What has the power to so blind us and deceive us that it would literally capture our soul? There is a battle for your soul and mine, and today we'll learn what that battle is and how to win it.
Stay with us. 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. We're nearing the end of our series, Pathways to Intimacy with God, and in just a minute Chip will reveal the supernatural power God's given us to fight back against the spiritual forces that oppose us daily.
And as we wind down this series, if you've missed any of Chip's messages, now's the time to go back and catch up, either through the Chip Ingram app or at livingontheedge.org. If you're ready, here's Chip for his message, How to Win the Battle for Your Soul. People have always longed to be very close to God. And as we begin, I want to begin with an ancient Hebrew proverb. This is a proverb that is from the wisest man in the world. It's very powerful.
It cuts through a lot. It says this, there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death. There is a way that people think I'm on the right track, doing the right thing for the right reason, and I'm doing exactly what I ought to do, it seems right to them, only to find out that it's the way of death and destruction.
But they're completely convinced intellectually and emotionally this is right, this is good. There is a way that seems right to a man, right to a woman, right to a student, but that way ends in death. And death is separation. Death is destruction. Death is pain.
Let me give you a real live illustration of how this plays out. A man comes to Jesus. He's a good man. He's a moral man. He's a righteous man. He's a religious man. He's heard the teachings of Jesus. He's seen the power. He's watched people being raised from the dead. He sees the 5,000. He sees there's something different about Jesus, and he hears teaching with authority like no one else. And even though he's a righteous man, he comes to Jesus and he says, what must I do to inherit eternal life? I want to make sure that all my ducks are in a row. And there's a premise there.
What must I do? There is a way that seems right to a man. There are certain things that you do, and if you do these certain actions, keep these certain rules, keep your nose clean, and are religious in these certain ways, then equals you will get eternal life.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is death. And Jesus responds to him here in Mark 10. And Jesus questions first. He says, well, why do you call me good? No one is good except God.
And Jesus already is starting with his presuppositions, and he wants to pull out the pillars from underneath of him. Because behind his concept is there's certain things you can do, and behind calling Jesus good, he's saying good must be relative. I'm good compared to other people.
You're a really good teacher. You must be good compared to, and Jesus said, mm-mm. Good is not a relative concept. Good is absolute. Good is pure. There's only one that is good.
You don't know me well enough to call me good. There is only one and one standard, and it is God who is good and is holy and perfect. And so in order to help him see how unrelative goodness and holiness in a relationship with God is, he goes to where Moses went to teach that God gave the Ten Commandments to help us see not how to get into heaven, not how to have a relationship with God, but to see how much we fall short so we cry for mercy and realize we can never do enough good things. But it's by the mercy of God and the grace of God by faith. And so Jesus turns to him and says, I'll tell you what.
Why don't we go to the basics? You know the commandments. Do not murder. Don't commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness.
Do not defraud, honor your father and your mother. If you study it carefully, what you realize in the Ten Commandments, there were two tablets. The first tablet had four commands. The second tablet had six commands. The first tablet, four commands were all vertical.
Your relationship with God. No other gods before me. Don't take my name in vain.
The second tablet are all horizontal. Interestingly Jesus quotes five of the six commands, but he purposely leaves one off. See if you can catch it in just a minute. And so he says, so how are you doing in keeping the commands? He says, teacher, I have kept all these things for my youth up. Compared to other people he's saying, I'm squeaky clean. I've not murdered anybody. I'm not committed adultery. I don't lie.
I don't steal. I've honored my father, my mother. Now notice the response of Jesus.
Notice the motivation. Jesus, looking at him, felt a love for him. He had compassion for him. He saw this good, moral, religious, sincere man who was doing what seemed right to him.
Keep these rules. Be a good person. Then somehow, someway you'll get eternal life. And Jesus felt compassion. What he's going to say is not harsh. What he's going to say is not to get down on this guy.
He's going to say this because he wants to unlock life for this man. And so feeling love for him, Jesus said, one thing you lack. Now if you have a pen, you might circle these key words. Go and sell, circle the word sell, all your possessions. And give, circle the word give to the poor.
And then notice the result. And you will have treasure in heaven and come, and then circle the last phrase, follow me. Sell what you have, give to the poor, guaranteed treasure in heaven, and come follow me. Do you understand what he's doing?
The man came and he didn't really understand. He said, what must I do to have eternal life? Eternal life is not something you get after you die. Eternal life is a quality of life now.
