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Authentic - It's All About Relationship, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2024 5:00 am

Authentic - It's All About Relationship, Part 2

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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February 5, 2024 5:00 am

If you want to get the very best from God, you’ve got to give Him something in return. In fact, the scriptures are clear that God blesses those who do this one thing. But more than that, He opposes those who don’t.  In this message, Chip reveals what that one thing is.

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Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram

There have been seasons in my life. It just feels like being a Christian is the hardest job I've ever had.

And I just forget what it was like in those early days when all I felt was love and joy and what a thrill it was to be a follower. Well, I've learned a couple things about how to address that, and I'd love to share them with you today. Thanks for joining us for this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Chip's our Bible teacher for this international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. Well, in just a minute, we'll share the second half of Chip's message, It's All About Relationship, from our series Authentic, How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious. Last time, we learned about the goal and purpose of our connection to God. Today, Chip will give us a step-by-step process to deepen our relationship with God and get it where we want it to be.

So if you have a Bible handy, go now to John, Chapter 15, as we join Chip for the remainder of his talk. Listen carefully. Discipline has to do with God dealing with sin in your life. Pruning has to do with God dealing with the self in your life.

Why? God wants to produce more fruit. So what does he do?

He gets into your priorities and he says, you know something? Yeah, I see a lot of fruit. I want more fruit. I love you. This is not done out of spite. It's not done out of anger. But what he does is he gets, you know, when you prune, you get right down near where those big branches are and you lop off big things that seem real important to you. And the pruning happens, I've found in my life, around areas like priorities. Have you ever found that you're trying to juggle all these balls and there's the kids here and there's work here and this here and ministry here and this here and this here and you keep trying to figure it out, figure it out, figure it out and your life is so busy, so crazy and you do the Christian deal.

You know what the Christian deal is? Let's have coffee. Well, when do you want to have it? Well, how about next Monday?

Next Monday won't work. We've got soccer and this and that. How about they've got dance lessons? They've got a meeting at church. What about, what about, what about, what about? And you look at each other and you smile and you say, see you later.

Right? Two Christians can't come up with a date unless it's five in the morning to meet with one another just to be. You know, I don't want to poke too hard, but I will just a little. If I ask you, those of you that have families, how many times you sit together with the TV off and eat a meal together and have quality conversation in your home, I think even in this church with such great people, I would be horrified at your response. And I want to tell you something. If your kids don't abide with you, they will not catch your values. If your kids don't abide in your home with you, if there's not unstructured time where you're together, no agenda.

Way too many meals are eaten in many vans and SUVs. And we got someone going this night, someone going this night, someone going this night, someone going this night, thinking, oh, we've got to provide all this stuff for our children. So they've got to practice here, a dance lesson here, a guitar thing here, a church thing over here.

And when you look across the week, maybe once you eat together, share hearts. Like what are you trying to do? Produce professional athletes, professional musicians, and all your kids are going to go into ministry? See, I think God in the midst of that kind of stuff will start pruning and bring pressure in your life where you sit down and you just feel like I can't take this anymore. I'm overwhelmed.

This is nuts. And you know what you do? You don't make some little mid course changes.

You're all smart people. If a little mid course change could get things right, you would do that. You say to one of your sons or daughters, you can do music or you can do soccer. You can't do both. You can do this or you can do that. You can't do both. And if you're married, you look at one another and you say, you know what, we're going to focus this fall on this or on this.

We can't do both. And an amazing thing would happen. People would find themselves talking with one another again. How many of you have had your children come to you and say, Mom, Dad, I think I'm on the beginning of a deep emotional crisis in my life. Could we talk? Excuse me, Mom, Dad, I've got some repressed feelings about rejection I've had at school and I think some time unstructured where we dialogue about my self-image because it's all on the line right now, my body's changing.

You think we could get an hour or two on this one? When does that happen? That happens when you're hanging out and your kids are hanging out and you talk.

And you know how they process what they hear at school and what they see on TV and what their friends say? There better be a place where there's a circle, where there's a filter it all goes through and it better be around your table where you say, well, how did it go today? And they give you that lame, oh, nothing.

What'd you learn? Nothing. And you say, sorry, you wanna eat here tonight? Yeah, well, something. At this house we're gonna talk about it.

Now here's the problem. Just as that happens in our family, it's a microcosm of our relationship with God. And hear me. If you do not have time to talk with your heavenly Father and build a relationship with Him, if you do not have time on a very regular basis to methodically and unheardly read through the Scriptures and let Him speak to you, if you do not have time to meet with your small group of believers where you are authentic and real and you're sharing your life and they're sharing their life and you are in life together, if you're married and you do not have time to meet with your spouse and talk not only about the finances and the business and the house, but issues of the heart, I got news for you. I don't know what you're doing, but a lot of it's not the will of God.

