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The Four Great Invitations - Abide in Me, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
April 17, 2023 6:00 am

The Four Great Invitations - Abide in Me, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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April 17, 2023 6:00 am

Do you often feel like you have to earn God's approval? Or live up to an unrealistic standard? In this program, Chip shares his struggles with that mindset, as he picks up in his series, The Four Great Invitations: Lesson from My First 50 Years with Jesus. Chip will paint an accurate picture of who God really is and reveal how you can experience Him.

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For most of my early Christian life, I felt like I had to earn God's approval, like there was a list of things that I had to do every day.

And if I didn't do them, He'd be angry or even mad at me. And then by accident, I learned something that changed the course of my life. And that's what I want to share with you today. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry motivating Christians to live like Christians. And could you relate to that view of God Chip just described?

Do you see God as harsh with unattainable expectations? Well, in just a minute, Chip's going to continue our series, The Four Great Invitations, by revealing who God really is and how He wants to provide us with rest, peace, and direction. But before we get going, let me urge you to download Chip's message notes. There you'll find the wheel illustration he's going to reference today that'll help us better understand what it means to abide in Jesus. So get those notes at under the broadcasts tab, app listeners tap fill in notes. Okay, here's Chip with part two of his message, Abide in Me, from John chapter 15.

If you turn to the back page, I put a little picture that I introduced last time. Notice there's the word and prayer in this vertical relationship. You notice there's witnessing and fellowship in the horizontal relationship.

And it's all about having Christ as the center. The Christian life is not about sort of some self-help, like how am I growing and how am I doing? And am I praying enough? Am I reading enough?

Am I doing this? Here's the Christian life. My focus is on Jesus.

All those things are merely means. When you're really struggling, when I'm really struggling, don't start focusing more and more in, start setting your eyes and your focus on Him. Well, back to this wheel. I was pretty much, after I had quit the Christian life and realized I couldn't because Jesus wouldn't leave me alone, I thought, well, somehow, some way I gotta figure it out. And I was in a Bible study and they had this wheel illustration. And what I realized in my life, it was like, okay, I wonder what's wrong. Okay, number one, Christ isn't the center.

If I replace the circle, basketball was the center and my girlfriend was the center. And then the word was like, well, you know, I'm reading my Bible, you know, maybe a couple, three times on good mornings. And I go to church maybe once or twice a month, I sorta. Prayer is sorta like mostly running to class. And fellowship, I do go to that Thursday thing. That's really good.

And there's a lot of cute girls, so that was part of the motivation. And as far as witnessing telling others, yeah, actually a little bit, not too much. And then as far as obedience, I'm coming a long way except in a couple areas, my thought life and lust. And I was stuck. And there's two verses that go with each of those and I accidentally learned how to abide.

Are you ready for this? It was a pure accident and my motivation was carnal. That's how kind God is. So I'm deciding I can't quit the Christian life and my roommate was a wrestler and we were very competitive.

He was a heavyweight wrestler and I was the skinny point guard. And so he was gonna go to this training program put on by this group that does the wheel and he had these 60 verses he had to memorize. And there were two verses on God's word, two on prayer, two on obedience. And then there was another, I had 60 total. And I had one motivation.

I'm gonna do one a day. I'm gonna have a master. I'm just gonna walk in and go, hey Bob, how are you coming with that? And then I was gonna go, oh yeah, Christ the center, Galatians 2, 20, for I'm crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live. Yet not I, but Christ lives within me.

And this life that I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and died for me. You got that one down yet, Bob? Or Bob, how about the word?

All scriptures inspired by God is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness that the man of God might be fully equipped for every good word. You got that one, Bob? Or hey, Bob, how about prayer? How you coming on prayer?

John 15, 7. If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it'll be done for you. Hey, Bob, I mean, I went through all of them and I didn't realize that I was renewing my mind multiple times every day. And all these verses were getting put into my mind and my subconscious.

And then no one told me to start doing this or start doing that. My desires changed. Instead of willpower, willpower was like, I remember just walking and a thought came to me and it was a verse. And then I remember I went over here and a verse came to my mind and it was like, who loved me and gave himself for me. See, I spent most of my early Christian life living to gain God's approval. And the scripture teaches, I already have it.

And the paradigm completely changes when you live instead of for God's approval, you live from God's approval. I'm his son. I have an inheritance. I'm loved. While I was yet a sinner, Christ died in my place.

