How do you have peace in a broken world? In times like this, when there's such uncertainty and such fear, is it possible to have peace?
The answer is yes, and today I'll tell you how. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The goal of this international discipleship ministry is to encourage Christians to really live like Christians. In just a minute Chip will pick up in our study of Philippians chapter four by posing a question a lot of us are asking these days. In such a divided and chaotic world, how is it possible to choose peace? For that answer, here's Chip to continue our series, I Choose Peace, with his message in a broken world.
Pick up your teaching notes. We're going to jump right in. And as we jump right in, I want you to really think about, I mean pause, what's the greatest fear you're facing today? I mean not some generic, you personally, your life sitting here, what's the greatest fear you're facing?
I want you to really name it. Fear of the future, fear of health, fear you'll never get married, fear the marriage will never get any better, fear for one of your kids, fear about the economy, fear about politics, fear about racism. What is it? What is it that when you get knots in your stomach, what is it when you're just driving in your car and everything's quiet, your mind drifts to something and all of a sudden you can feel the heart rate go up, the blood pressure starts to go up, and you begin to fixate on things and you realize you're afraid. Here's what I want to ask you, second question. And I want you to think about this, would you like to overcome that fear? And not casually because the way to overcome it is not going to be an easy thing. But I want you to really think and even say a little prayer to God.
Some of us are afraid that one of our kids or one of our grandkids is going to be in an auto accident or we're not going to have enough money to live on as time goes on or, you know, we've all got fears. But Jesus said, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, but my peace I give to you.
That's a promise. Isaiah would foretell God would keep those in perfect peace whose minds are focused or stayed on him. The most common command in Old and New Testament is fear not, be not afraid. And it's usually followed because I am with you. So how do you experience God's power and presence that eliminates fear in such a way that in the midst of storms you're not a slave to fear? Because so many of us are. In order to discover that I'm going to suggest that you need to understand how God has made and wired your mind and your emotions, how they work together. And when you do and when you understand that, then you understand exactly what you need to do. Because yes there are challenging things happening in the world, but I want to tell you how we think some of us are feeding our fears instead of starving them.
And I'm going to talk this morning about starving your fear and feeding your faith. There's a study at the University of Tennessee a number of years ago. It was not very complicated. It was a 12 year study. There was a control group that heard five minutes of a radio program with just benign information. There was an experimental group that heard five minutes of information that was all negative. You know there was an earthquake in such and such a city.
A child was abducted in Memphis. Just five minutes. No video, just five minutes. After 12 years they did an evaluation of both groups to find out was there any impact of five minutes of negative audio content over a 12 year period. The results. The people in the experimental group were more depressed. They believed the world was a more negative place.
They were less likely to help others. And they believed that those things that they heard over the last 12 years would happen to them. Now pause, think about this. This isn't like an hour of the nightly news. This isn't like a three hour movie. This isn't like in front of a screen things blowing up.
This is just five minutes of audio. We all know, right, that you are what you eat physically. Right? We all know that. You know it's sweets today and it's hips tomorrow.
Right? What I want you to get is that you are what you eat psychologically. Here's where science and scripture are in such an alignment. Three truths about our thinking. Number one, we're the product of our thought life. Who you are today is the product of your past thinking.
What you thought was true, what you think isn't true, your focus, your decisions. It's your thought life. Proverbs 23 7.
I love the King James on this one. As a man thinketh, so is he or so you become. As a man thinks in your heart, so you become. Second, our emotions flow from our thoughts. In other words, you think and it triggers your emotions follow your thoughts. Most of us make lots of the decisions based on our emotions, but our emotions follow our thoughts. Scripture says, Romans 8 6, for the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the spirit is notice life and peace. Third truth is that what we allow into our minds is the most important decision we make each and every day.
What you think about, what you allow in your mind, what you watch, what you listen to, what's on the radio in your car, what you listen to, the conversations with people that you have, what you allow into your eye gate and your ear gate that seeps down into your soul that gives you a perspective of what life is really about is the most important decision you ever make each and every day. And pause parents, grandparents, you have no greater obligation than what you allow your kids to watch and hear. And every parent, or if you're a grandparent with a lot of kids in your house, in the appropriate kind, non kamikaze, non Nazi attitude, in a loving way, you need to know what's on their phones, you need to know exactly what they're watching, and you need to build a trust relationship, and you need to have certain filters. There is a world out there seeking to capture your son's and daughter's hearts, and it happens when they're unsuspecting. It happened to one of my sons in high school, and actually one of my grandchildren just last year. Something popped up, and some predator came after a little girl.