Because the primary goal is that you produce fruit. Apart from Him, we can do what? Nothing. If you abide in me and what's it say? My words abide in you. Is God's word abiding in you? It can't abide in you if you don't hear it.

So it's a good thing to, you know, come to church. It can't abide in you unless you read it. You need to make a priority to get into the Scriptures on your own. It can't apply to you if you don't study it. If there aren't some key passages that you memorize and even others that you say, I'm going to meditate and think and ponder, what does that mean to me?

If you abide in Him and His words abide in you, then out of the context of that relationship you ask. And just my confession to you, you know, I'm far from having any of this all together, is when I'm most tired, most worn out, and most frazzled, what I realize is I may even be in the Bible and be praying, but unconsciously I've shifted from the abiding to I'm going to make it happen. Oh yeah, I'm reading and praying, and oh God, I want you to help me.

No, no, no, no, Chip, you don't get it. I want you to abide in me and then I will show you. You know why we don't hear God's voice when we get over committed?

We're not abiding. When you are abiding, He'll say, this is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right, when you turn to the left. And so when we don't do that, and we all go through seasons, I'm convinced, balance happens rarely as you go from one extreme to another. And so I think maturity is just getting not quite so far out of balance so often. But God prunes, and He'll prune about identity issues, He'll prune about priorities, He'll prune about significance, and He'll prune about security. See, those are deep issues of the heart. And so in this last year, I mean, I think God did great things.

I didn't like most of them. So, but is my security in who I work with? Is my security and significance in my expectations being fulfilled? Is my focus on what I can see happening? Or is it in my trust?

You must cooperate. That's what it means to abide. Ask yourself, am I in a season of discipline where I know there's some things about my life that are not right? There's some attitudes that aren't right. There's some habits that aren't right.

There's some relationships that are out of kilter. God will take you away. He'll lift you up because He loves you. If you're in general walking with God, what He's going to do is He's going to prune you. And He will prune you, not so that life can get hard.

He will exert pressure and pressure and pressure and pressure until the main things get back to being the main thing. And the main thing is not what we do for Him. The main thing is not how many ministries you're in, not how busy you are, not how much money you're giving away. The main thing is your heart and your relationship with this connectedness with Jesus. How many of us, if the truth were known, honestly feel like Jesus is our friend, our best friend? Honestly feel like He's the most approachable, the most winsome, the most loving, the most accepting relationship we have in the whole world? How many of us honestly open this book on a regular basis, not because we ought, should, or gotta, but with a sense of who am I to get to know a God like you? All-powerful, all-knowing, you've loved me, you've died for me, you've raised from the dead, you've got a great plan for my life.

I just want to know what it is. And parents, can I give you a cue on this one? Is there anything more precious in your experience than having one of your kids climb up on your lap?

You know, you didn't ask them. You know, maybe even kind of sitting and watching something, and reading the paper, or you're just sort of half out of it, and have one of your kids climb up on your lap, look up at you, put their arms around you, and just say, in my case, I love you, Daddy. I mean, is that like almost up there with cleaning the room? Do you know what your Heavenly Father often is looking for? Could you just look at my face?

Could you refocus? I didn't die for you. I didn't give all that I have so that you could get busy doing stuff.

I wanted a relationship. He wants to enjoy you. He's not down on you. I think one of the great myths in Christianity is that secretly we believe in the back of our mind. God's really mad, and He's mad at us.

And no matter what we do, it will never measure up. That is not the God of the Bible. Any anger that God has ever had has been dealt with once and for all.

It's called the wrath of God, and it was placed on Christ in your place when He died on the cross. You're listening to Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. We'll return you to Chip's message in just a minute, but let me quickly share with you God has called us to do incredible ministry work all around the world. And when you regularly give to Living on the Edge, you're a part of what we do. So consider becoming a monthly partner today when you visit LivingOnTheEdge.org. We appreciate your generous support.

Well, with that, here's Chip. Every time you come to God, now are there times you disappoint Him like I do? Are there times you let Him down? Are there times you grieve Him and make Him sad?

Absolutely. But He's never down on you. And He invites you to come and sit on His lap, not out of duty. See, a lot of our energy in Christian circles is really not about honoring God. It's really about helping us feel better about ourselves. When I do this and when I do that, I feel like I'm a better person. And God would want us to hear, you're already a better person. I love you as much right now as I'm ever going to love you.