He loves me for me. And then it was like, hey, you know what? There's other verses in here other than these 60. And then I discovered the Psalms and I thought, man, these people are as messed up as me.

They really struggle. And I started praying these Psalms back to God. And then I didn't know how to live life. And some guy said, there's a lot of wisdom. You ought to read some of those Proverbs.

And so there's like 30 or 31. And so every day I would read just a Proverb. But it went from duty, got to, ought to, feel guilty if you don't, to a discipline, to a delight, to the point. And it took a while.

I don't want to make it sound like there's just some magic, but I remember realizing the greatest part of my day was getting up and not performing. Did you read your Bible? Did you pray? It was, Jesus wants to meet with me. It's not that he loved me. He's not a force. This isn't some religion of principles.

This isn't like, read the Bible, get in a small group, go to church, take communion. This is a real person with emotions. I remember when I would miss my time in the morning, I realize, I think the Lord's a little sad today. See, I grew up thinking that if you ever messed up, he was always mad. I remember one day thinking, I really love my wife, happens to be her birthday, and today I was thinking of the 43 years we've had, and just despite all the ups and downs, just how good, how rich, how amazing she is. And there's been times where my schedule, we had something planned like a great dinner out and a romantic evening, and something happened and I missed it. Well, she wasn't mad.

It was like, oh man, we missed out. And when I finally realized, you know when Jesus was talking to those disciples, I eagerly wanted to spend this time with you. In his humanity, he needed them as much as they needed him. In his humanity, could you guys pray with me? I'm gonna go to the cross. I want you to be with me.

You're my bros. And then that last night, he knew they were afraid. He goes, I'm gonna go prepare a place. By the way, that place is real. There is a heaven, and there's a new heaven, and a new earth, and a reality that's coming, and it's as real as that. It's that concrete.

It's not floating around and sipping iced tea. It's not like an eternal worship service. And he wanted them to know, I want you to be with me. Abiding is about a relationship. And as I begin to memorize those verses, then my desires changed, and did I still mess up? Of course.

But you know, it's really different messing up when you hurt a friend's feelings than when you violate some principle and you just try and cover for it. I wanted to kind of wrap up my time by kind of my lessons. I have a head, a heart, and a hand. I think a lot about what do you need to know, what do you need to feel or grasp, and then what do you need to do in order to abide? And so in terms of if you really want to abide, you need a theology of your salvation and your identity in Christ. In other words, you'll never really abide unless you learn who am I and whose am I.

And so you need to understand the Father ordained my salvation, the Son accomplished my salvation, and the Holy Spirit applies my salvation. And some of that is kind of heady stuff. For those of you that have been around for a long time, let me encourage you to read a book called Deeper by Dane Ortlund.

He's got another one called Gentle and Lowly where he takes theology and gets it to where, what's it look like? And if what I'm talking about is a bit of a challenge, I wrote a book called Yes, You Can Really Change. If something like this would be helpful, grab it. But there's some things you do need to know. I mean, if you take calculus, right, there's some things you need to know. If you're going to learn to do software, there's some things you need to know. If you want to be a follower of Jesus, there's some things you need to know.

That's your head. The second is there's some things in heart. And in the heart, I think you need to feel and sense and reorient yourself in your Christian life around this is a real person in a relationship. God is not the force.

The goal is not to improve my behavior. Jesus is not my self-help genie. This is about a real person who has revealed what the Father is like, who is the second person of the Trinity, that the Holy Spirit's job is to manifest his presence and his personality.

And if you have trusted Christ, he lives in you, and he wants to speak to you personally from his word. He wants you to be loved and connected with others. And his presence inside you, he wants you to shape the lives of others and be shaped by them. And then he wants you to be his hands and his instruments to care and to love, especially the least of these. And that's something that needs to be a reorientation.

If you consider the Christian life a bit like this is my job, or how am I performing, you will find yourself pretty frustrated, trying hard. Joy is the byproduct of relationship. And the final thing in terms of the to-do, what connects the head to the heart is your thinking. And so you have to renew your mind.

It was an accident that I started memorizing these cards. Well, after I did this, it was like, wow, if 60 verses does this, any time I found a verse that really spoke to me, then I would memorize it. And then for some of you, you've been in the faith for a while, you need to pick out what are some core chapters that, you know, when you're sitting at a light, you can go over in your mind, maybe Romans chapter 12, or maybe the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5, 6, and 7. By the way, you can do this.