It's an abundant life. It's intimacy with God. It's joy and purpose and passion. It's understanding exactly why you're here and how you're made and fitting into God's plan. And the product is love and joy and peace and passion and goodness and kindness and gentleness. It's the spirit of God living the life of Christ through you.
That's eternal life and the moment you die, then all barriers are removed and you share that with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit forever and ever and ever. And he says, what must I do? And he says, you've got it wrong.
Everyone at times does something that seems right to them, but often they're on the wrong track, going the wrong direction and they don't even know it. And Jesus saw that this man's problem wasn't external. It wasn't about being religious.
It wasn't about being honest. But he was an idolater. He had an idol in his heart. And the idol was money.
You say, where do you get that? I get that from the very next line. But at these words, he was saddened and he went away. Notice grieving. You know what the word grieve means? Grieving is when you lose something. Notice what he just lost.
He lost the relationship with Jesus. Jesus said, you can come be with me. I'm offering you an invitation to intimacy. I'm offering you to be close to me forever. I'm offering you purpose. I'm offering all the things you think someday, someway, somehow all those riches might give you.
I'm offering it now in me. And he went away grieved. He was sad because he realized he couldn't have both. For he was one who owned much property he rejected the invitation to life and intimacy and treasure forever with Jesus. To be heaven bound to know the joy that's unexpressable and love and peace beyond all comprehension. He was operating in a way that seemed right to him but the way there end was death.
And if we met this guy we would say he's probably one of the greatest Christians we've ever met. But you know what the last command is? Thou shall not covet. And see that's an internal issue. That's an issue of the heart. And this man had all the externals right and the fact that when he heard Jesus he knew he was missing something.
What must I do? Jesus said there's a way that seems right to you but the end of death. Instead I invite you to intimacy with me now and forever. Does this mean that we need to sell our possessions to become a Christian?
Absolutely not. It meant this one man in this one situation had a barrier in his walk with God and what he needed to do was take money off the throne of his heart so Jesus could be the king of his life. And he rejected that because you can't serve both. There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is death. We've talked in this series about how to be intimate with God. We've talked about how to get hugs from an invisible God, koinonia. We talked about how does God speak to ordinary people and we learned that God speaks to ordinary people through his word. We learned about how to talk with God and how we can actually pray and he'll answer.
Remember Luke chapter 11 that there is actually a way that ordinary regular people like us can talk with God. We learned how to rekindle our spiritual passion. How that we don't go through the motions and take unleavened bread and little grape juice or wine and pass it around and play games.
We relive and remember who Jesus is and what he's done. All these ways the early church were committed to what? The apostles teaching and to prayer and to the breaking of bread and to fellowship.
Those were the cores of the early church. I want to remind you that those practices even by born again believers who love God, who want to have intimacy with God, those practices, those paths that can draw us into intimacy, those conduits of grace occur in a hostile environment. They occur in a world that is pulling you away from God and pulling me away from God. And so I want to talk about following Christ on the path of paradox. I'm going to suggest that Jesus teaching will be counterintuitive. He's going to ask you to do just the opposite of what you think. The world and the world system and even much of Christianity is going to say do this, do this, do this. And Jesus is going to say if you want intimacy with me, no.
Do just the opposite to get where you really want to go. And he's going to say there are barriers to intimacy with me. And what I want to do in our time together is first look at the barriers to intimacy and then second I want to look at how to overcome those barriers because this series is not about just developing activities to get in the Bible on a regular basis. This is not a series about learning to pray more deeply and hear God's voice.
This isn't just that so the Lord's Supper will be more meaningful or that we'll just have quinine at a new level. This is about you and your God, you and Jesus building and developing a relationship from the heart and the soul and the mind that is tight and connected and dynamic and revolutionary in your soul. So much so that it comes out in your mouth and so much so that it comes out in your actions. So much so that you treat people differently, you think differently that more and more and more little by little by little you become the kind of person that we all long to become. You become like Jesus.
But that doesn't happen automatically. Let's look at the barriers to intimacy with God. I'm going to suggest that there's three. First there's the world's system.
You might want to jot that down. Notice what it says in 1 John 2 15 through 17. It says do not love the world nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. Well what is this world you're talking about? For all that is in the world, 1 the lust of the flesh, 2 the lust of the eyes and 3 the boastful pride of life is not from the Father but it's from the world.
The world is passing away and also it's lust but get this, the one who does the will of God lives forever. Go in that phrase in your notes and every time you see the phrase the world underline it. The world, the world, the world, the world, the world, the world.