And so that's why this very last evening He said the most important thing that He could say. Guys, here's what I want. Here's the key. Abide. If there's no fruit, I'll discipline you so that you can bear fruit. If there's some fruit, I'm going to prune you so there can be more fruit. And then when there's more fruit, I want you to abide.

I want you to go to the next level. Actually, one of the best chapters I've read on pruning and abiding is I don't know where it's at in here, but chapter 4, 5, 6 or something. But Bruce has, you know when you read a book and someone shares some stuff from the heart and something goes off inside of you and goes, whoa, I've never heard anybody put that in print. That's me. That's how God did it with me.

That's what happened with me in this. And He talked about when you have, when you're bearing fruit, going from more fruit to much fruit, He said that you need to go to the next level spiritually. And He talks about in His own life where, you know, He's involved in ministry and a lot of good things were going on, but He was experiencing a lot of burnout. And He made commitments to get up at 5 and meet with God, to get in the scriptures every day, and to pray until He actually met God. And He said it was like starting all over in His Christian experience. He said, I literally gave less time to ministry. I gave more time to God.

And then, are you ready? Less produces more. Because what happens now, it's supernatural. God works in you and through you and things happen you can't explain. You are led to pray in ways that you didn't pray before. You get near to His heart and you more align your will with His will. It's not doing more, it's being more and making your relationship with Him the priority.

And that's how you move from more fruit to much fruit. Psalm 46 10, be still and know that I am God. I know of no greater challenge for American Christians. And for those of us that have any sense of drivenness, those of us that have a compulsive personality, those of us that are on the performance track, this may be one of the greatest challenges we ever have. And I would just share with you the only way I know to do it is do first things first. Many, many, many years ago, you know, I just hit the wall and thought, you know, I can't get everything done. And the only way I've made any progress on this journey is to do first things first.

And so I don't know about you, but I just said, I'm not going to meet with people. Early on, it was so hard for me and I had to develop the habit. I just said, no Bible, no breakfast.

Tell you what, couple days of that and get you motivated. Not legalism, I put it on myself. But I got in a routine where the first thing I did, and you know, I read David a great while before dawn. I read Jesus' life a great while before dawn.

I know we're not all morning people, but here's what I know. I'm going to meet with God first. I'm going to talk honestly with God. And I'm going to come up with a spiritual diet that I need, not that you need. Some of you are way past me spiritually. You may need this much time and this kind of a diet. Others may be brand new in Christ.

You may need this much time and this kind of a diet. This is where I'm at. But I've asked God, what do I need to abide? How much time thinking? How much time praying? What do I need? Where am I going to read? What kind of devotional helps?

How much do I journal or not journal? There's a lot of great ways. But here's the issue. Do you wait until that fits into your schedule? Or do you drive a stake and say, abiding in Christ is the most important thing I will ever do in any 24 hour period and I may not get anything else done, but I will abide? And of course, it's not just spending time in the morning.

Then it's, how do I live out that relationship every moment of the day? But if it doesn't start and you drive a stake, it's impossible to do later. But here's what I know Jesus has said. He said that if you abide in me and my words abide in you, you can ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. Now those of you that are thinking, you know, that bigger house and adding two zeros to your income, this sounds like a good verse.

Don't go there. See if his words abide in you, what will get on your heart is the things that are on his heart. And what you'll be thinking about is if there's zeros to be added, wonder where that money ought to go to really help people that will impact eternity. And if there's people with needs, you let his words abide in you and you catch Jesus' heart, you'll look at your neighbors different. You won't judge people from the outside. You'll start looking at yourself and realizing the person who probably needs to grow more than anybody else is you.

That's what I learned. And then his words abide in you and then you ask. Then you start asking for beyond material needs, as important as that is, and God wants to answer.

I'm not diminishing that. But you start asking for a larger heart. You start asking for opportunity to share Christ with your neighbors. You start asking for the boldness to say no to all the busyness and say yes to some important relationships. You ask God for the faith to take steps that you know he wants you to take, but you're scared to death.

Welcome to life. And you begin to ask the kind of things that are on his heart. And then he will enlarge your mind and you'll begin to ask things that you think, this is nuts, what am I doing asking for this? And then you'll look back 18 months, it was nuts and God did it. And then you ask him for this and God did it.

God is not looking for superstars. He's looking for ordinary man or woman who would say, Jesus, I want our relationship to be first and foremost. I want to abide. And see, verse 8 tells us, by this, not by activity, not by busyness, not even by acts of service, by this my Father is glorified that you bear much fruit.