Or maybe it's Ephesians 4, or maybe it's a great psalm like Psalm 27, or Psalm 46, or Psalm 37. And pretty soon you just, you start thinking and renewing your mind. Here's what will happen. Your desires will change. The reason I meet with God in the morning is that if I don't start my day with a focus and a connection in relationship, what I know is I'm going to get distracted later, right? I have distorted desires. I've been a Christian 50 years, and I still have issues with all the things that you do that I need to battle, and left to myself, I'm going to get discouraged because the enemy wants me to think I never measure up.

When I get really depressed, it goes like this. You're a terrible person. You're a bad dad. You're a terrible pastor. You never amount to anything. Your life is a waste.

You're a bad husband. Gosh, you're looking at me. Does no one ever have those thoughts? Lord, I guess it's just you and me.

I think we all have dark times like that, but when I start my day and I'm reminded, this is who you are. You're my son. I don't care what anybody else thinks. I love you, Chip. Hey, by the way, I know everything's going to happen today, so I'll prepare you, Chip. Hey, what?

You know what? You got this meeting you're uptight about, and I just did a message at a place with a group of people that were so intimidating. I was so anxious all afternoon before I spoke, and finally, it was just, oh, Jesus.

I'm so insecure around these people, and they're just blah, blah, blah, and for all these reasons, oh, and I just heard him whisper, wow, just be yourself. We got this together. Boy, when I got done, it was like, oh, the relief, because I said really, really hard things to people that have everything this world says will make you happy, but being very close to them, I see they're really struggling. And then in terms of the do, this is something that's been so helpful.

Someone asked me, well, how long should you pray? And I used to, is that how you do your other relationships? Like, hey, we're really close friends. Let's have coffee, and then you sit down with them, and we're really close.

Could you set the timer? I mean, we want to have a really great conversation, but right? You know, like, well, if we have coffee for 13 minutes, then I guess we're really close friends, right? Well, what's on your heart? How long you got?

Hey, you know what? I got to run in 45 minutes. Hey, tell me what's going on. Tell me your biggest challenges. Tell me what's happening in your life.

What are you really excited about? And they blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And then they turn around and say, oh, Chip, what about you? And I blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Man, I wish we could stay longer, but I'll see you later, right? Isn't that how we do?

Now, okay, here's the rules. We can't text. We can't talk or do anything until we have coffee again.

Is that what you do with your friends? I mean, you know, during the day, it's like, oh, man, you can't believe what I saw. Someone sent me this blah, blah, blah. Oh, I just, I got to tell you, I was up in Colorado, and I was thinking of you because we talk about how God speaks his nature. These mountains were, I mean, it was, it blew my mind, right? And so one of the things I started doing is called practicing the presence of God. And what I have sought to do very, very imperfectly, most, I learned a lot from books.

There was a guy named Brother Lawrence, and it was, you know, hundreds of years ago, and he was a cook. And as he cooked, he just decided he would try to have a consciousness and talk to God all the time. So I started practicing that. So when I'm not talking to you, I'm, in my mind, I'm talking to the Lord. Just practicing the presence of God where, you know, just turn off the radio, not all the time, you know, if you want to listen to music.

Again, get out of illegalism. I ought, I should, I ought, I should. It's a relationship. You turn off in the car just as you're driving. You know, someone cuts you off. Lord, help him because my finger is ready to go up. And, and, and that would not be honoring to you. I'm serious. Talk to him like that. He's a person.

He's not a force out there or some bar you live up to. And then I'll, I'll close with this, is one of the things I realized was these distorted desires, I kept having the same ones. And so I read this verse in Psalm 37, four, it says, delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. And so this was about 1982.

So it's only about 40 years ago. I, I decided I would write down desires that I'm sure are God's will. And I'd write them on these little cards. And I started out calling them a desire or a goal. And it says, life goals. And then I have one for God, one for wife, one for kids.

I'll share a few later. But, and then it says, these are to be instead of to do. And then the question before I, every time I review them is, are these goals or desires designed for me to perfect myself or to express my love for God? And then, so it was like, my desire is to have a clear understanding of every book in the Bible. And then I have a passage. My desire intercession is to prayerfully intercede for those I love, those I'm responsible for, and those in need daily.

And then I have a passage. This is a desire for purity. My desire is to walk with God in the integrity of my heart until the day I die. This is one for confession. My goal is to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's convicting ministry and to confess any known sin before I sleep.