Notice how many times it's repeated. This isn't just the actual physical world. The cosmos or the world in the New Testament here is an idea for the shorthand phrase to describe a system. The cosmos is an organized system and strategy, a type of thinking, a world or a world view. One expert says it's a shorthand phrase to describe a system of humanity in bondage to sin and resulting in death. The actual literal word here for world is age and it's used elsewhere as the God of this age.
Anyone know who the God of this age is? Satan or the wisdom of this age or the rulers and the principalities and the powers of this age or in other words there is a world system. In other words you are in a dynamic spiritual conflict and there's three enemies. One is your flesh. The second is the supernatural enemy, Satan and the third is it's in this world system and this world system has the development of three major components that want to draw you away from God and what it promises to liver is joy, happiness, fulfillment, all the things you want but it offers it in the wrong way and here's the number one way, the lust of the eyes. Second, the lust of the flesh. Third, the boastful pride of life.
Every human being struggles with those at all times. If you do a little study think back to the Garden of Eden, the very first temptation. And if you study the passage carefully you will find the temptation centered around three things. The lust of the eyes, oh it looks good for eating. Then it was the pride of life, this will make you wise, it will make you like God. And then the sensual, mmm the taste.
If you go to Jesus in Matthew 4 when he's being tempted, how is he tempted? Same three things. See every human being who wants to walk with God will battle these three areas in your life. There is a world system that wants to tell you that there's a sensual means of fulfillment and whether that's sex or whether that's food or whether that's hedonism and pleasure there is a world that says if you can get enough of the sensual things that you want and if you want to figure out what that's like just turn on the TV and watch a few commercials.
Walk out the checkout stand. The world system in magazines, TV, movies, billboards is telling you the same message. One, lust of the flesh. Lust of the eyes, what your eyes can see, you can have it, you can control it, it'll make you powerful, it'll make you significant.
If you look like this, dress like this. In fact now the lust of the eyes has gone to our bodies. It blows my mind that people will allow people to do major surgery and their chin used to be like this and now it's like this and their ears used to be like this and now they're like, I mean, I mean making over a living room is one thing. You know, making over a motorcycle is one thing.
Making over a car is one thing. But when people have come to where there's some idealized version of that is beauty and they make over their entire bodies, well there's something pretty sick and scary about that. The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. The lust of the flesh is sensuality, the lust of the eyes is materialism and money and the pride of life is significance through competency, power and control. And there's not a day that I don't struggle with that. And there's not a day that you don't struggle with that. But there's a world system.
It's a calculated organized system. Those are the areas that the enemy tempts you on. These things your flesh automatically are drawn to.
You're a human being. The second barrier is the world's deception. In Mark chapter 4 Jesus has taught about the word of God as truth and he compared the word of God to a seed that goes into the ground and many of you know this story and there's four different types of soil that represent the hearts of men. And the third type of soil he describes here. And there are others speaking of seeds that are the word of God on whom the seed was sown among the thorns.
These are the ones who have heard the word but notice the worries of the world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word and it becomes unfruitful. Real life occurred. There was a new birth.
There was a growing environment and two things were happening and they're parallel. Real genuine life change is occurring. The spirit of God has come into a human heart and the word of God is being received and it's beginning to grow, it's beginning to grow, it's beginning to grow.
Life change is occurring. The spirit of God is producing peace and joy and changes in relationships but simultaneously they're thorns. And as this new life in Christ is growing the thorns are wrapping itself around it and choking out the life.
And if you want to underline three phrases he tells us exactly what chokes out the life in a believer. It's the world's deception. Notice the first, the worries of the world, literally the cares, just the demands, the everyday stuff. The second is the deceitfulness of riches. It's not money. It's not that money's bad.
It's the deceitfulness. It's the promise that money says that you don't even understand it. I need money to get here to go there because when I drive that car then I'll be. I need money to have that kind of education at that school and my kids need to go there because then they'll be successful and then I'll be significant because everyone will look at me as a parent who had kids who went to that really famous school.
I need money so that it's deceitful. It sucks us in and we don't even know it's happening. And then the third thorn is just the desire for other things.
It doesn't even mean bad desires, just desires. The worries of the world, choking in our day, if I put it in our language, it's busyness. It's just flat out busyness.
It's the new worldliness. We are so busy, busy, busy. We talk more about time with God than spending time with God. We talk more about loving friends and loving our family than loving our friends and our family. And we have the right intentions. We don't want to be that way.
