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About this series
I Choose Peace
How to Quiet Your Heart in the Chaos of Life
Why is it that as soon as we get that house, that job, that car, that, "you-fill-in-the-blank," the shine wears off so quickly - the horizon just keeps moving, and we never really experience peace? In this series, Chip unmasks a vicious opponent that's constantly poised to steal our peace and create an all-consuming discontent. If you’re ready for a spiritual journey of adventure and an intimacy with God like you’ve never known before, this series, from Philippians, Chapter 4, is the road map you're looking for.More from this series
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 is 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 is 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 I’ll 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 a spicy forty-nine, fifty, fifty-one Shades of Grey? Or is it just absolutely wrong and immoral and should never be in my house? Just ask yourself.
Questions: I actually took these six and I put them on one, little card with these questions.
Before I watch, listen, or think: is it true? Does it honor God? Is it right or wrong? And next: is it pure?
This is from the same root word as holy that means to be set apart. It means to be free from defilement, sexual immoral purity in thought, word, and deed. And the question you want to ask is: will this cleanse or dirty my soul?
Job would say in Job 31:1, “I have made a covenant with my eyes. How, then, could I gaze lustfully for a virgin?” David, in Psalm 101, about verses 2 and 3, he says, “I have committed before You, Lord, to live a blameless life and I will set no worthless or vile thing before my eyes.”
Can I just say something and we won’t belabor it? If you have a porn addiction, just get help. All the research is that it is as addictive as cocaine and trying hard and really intending and wanting to break a porn addiction is not something you’ll probably do on your own. No one else has.
And it produces fears and it multiplies into lies and cover-up. And it’s no less addicting than if you were sticking a needle in your arm. And it’s a pseudo intimacy that will destroy your relationships and so, God’s heart would be, I want you to see sex as holy and pure. The Bible says God made it. He loves it. But the marriage bed should be holy.
He wants what you watch, not just porn, but the kind of movies. And not just the sexually explicit ones, but what about the ones that they sort of suck us in by you have this mean guy married to this wonderful gal and she falls in love with someone who is really not her husband but he is a nice guy and she is a nice guy and he’s a jerk. And we find ourselves rooting for them in their affair.
And you know what that does? Tick-tok, tick-tok, tick-tok, seed planted. The enemy is very shrewd. The battle for your life is not out there. The battle is right here. The weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but divinely powerful. And we will take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
And that’s why, if you have a teenage son, in fact, in our day now, if you have a teenage daughter, you have to open the phones and have a conversation and you need to do it in the next twenty-four or forty-eight hours and sit down and talk about: your mind is so precious. And you are so precious. And the kind of addictions and the kind of information and the kind of attacks – no one would take their twelve or thirteen or eleven-year-old daughter or son or ten-year-old boy and drop them off in downtown San Jose in the middle of the night, or downtown Oakland and go, “Hey, I’ll catch you later. Have fun!”
And, yet, when you don’t have filters, when you don’t have a conversation, when you haven’t talked about these things, that’s exactly what you’re doing. And our kids are dying. Ask yourself: will this cleanse or dirty my soul?
The next word is lovely. I like this one. Attractive, winsome, beautiful. It pictures things that call forth a response of love and warmth versus bitterness, criticism, and vengeance.
This is a call to smell the roses, to look at a rainbow, to watch kids playing in a park, to ponder a pleasant memory, to pause with a warm embrace, to put your feet up and read an encouraging book.
Yesterday, I’m very excited, I guess it was Friday, and I just, I played golf a couple times. So fun. And as I was driving, it was about six thirty in the morning and all these puffy clouds and then it was all red and pink behind them. And I was just driving and it was just like – winsome, attractive, admirable. Oh Lord.
And I happened, in my phone, you know how these phones work where they just play songs that are on your phone, you never know which is coming up? And out of the blue comes up a song from a twenty-five-year-old young man who is best friends with my son. And he died of cancer at twenty-five and the song came on, “Restore Me.”
And I thought back of those memories and I thought back of what God has done and it was just, I just began to ponder His kindness and His sovereignty and His love and beauty and creation. Guess what happened to my emotions. We live close to the ocean. When was the last time you went there? When was the last time you went to the redwoods? Get your faces out of the screens and look at the beauty that God has brought.
Ask yourself this question: will this renew or harden my heart?
I had come home and we were going to eat in about ten minutes and I looked on channel two and it was like, Oh my gosh. I got to channel four and, I thought, PBS, sometimes they’ll give you more documentary position.