Thank God her parents are very diligent. So what goes into your mind is paramount. And what I want to encourage you is that what you allow to go in your mind in many ways is what is creating or feeding your fears. As you turn the page, the apostle Paul, remember he's speaking from a prison cell, his life is very challenging, it's very difficult, and yet he has this amazing peace. He's writing to this church that he loves very much, that has grown and he has a wonderful relationship, and he's trying to help them live in peace, live with joy, live with love. And in the anxiety of the Roman world, in a world that is filled with violence and injustice, especially for a follower of Christ, he writes to them, and he's going to teach them, this is how you can, you might underline in your notes, choose. You choose peace.
It's a gift, but you've got to choose it. In a very broken world, in a violent world, in an uncertain world. He says, finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, here's the first command, let your mind dwell on these things. I'd like you to underline these keywords, underline the word true in your notes, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and then anything worthy of praise. And what he's saying is, there's a way to think about life, but this is how God wants you to think about life, and this kind of thinking is, we're going to learn what it means in a minute, this is what I want you to dwell on, to ponder, to meditate, to review, to fill your mind with. And then he's going to move from their thinking to their behavior. The things that you have learned and received, heard and seen in me.
Here's the second command, practice these things. Notice, they weren't just sitting in a room listening to the Apostle Paul. The things you learned, in other words, they had an appetite, they took it in, that you received, you actually applied it.
The things you heard, they heard him talk, and you saw, they watched him model it. He says, I want you to practice the very kind of teaching and lifestyle that I had, and then the very last line, he says, here's a promise. It's not the peace of God this time.
What is it? The God of peace will be with you. In other words, the God of Shalom, the God of blessing, the God who gives favor, the God who protects, the God who wants to give you the very best in life. Not just will he give you his peace, he'll be with you. And so here's what I want to do. This is one of the most important messages that I'll ever get to give anywhere at any time. Because think of this, I don't know if I'll be here two years or five years or 10 years from now, but here's what I know about me, and here's what I know about you and every person watching this. You are the product of your thoughts, and we are casual with what we allow into our mind, and it is shaping your character, it's shaping your decisions, it's shaping your emotions, and if you and I would get very, very serious, he's going to give us six words, and I'm going to define each one, and then I've created a little question out of each one that you and I could say, if you took this seriously, before I let this in my eyes, in my mind, or in my heart, or in one of my kids or grandkids, or in my house, I'm going to ask one of these six questions, and if the answer is this is good, it comes in, and if the answer is it's bad, it doesn't, and here's the deal, you do that for 90 days, you will be shocked at your emotional health, you'll be shocked at the changes in your life, because we've grown accustomed to allowing lots of stuff that disturbs your soul, lots of lies that tell you that you don't measure up, that life is terrible, life is violent, life is uncertain, bad things are going to happen, and then you live in fear, and living in fear is the opposite of living in faith.
So you ready to go? First command is to dwell on these things. The word means to think deeply, to review, to replay, to meditate, to talk about, to analyze, to ponder, to deduce. Colin Brown is sort of the expert in New Testament dictionary, and I love the one, the word is, are you ready? Listen to it.
Logizmae. Can anybody hear English word, logic? It's a word he says that's not an emotional or philosophical thought, but it's the very process of reasoning and the deduction which separates good from evil. It's dwelling on what you see, what comes on the screen, the email, the blog, and asking yourself, dwell, ponder. Here's though the things you want to dwell on. Number one, things that are true. This word means objectively true, that which conforms to reality versus things that are deceptive. Illusions that promise peace and happiness. I want you to think about, okay, so what do you know is true? So it would be pondering and dwelling on scripture that's true. It'd be pondering on some truth about your life. This morning, I don't know if you all ever had this, do you ever just wake up and feel a bit negative and not know exactly why?