Busy, busy, busy. And it chokes out God's word. Deceitfulness of riches, I think we all don't need a lecture on materialism. The issue has nothing to do with are we materialistic.
The only issue is how much and what's the damage right now in the world that we live in, beginning with the guy talking. And the last one here is the desires for other things. I see these just as distractions. Often they're not even bad.
They're just distractions, but they choke the word out. In our backyard, we moved into a house and we had a guy come and we had this ivy. And I didn't think much about it.
In fact, I thought it was kind of pretty, to tell you the truth. And there was this ivy that went all the way through the back and the fence. And he walked around and said, you've got a real problem.
You've got to get rid of this. And so I thought, yeah, well, spray some something on. I said, no, you can't spray stuff. You can spray stuff.
It'll never go away. This stuff, he said, you've got to pull it out by the roots. And then he went around and showed me how this beautiful little vine had gotten in our fence and just broken the boards.
And I'm thinking, how in the world can a plant do that? And then he showed me some shrubs and how when the ivy went around, he said, it'll kill everything. And then I said, well, like how much would it cost? And then he told me, and I thought, is it really that serious to get rid of? You know, he said, you know, I'm not fooling you, it is.
And he pulled all that stuff up and then we sprayed Roundup and everything. And you know what, three months later, guess what? It's starting to come back. These thorns never go away. Busyness, distractions, materialism. That's the battleground. It's in this context that we follow these paths of drawing near and quinonia and getting into the scriptures. But I mean, you'll have to do something radical to pull out these thorns.
You won't suddenly grow out of these. And they're deceitful. I mean, it's not like it's something bad. I got a good buddy who had a radical conversion at the church in California two couple, three years before I got there. I mean, this guy was like way, way out there. And I mean, God radically saved him and he grew and grew and grew and just had an amazing testimony and ended up the head of one of the major teams in the life of the church that ended up, you know, giving all this money and helping all these people.
And he was like, put up as sort of the poster boy of, of, of man alive. That is the kind of people we want to produce. And about 10, 11 years into it, he and his kids got real involved in soccer. Anything wrong with soccer?
Absolutely not. Well, a couple of his kids got pretty good. So they got on the traveling team. Well, they get on the traveling team. Well, when's the traveling team play?
They play on the weekends. Well, you know, we got tons of services and they go to this one, maybe to that one. And maybe they'll go to this other one. And then pretty soon he and his wife found, well, this is good. We're meeting some people. We want to share our faith.
So they get on a co-ed soccer team. It was just a distraction. Three and a half years later, one of the most radically committed leaders in our church is getting phone calls from his wife saying, I don't love you anymore. And I don't want to stay married to you.
And I don't want to go to church. And his kids are turned off. And you know what? They're really good soccer players now. And he and his wife got a couple of little trophies on their co-ed soccer team. And first of all, they missed now and then, and then a priority shifted. You know what? Is playing soccer wrong?
Are you kidding me? But it was just a distraction. And he ended up as a guy who never dreamed that he could drift because when you're drifting, when it's getting choked out, you're the last to know. Walking with God happens in a system, a world system that is subtle and deceitful. And finally it's seductive. Notice the world's seduction here in Luke 16, 14 and 15. Now the Pharisees who were lovers of money. You want to hear this word in Greek?
I don't throw a lot of Greek words around, but this is a cool one. Philogoria. Philo, the love of God, goria, money.
Doesn't that just sound like a word there? Philogoria, love of money sounds kind of soft. Philogoria. That sounds like a disease. What's happened to you, man? I got Philogoria. Oh man.
Oh, you know, get an antidote quick. But it's the Pharisees. Now by the way, who are these? The religious leaders. They're the people that know the Bible the best.
They fast every Tuesday and Friday. They are the experts in the law and Jesus' adversaries. Those are all external things, but how are they described as philogorias, lovers of money? And they were listening to all these things that Jesus was talking about and they were scoffing at him and then here's Jesus' response to them. You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your heart. Get this, for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God. Is that a picture of seduction or what? Here Jesus is saying to the most religious group, the people that have the greatest Bible knowledge, the people that everyone looked to, the people that have external squeaky clean morality, but he looks into their heart and he says, you have been seduced and you've been seduced by money and internally on the throne of your heart you have justified, justified, justified, justified and excused your way around and really it's all about you and you and our idolater and you don't really worship me at all.