Don't let it slide. And then I have a passage, Psalm 139. My desire is to apply the truth of scripture to my life every single day in a specific way. Good works. My desire is to secretly do good and be kind to others and to uplift their day as a regular part of each and every day and worship.

My desire is to worship God for who He is in praise and adoration at least once a day. And all those are because I struggle with all those things. And I didn't want to make them goals like, I gotta do this, I gotta do this, I gotta do this. I just read them over. I just read them over. I just read them over.

And as I read them over in the mornings and I put them near my bed and just read them over with no pressure. I'm just saying, hey, Lord, you know me, I got all these struggles. Here's my background. I got this family of origin issues. I married this wonderful girl and her dad's an alcoholic. We have big marriage issues.

We've got all this junk. You said if I would delight in you, would you give me the desires of my heart? You said if I abide in your word and your words abide me, I'm trying to do that, but I struggle. So I'm telling you, these are my desires. What would happen if you just took five three-by-five cards or on your phone, in your notes, and you wrote down, these are three or four desires of your relationship with God. Three or four desires with one important relationship. My desire is to fill my mind with good things and guard my mind from evil things, because I really struggled with what I put in my mind.

And then in terms of those enemies that I talked about, I have unique ones, and I think you do. And so I wrote some that I wanted to be a part of my future that weren't. I want to become a worshiper. I want to enjoy God more, sing of his greatness, and ascribe worth and praise to him. When I prayed and I still struggle, I want to get something done. I'm an achiever, former workaholic.

Some would say it's not as former as you think. And I'm performance-oriented. Jesus wants to enjoy me.

That still blows my mind. And when I sit quietly, unlike most of my family, I can't sing. I have none of those gifts. I put on some worship music, and I sing to God, not very well. And that connection from truth to emotion to his presence, and I don't, I mean, to me, it's a really special moment to emote.

Like, I mean, when you're with a really close friend, don't you kind of laugh sometimes or cry sometimes? Worship does that in my life. I desire to hunger and thirst for God's word, to memorize and meditate on it at a renewed level of consistency. And here's my line, in order to know him better. When you grow up in an alcoholic family, you become a pleaser, because when you're not, someone gets exploded and they get mad, and it gets scary. So what happens is you take that into your life, and you end up wanting to please everyone. That creates tremendous tension. And so this is one, this is my issue in security.

I read this over for years every day. I'd like to become more authentic in every aspect of my life. Describe whatever it means for the real me to show up and not to pose.

And by the way, I still pose. I'd like to be more generous this year with all the time and all the money that you've given me. Why? Because left to myself, I want to be in control. I want to control my time.

I want to control my money. And as I've done that, God has given me desires that I can't understand where I found myself to be more generous. The final one is from Proverbs 4 23, but it's, I long to cultivate a heart of integrity and purity before God, allowing the Holy Spirit freedom daily to correct, convict and restore me in matters of accuracy, privilege, power, perceived prestige, and moral purity, knowing my heart is deceitful above all else and desperately wicked who can understand it.

Are you getting the picture? It's just staying connected to Jesus, knowing that you have issues, I have issues, knowing that you're going to be distracted, knowing you're going to get discouraged, and knowing that the enemy is all the time working and taking good things and give you distorted desires. But as you abide in Christ, the Lord will change your life because the focus is Jesus.

The whole goal is Jesus. And when you're connected to him, you will have joy when things are going great. And when you're connected to him, you will have joy when things aren't. We're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and the message you just heard, Abide in Me, is from our series, The Four Great Invitations. Chip will be back to share some insights from today's talk in just a minute. Do you have a mentor? That one person with lots of life know-how who you trust for wisdom and guidance? Well, if not, in this series, Chip will be that mentor for us as he shares some vital lessons he's learned through five decades of walking with Jesus.

And he'll unpack how his experiences relate to four essential invitations Jesus challenged his disciples with throughout the Gospels. Don't miss how these biblical insights can encourage, motivate, and comfort you through all aspects of life. Learn more about this series by going to That's Well, Chip joins me in studio now, and Chip, we've gotten a lot of response from a newer resource we've developed here at Living on the Edge called Daily Discipleship with Chip. Tell us how this tool came about and maybe share where your heart for discipling others came from. I'd be glad to, Dave.

I say this a lot, but I'll keep saying it a lot. A bricklayer named Dave Marshall met with me individually, and he taught me how to study the Bible. He taught me how to hear God's voice. He taught me how to pray. And so during the pandemic, we just literally tried an experiment.