Just kind of like semi bummed out. I mean, I just taught this. I just taught this last night. You would think I would wake up chippy. And you know, I mean, I laid in bed and it was early and just this sort of negative filter. And so I decided I would practice this. So I prayed through Psalm 23 a couple of times slowly. And when I got done, I felt slightly less negative. And then I had this thought, you know, I've got to do these exercises for my back.
I hate to do those. And so I decided, okay, I'm going to do that. And then so as I thought, okay, here's what I'm going to do.
Whatever verse comes to my mind during all my exercises for 40 minutes, I quoted out loud, passage, passage, passage, passage, passage. And then I decided, you know what? I'm going to declare what's true. I am the son of the living God. I have been, I have an inheritance from him. He's already reserved a place for me in heaven. He's deposited spiritual gifts in my life. I have his peace living in my heart. He has blessed me with a wife that is loyal and loves me. And I just started to declare out loud with verses all the things that were true.
And my emotions went, wow, just filled with gratitude. You have to focus on what is true. By contrast, there's lots of premises and lies that over time in our family of origin that we tend to believe.
In a book by Tommy Newberry, it's the 4-8 principle. It's about this verse. He lists some things that we tend to unconsciously tell ourselves that produce emotions that are negative and often fear.
Things like, I'll never be happy again. This is just the way it is. This probably won't work. You know, if I had more money, it wouldn't matter.
I would just probably worry about it. I don't have what it takes. This always happens to me. Well, the honeymoon is officially over. He doesn't love me anymore. I'm not worthy. I'm just not very creative. My back is always going out.
I like that one. I have to just accept my limitations. You know, I never say the right thing. That makes me so sick.
If that happens again, I'm going to be so, so mad. We can't agree on anything. He doesn't find me attractive anymore. I just don't think I have what it takes. I always seem to blow it when it comes. I say the wrong things. Well, I guess that's a... Do you hear those things?
Those are things that you and I tell ourselves. I don't measure up. This marriage will never get better. My kids, you know, my dad was like this.
His grandfather was like this. I've got this addiction. I've tried hard.
I just have to live with it. Here's the deal. If you think you can or if you think you can't, you're 100% right. Ponder that. You're the product of your thought life. By the way, this is not positive thinking. All the positive thinking, there's big elements of truth, but this is thinking way beyond what's positive. This is what's true.
This is what God has said. Some of the lies that you all believe, they're very, very subtle and they're mixed with truth like, I will be a complete failure as a parent if my children do not get into a very exclusive school and go into a profession like a doctor or a lawyer, et cetera. I'll be a failure.
It produces anxiety and it produces pressure on your kids and it produces amazing things that are super unhealthy and very dysfunctional. I can never be happy unless I get married. I will never be happy until we own our own home. My life will be miserable unless I, it's this premise thinking, premise, premise, premise, premise that some activity, some success, some upward mobility, some job, some patent, some win-then thinking, and so now you're trapped into a false belief system. Now, are those things necessarily wrong? But listen to the difference.
Here's the truth. It would be nice if one of my children get into an exclusive university by the grace of God, walk with him closely and are used by God in a profession that would bring glory to him and happiness to them. It would be nice, but it has nothing to do with my value as a parent. It would be nice if I get into one of those kind of schools and keep my grades up, but I'm going to do the best I can, but my value isn't dependent in any way on my grades, my athletic ability or my musicianship because I am sealed and delivered and approved by the living God.
I'm on my way to heaven and he has a purpose for my life that may or may not include that. Do you see the difference? You believe a lot of lies and your kids believe a lot of lies and you have to focus on what is true and you will see a world of difference in your life. Second, the preview question then is when you're watching or listening to something you ask, is this true or false?
Is this true or false? I'm going to spend the most time on this because all the others flow out of this. Here's an illustration. You think that your emotions are responding to reality. No, no, your emotions are responding to your thinking and your thinking is the perception of reality. Those people who listen to just five minutes of negative things, their perception was, you know, the guy in that car, he probably wants to hurt me.
You never pick up a hitchhiker because, you know, I heard that story. It's their perception. So pretend you're out maybe on Quicksilver Trail or you're taking a big hike and as you're walking up, you freeze, it's coiled up, it's a snake and you got within and all of a sudden your stomach tightens up, perspiration, heart rate, oh my gosh, it's a snake and you hold someone back and you look at it and you look at it and you look at it and then it's not moving at all and so you get closer, you get closer, you get closer and you realize it's a piece of rope that's coiled around. It was your perception that created all the exact same emotions as though it were a snake.
