways to resolve conflict. They're biblical, they're effective, and they actually work. Until then, I want you to just pray for that person. I want you to pray that God will bless him, God will encourage him, and I want you to pray, God, if there's anything that you want to show me, show me. And as you own your stuff, I guarantee God's going to work.
Great word, Chip. Before we close, I want to thank each of you who makes this program possible through your generous giving. 100% of your gifts go directly to the ministry to help Christians 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 livingontheedge.org or text donate to 74141.
It's that easy. Text the word donate to 74141 or visit livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap donate. And let me thank you in advance for whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, join us next time as Chip continues his series, I Choose Peace. Until then, this is Dave Drouie saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge. I'll see you next time.
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