In fact, you're a blind guy. You're a white washed tomb and you justify yourselves in the sight of men and then he says this last line, for that which is highly esteemed among men, power, prestige, role, influence, intelligence, that which is highly esteemed among men, what you drive, how many letters behind your name, how many zeros at the end of your portfolio, where you live, what's your zip codes in, what model of car you drive, how old your car, where you work, how many people report to you, how pretty your children are, what kind of grades your children get, what kind of schools are they going to, for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable inside of God. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram and you've been listening to part one of Chip's message, How to Win the Battle for Your Soul from our series Pathways to Intimacy with God.
Chip will be back shortly to share some helpful application for us to think about. Have you ever met a Christian who seems to have a special connection to God and it's not built on fake super spiritualism but a genuine closeness? Do you desire that familiarity? In this series, Chip reveals that God longs to have that level of intimacy with all believers, not just a select few. Learn how to experience a deeper relationship with the Heavenly Father who loves you. For more info about pathways to intimacy with God, visit livingontheedge.org or the Chip Ingram app. Well Chip's joined me in studio now and Chip, this entire ministry is supported by the generosity of our faithful listeners. Now I know that word generosity may make people think that it's all about how much a person can give and if my gift isn't impressive or notable enough, it won't be helpful. Dave, you know a lot of people think that but the fact of the matter, it's not just a person giving say $10 or $25 or $30 or $50 or whatever they think seems to be insignificant with the huge needs that there are to help people here and around the world, it's the combined efforts.
I mean think, right at this moment, I mean over a million people are going to list on a radio broadcast, a podcast or on the app. I mean a million people, if just a few thousand, say if 10,000 gave $10 a month, can you imagine what we could do here and around the world? So I just want to encourage some of you who just don't feel like you have enough to give or it wouldn't make much of a difference, would you pray and say, Lord, I will just give whatever you would lead me to give and could you know when you do that, it's a lot like the widow's mite.
God will honor it and we'd be very grateful. Thanks, Chip. Your regular dependable support multiplies our efforts and resources in God-sized ways. So to become a monthly partner, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org or text donate to 74141. That's the word donate to 74141. App listeners tap donate and thanks in advance for doing whatever God leads you to do.
Well, with that here again is Chip to share his application for this message. As you listen to the end of today's program, I told a pretty penetrating story, actually a very sad one and I'm praying one that will have a very positive ending one day. But it was about a couple that were very godly and they got distracted and they didn't get distracted by a bad thing.
They actually got distracted by a good thing. And it raises the question, what were you feeling when I was telling that story? What went through your mind?
What good things are you involved in? Something as I was speaking, there was a gnawing, there was a sense of discomfort. It was actually a little bit disturbing and everything in you wanted to kind of push it down and say, no, no, no, that's not me.
That couldn't be me. But something down deep in you called the Holy Spirit kept whispering, yes, it is, yes, it is. There's a funny thing about denial. By definition, it means we don't want to face the truth.
We do push it down. Has busyness distracted you? Has work distracted you?
Has golf or cooking or gardening? Has your kids distracted you? Have they become the end all? Do you live centered around how your kids turn out and making life wonderful for them? And yet, are you so busy making life out wonderful for them that you don't sit around the table and really talk? You don't open the Bible a couple, three times a week and just say, let's gather around the table and let's share a little bit about what God says and pray for one another.
When's the last time you got alone with one of your kids, just the two of you, and it wasn't at a game or a sports event or watching them play the piano or dance in the ballet, but it was just the two of you, father, son, or mother, daughter, father, daughter, and you're just hanging out. Are you spending time with God? Are you on the fast track? Does your money reflect that God's the number one thing in your life? If I just looked at where your time went and I just ask you, does this indicate that Jesus is the most important person in your life and his priorities, or has the seduction of the world, little by little by little, molded you?
And if so, what I want you to know is that God loves you. He is not down on you. He's very sad. He wants the best for you, and he wanted you to tune in today so that you could be jolted to the very depth of your soul, possibly cry and tell him how sorry you are, and then beginning right now, make a radical change to be no longer conformed to this world to be deceived and be transformed by the renewing of your mind and get back on track. Don't end poorly. Do what you hear him say to do and do it today. If you'll respond to the light, he'll give more. Healing, reconciliation, and hope are right around the corner, but the ball's in your court. Take the first step.
Good word, Chip. And before we go, as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take those vital steps in your faith journey. And if there's a way we can help, we'd love to do that. Give us a call, 888-333-6003 is our number, or connect with us at livingontheedge.org. And while you're there, take a moment and look through our resources on various topics, many of them absolutely free. Well, join us next time as Chip wraps up our series, Pathways to Intimacy with God. Until then, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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