All fruit is is character good works and good works expand the kingdom that flow out of your relationship. And he says, you'll prove you're my disciples. Why did he tell us these things?

Did he have some sort of cosmic need to have a relationship and then want us to do all this stuff? Look at verse 11 in your text. What's it say? Jesus turns to his disciples that night, these things I've spoken unto you that my joy might be in you and that your joy might be made full. The greatest thing you'll ever do for you and in your relationship with God is to bear much fruit. Bearing much fruit means if there is no fruit, you cooperate with God's discipline, you repent and you do whatever he wants you to. If you're bearing fruit and he begins to prune and he wants to get rid of self and self dependency and security on people and get your priorities right, you cooperate and you realign.

If you're already bearing more fruit and you want much fruit, it means you take it to the next level and you say, wherever you're at, I'm going to make my relationship with Christ, my time in the Word, my prayer life, the number one focus of my human experience on this planet. And then a transformation will occur in you and then through you. I just want you to push the pause button in your soul right now.

Okay, just stop. I want you to think about something I just said. I said I'm going to make my relationship with Christ, my time in his Word, my prayer life, the number one focus of my human experience on this planet. And then I told you right after I taught that, I said then transformation will occur in you and then through you. Now that wasn't a plea or a word from God about what you ought or should do. This is about the relationship. And when you talk with God, prayer, if you don't listen to what he wants to say to you in his Word, Jesus said that if you abide in me and my words abide in you, then you ask whatever you wish. And this wasn't a blank check that you can, you know, get whatever you want.

There's a connection between the vine and the branches in such a way that intimacy and power and love occur that causes relationships to grow deep, that gives you the patience to be the kind of mom or dad that he wants you to be, that gives you the kind of grace to forgive your mate, that gives you the willpower and the strength to say no to an addiction. Many of you listening to my voice today heard God's Word, you're at a crossroads and you need to say to God today before anything else happens, Lord God, I'm all in. You know what you need to do.

You know those areas that need to be addressed. You need to stop. You need to repent. You need to ask God to forgive you. And I want to remind you, He will.

He loves you. And then you need to tell someone today, I told the Lord, I'm all in and I'm going to evidence it by getting into His Word. Start in the book of John and just start reading. And so Father, I pray that you would give grace and courage at this very moment. And whether people are driving in the car, whether they're jogging out on the track, whether they're sitting somewhere and listening online, I pray that Your Spirit would pierce their heart.

They would cross the line and say, Lord, I'm Yours. Help me. In Jesus' name. Amen and amen.

Thanks, Chip. Well, if you've been challenged to deepen your relationship with God, we'd love to support you. Go to TrueSpiritualityOnline.org and check out our resources. You can order Chip's popular book, True Spirituality, get the small group study, or watch countless helpful videos.

All these tools were designed to show you the clear path to becoming a genuine follower of Christ. So check them out today. The website again is TrueSpiritualityOnline.org.

That's TrueSpiritualityOnline.org. Well, Chip, before we go, I can see you're wanting to jump in here one last time to share something with our listeners. Thanks so much, Dave. As we wrap up today's program, I have to tell you that one of the greatest things that happens through Living on the Edge is people make Jesus the Lord of their life. And I've read literally thousands of emails. And the change that happens is just absolutely amazing.

And it's a chain reaction. And so I just want to thank all of you that support the ministry financially, because when someone makes Jesus Lord, their marriage changes, their parenting changes, who shows up at work changes, thank you very, very much for your financial support. And you know, if you have not supported us or haven't supported us in a while, or would just kind of like to make it a habit and maybe do it monthly, today would be a great day to say, you know something? Christians need to live like Christians, and I'd like to help Living on the Edge. Thanks so much for whatever God leads you to do.

Thanks, Chip. Well, if you're already a financial partner, thank you. With your help, Living on the Edge is ministering to more people than ever.

But if you're benefiting from Chip's teaching and haven't yet taken that step, now would be a great time to join the team. To send a gift or to become a monthly partner, go to LivingOnTheEdge.org, or call us at 888-333-6003. That's 888-333-6003, or visit LivingOnTheEdge.org. Have listeners tap donate. Well, as we close, are you looking to get even more plugged in with Living on the Edge and our resources? Then let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. You can listen to our most recent series, sign up for 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. Well, from all of us here, I'm Dave Druey, thanking you for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-10 15:50:28 / 2024-02-10 16:00:43 / 10

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