I said, I will meet with people one-on-one. And I set up a couple cameras and literally just got a cup of coffee and opened my Bible and walked people through passages of Scripture, not so much just to teach them what it says, but way more about how to study the Bible for themselves. And so we started with one that was really applicable, kind of overcoming difficult circumstances. It's called Growing Deeper with God. And I went through the first couple chapters of Philippians and helped people understand our circumstances can't define us. And then we went to the book of Ephesians and we talked about, yes, you can really change. And we walked verse by verse through Ephesians chapter four, learning what it says and how to study it. And then we went back to Ephesians one, two, and three in a series called Discovering Your True Self. And we just, I mean, literally paragraph by paragraph slowly went through learning our identity in Christ. And then we went through Romans chapter 12, which everyone knows is a big favorite of mine about what true spirituality is and what it means to be a disciple.

And our latest series was in the book of James as we understood the art of survival. And whatever study you pick, I think you'll really grow from it. Let me encourage you to check them out, choose one, and then join me one-on-one and let me mentor you the way Dave Marshall mentored me. Here's how it works. For each series, I begin with a short teaching video, no longer the 10 minutes. And then there's a little assignment that I'm going to ask you to take 10 minutes on your own and do some study.

And here's what I know. People that have done this with me, who make it a habit just to spend 20 minutes with me day after day for somewhere between 10 days to a couple of weeks, they learn to hear God's voice. They learn to discern the Spirit. God begins to change them from the inside out.

This is a habit that you cannot afford not to develop. Thanks, Chip. If you're looking for a practical way to transform your faith, sign up for daily discipleship with Chip at Through our new website, you can peruse all our current courses and read some inspiring testimonies of how this free resource has impacted others. Over 200,000 people have learned to study God's Word at a deeper level with Chip's help. So why don't you join them?

And while you're at it, invite a few friends to do it with you. So if you're ready for a spiritual breakthrough, sign up for daily discipleship with Chip today by visiting the new That's Well, Chip, today you talked about how you learn to meet and engage with God every day. And honestly, you made it sound pretty easy.

But that was, of course, after 50 years. So what do you say to those who feel like reading their Bible or praying as an obligation? It's almost like their quiet time with God is something they're required to do.

Well, Dave, that is really true. I think there's a season where it can feel like duty, but you do it in a way thinking, I've got to build this habit or this practice. It's like, you know, maybe practicing the scales in piano or guitar, realizing there's certain basic things that will allow you to really do some things later that are wonderful and creative. And then what happened, it went from duty to a discipline. It got where, you know what, I arranged my day where the first thing I got up, I got a cup of coffee. It's something I did that became a habit, so I didn't have to think about it.

And then it grew to be a delight. And so what I would say to people is there's a part of that that's just a journey, that the flesh works against it, I don't want to get up, the enemy's trying to keep me out of God's word. And so, yeah, there's part of me that says I'm going to choose to do the right thing, whether I feel like it or not. Sitting still and praying for me is really hard.

I mean, I'm an activator, I'm very energetic, it's hard to sit still for anything. I take walks for my prayer time that are my best prayer times. As I'm walking and as I look at nature, and then I have a conversation and I can pray out loud and no one's there, that works for me. All I'm saying is there's a lot of different ways to engage and abide that will make sense for how God made you. Give yourself some freedom, like, you know, I'm going to sing this morning, or if I read two or three verses and it really speaks to me, it's like, I don't have to read the whole chapter. I don't have to get through the Bible for a year. There's not a bunch of rules.

He's my friend. Make it as relational as possible. You know, we're always looking for some pattern or some way or a box to check, and if I do that, then instead of, Lord, I know you love me, you want to meet with me, you want to direct me, you made me. Would you show me what it looks like? Here's my strong encouragement.

Ask God to show you His plan for you and then give it a whirl. Great challenge, Chip. Well, before we go, I want to take a second and thank those of you who make this program possible through your generous financial support. Your gifts help us create programs, purchase airtime, and develop additional resources to help Christians live like Christians. Now, if you've been blessed by the Ministry of Living on the Edge, would you consider sending a gift today? Now, you can do that when you visit or the Chippingram app, and now you can text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141. We want you to know how much we appreciate your support. Well, from all of us here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-17 05:22:20 / 2023-04-17 05:34:35 / 12

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