And there's a lot of snake thinking. It takes an incredible amount of discipline and diligence to be someone who starts to think about what's true. Second, is it honorable?
The word means sober, serious, worthy of respect, inspires all. It refers to those things that reflect the weighty purpose of a believer's life. Now, there's a time for fantasy football.
There's a time to get jacked up over the Super Bowl and other things. There's a time I suppose to figure out who won the globe or the Oscar, but there's trivia ad nauseam in the world and this is saying in the midst of all that, here's what you need to think about. You need to think at times about some things that are grave, sober, serious. Things like the living God through his son Jesus Christ has rescued you from eternal damnation by his gift on the cross and he loves you and favors you with unconditional love and draws you close to himself and has an amazing plan for your life. He has an Ephesians 2 10 purpose for you, that you are his actual workmanship. You're his piece of pottery, his poem. You are made and designed by the living God for a purpose that only you can fulfill, that he did before the foundations of the earth.
Question, am I fulfilling it? You are living in a world that's called window time, but you're made for eternity. There is a heaven that is a real.
There is a hell that is real. Those are serious things. The writer of Ecclesiastes says there's far more wisdom at a funeral than there is at a party.
Now I don't mean you focus on this all the time, but we're living in a world that's quick, fast, immediate. Those deep kind of thoughts shape your thinking. My wife asked me after last night's message, she said, so Chip, what are you afraid of? I said, I am most afraid that I will squander the life that God has given me and I will not fulfill his purposes.
And she said, why? I said, because at least in the world standard, I'm way more quote successful than I thought I'd ever be. God has given us more than I ever dreamed in every arena and all that creates comfort and a lifestyle that works against the kind of focus and sacrifice of taking up my cross and following him and taking big risk for the kingdom of God. And so I just, I am afraid that I could slip into a status quo type life and everyone would think it's just wonderful except the Lord would know and I would know. Ask this question, does this honor or dishonor God? When you're watching it, does this honor God? Does this really honor God? It might be gray, it might just be evil, that's easy, but does this show honor God? Does this conversation honor God? Does this movie honor God? Does the book I'm reading, does this relationship honor God?
Third, is it right? The word means righteous. It's used in the New Testament to refer to the Father, to Jesus, to God's actions, to God's character. It pictures doing what is right when tempted. You might write the word integrity.
At the heart of this is there is a standard that's not outside of God but God's very character creates a standard and integrity just means there is an alignment with that. And the question you want to ask, is this right or is it wrong? Did I just say the whole truth or a partial truth? Is this what's really clearly I know is true or is it a white lie? Is it everyone does this on their taxes and that time is coming up or is it absolutely pure? Is this I'm padding my expenses just a little because I can kind of justify it and I know and get away with it or in fact is this integrity?
We really love each other but are we married or are we living together? Is this recreational just sort of a spicy 49, 50, 51 shades of gray or is it just absolutely wrong and immoral and should never be in my house? Is it a game that honors life and love and warmth or is it a game where people get blown up and I put it in front of my kids where their thumbs are killing and mutilating thousands of people hours on hours in addictive behavior? Just ask yourself. You've been listening to part one of Chip's Message in a Broken World 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. Have you ever thought about what it means to be at peace? Is it just a fulfilling job, happy household, financial security? Well, many people put stock in those things but they don't last.
Eventually the shine wears off. In this 12-part study of Philippians chapter four, Chip explains where this attitude of discontentment comes from and the ways it steals our joy. Stay with us as we learn how to move beyond that temporary feeling of calmness to a lasting peace-centered life. To help you on this journey, 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, I'm joined in studio now by our Bible teacher, Chip Ingram. Chip, in this society it's getting tough to be a genuine follower of Jesus because many believe Christianity hasn't delivered on what it promised or Christians don't really practice what they preach. And boy, those accusations sting a little because there's some truth to them.
Well, Dave, you're right. And I think every organization, and the church worldwide is an organization, requires some self-reflection and evaluation. Even businesses have an area called quality control. And to our fault, we need to own that we've kind of built a lot of buildings and we've had budgets and programs and strategies and often it's been about the growth of the church or the size of the church and we've missed it to some degree and there's great, wonderful exceptions. But Jesus said, go therefore and make disciples, not get a lot of people to pray a prayer or fill your buildings. And I say this as a pastor, I've certainly been a part of the problem. But at this stage of my life and when I look at where the world is and as we do face the future together, there's not a greater need in all the world than us becoming genuine, authentic, mature followers of Jesus and then reproducing that in our families, in our neighborhoods, our communities, and our workplaces. And that is the calling of Living on the Edge. And it's been interesting as we provide teaching and small group resources and tools for business people and pastors and families, God has allowed us to experience just an explosion in ministry.
God is expanding our borders at a rate and a pace that requires financial resources beyond what we've ever seen before. And so it's great when you give a gift now and then or others who give a gift now and then, but our real need is for monthly partners. And so on this day, we're going to be people who make a difference rather than criticize the church. And I'd like to ask you to help us make that difference. Would you pray and ask God if he wants you to be a monthly partner to Living on the Edge?
And then after you pray, just do whatever he says to do and Living on the Edge will fulfill all we're supposed to do and you'll fulfill what he wants you to do. Great encouragement, Chip. So if you'd like to be part of growing this ministry, pray about becoming a monthly partner. Your gift will go places and accomplish ministry work like you wouldn't believe. So set up a recurring donation today at livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app. Or if it's easier, text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141.
Thanks for your support. Well, now here's Chip with his application. As we wrap up today's program, this is some of the most profound teaching in the New Testament. I happened to have majored in psychology in undergrad and did graduate work in psychology and long before all those theories, long before Freud and all the others, the Apostle Paul has insights by the Spirit of God into how our minds work.
In fact, you heard earlier in the message when I talked about the research done by the University of Tennessee. We are the product of our thoughts. I mean, it's not our thoughts define and create our emotional responses.
Remember the little story about the snake and the rope? When you see that, your perception, your thoughts, what you think creates an emotional response. And although I would love to say we're all very logical and linear and strategic, the fact is the great majority of our decisions and our behavior is a reaction to our emotions. And the Apostle Paul then says, okay, dwell on these things. And then he's going to list six or seven very specific things that provide a filter to say don't think on these bad things because viewing things, thinking on things, reading things, taking things in that are negative, ungodly, wicked, attract your flesh, that make you want to do what's wrong. When you think and dwell on those things, it will literally play out in your behavior.
And then you receive the consequences. Now I want to say a couple things that sound very strong, but someone better say these now. We're losing our kids in evangelical churches.
And I've done the research. The number one reason that we're losing them is when they look at the life of their mom and dad, when they look at the lives of a lot of people that they go to in their quote evangelical church that teaches the Bible that has, you know, great worship and all the rest, there's not authenticity. The second half of that is is that we can take our kids to church. You can even put them in Christian schools and you can even be a good moral person. But if your kids are feeding on social media, on violent games, if they're watching things on Netflix, if they're, I mean, I see what's on the television and the kind of content that is going into the minds of our young people.
And are you ready are not so young people. And this is what I'll tell you, what we currently see in the behavior of Christians in the value of Christians and in Christian families is a direct correlation to what we're putting in our mind. I just have to tell you, if you want your children or your grandchildren to have different kind of lives, it begins with us and what we put in our mind. Little by little by little, we begin to tell one another that all that's not so bad and that's not so bad.
I'm not talking about rigidity or legalism. I'm talking about a filter where you ask questions like is this true or false? Does it honor God or not honor God? I literally have taken this passage and I have a three by five card and it's right next to my television. And before there's a movie, before I watch a television program, before I download something to watch, I ask five or six questions about what is this going to do to my mind? Because my thoughts will produce my emotions that produce my behavior that will produce the consequences and the outcome of my life. Can I encourage you to think very carefully about what you put in your mind? In our next broadcast, I'm going to give you a filter with specific questions that if you really want to change, believe me, God has a plan that'll help you.
Thanks Chip. As we close, are you looking to get even more plugged in with Living on the Edge and our resources? Well then let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. You can listen to our most recent series, sign up for a daily discipleship and more. We want to help you grow in your walk with Jesus. And the Chip Ingram app is a great way to immerse yourself in Godly enriching content. On behalf of Chip and everyone here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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