I found myself disturbed within, sad, angry about the injustice in the world, a sense that the world is completely messed up. Here’s the deal: in ten minutes, in ten minutes everything bad that happened in the globe went on my screen and to me. And I’m telling you, there were hundreds of millions of acts of kindness and children born and people being generous and love given and people caring and kids adopted and food given and fresh water and people pulled out of the sex trade. And all that wonderfulness I didn’t see. All I got in ten minutes was that and it shaped my thinking.
What you allow in your mind the last thirty to forty-five minutes before you go to bed and what you allow in your mind the first thirty minutes of your day will shape your subconscious, your mind, your thinking – you are either starving fear and feeding faith or you are doing the opposite.
Finally, he says, “That which is commendable, good repute,” he says, “gracious,” admirable is the meaning of the word. It literally means fair speaking. It describes things which are fit for God to hear versus ugly words, false words, impure words.
And the test here is: could I recommend this to someone who looks up to me? Right? Now, you don’t – by the way – if you are thinking, Oh my gosh. This would radically change what comes in my house. Good. It will also change you fear, change your emotions, change your kids if you have them. But, you don’t have to raise your hands on this one, have you ever been watching something and someone is coming down the hall and before they walk in, you change the channel? Oh, okay. I did that once. We have all been watching something and a little kid is coming in or your mate is coming in or something. And I don’t mean that it’s terrible, but you just, I’m not comfortable with them watching this.
How about this test: imagine you’re out sitting on one of those couches with two or three seats. And whatever is coming on your phone, your screen, your TV the Lord Jesus in His resurrected body shows up and says, “Hey! Chip, how are you doing? Great. I’m just going to relax a little bit and watch this.” “Great.” “You mind if I sit down?” “No, I’d love to have you.”
Here’s the question to ask: are you comfortable with Him sitting next to you watching what you’re watching? Are you comfortable with a five-year-old? With a grandchild? Are you comfortable with someone in this church or that you know that they just look up to you and you think, Man, if they think I’m the best Christian, boy oh boy, we are in trouble. But they do.
Can you recommend it to them? And if you can’t recommend it to them, it’s not good for you.
Our kids sometimes speak with just great, great wisdom and this is something that, when some of you were parents, you said to your kids, in the way the world has changed, this is what our kids need to say to us. Watch this.
Be careful little eyes what you see.
Oh, be careful little eyes what you see.
The Father up above, He’s looking down in love,
So be careful little eyes what you see.
Be careful little ears what you hear.
Oh, be careful little ears what you hear.
For the Father up above is looking down in love,
So be careful little ears what you hear.
Let’s give those kids a hand. Isn’t that great? Did you listen to the words, though? The words were not, “The Father up above is really down on you. Clean your act up, you scum bag, right now.”
That’s how some of you feel. The Father up above, He’s looking down in love. When I put things in my mind that separate me from my Father who paid the price and let the Son shed His blood for me, who so longs for my relationships and my purposes and my life to be filled with joy and goodness – when He sees that, the Father up above, He is looking down in love. He is not down on you.
It is the shame that you feel that will keep you from acting. We have men’s groups if you need help with pornography. We have women who are married to men who struggled with pornography. And for a lot of us, this is just a topic that, in your small groups and with a close friend or two, you just need to say, “I heard that message and this is some areas I need to work on. Would you help me? Would you help me keep my commitments? He loves me and I live a fearful life.”
The levels of depression in America are catastrophic and much of it is because of what we think about.
He finally summarizes and said, “If there is any virtue or praise,” in other words, “in case I left anything out,” it’s a, “think on anything that has the moral excellence and that will inspire and motivate you to love God and to love others.” So, everything doesn’t have to be spiritual.
I’m listening to a book called The Last Line, it’s the life of Winston Churchill. It’s fabulously interesting. So, in my car, it’s a book like this. That’s why I put it on Audible. I said, “I’ll never read that.” I have got six hours in and I looked the other day, there are only thirty-one hours left. But his courage and what was happening in the war.
And I’m listening to another book by John Ortberg on The Life You Have Always Wanted, and at night before I go to bed, and it’s just ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes. I’m reading about the life of Martin Luther and just all I want to do is, Lord, how do I fill my life and my mind with good things? Because I will be the product of my thought life.
BUT IT’S JUST NOT THINKING, IT’S THEN ACTING. HABITUALLY PRACTICE THESE THINGS. Habitually practice these things.
He says, “You have learned and received. You had an appetite and you applied. You heard and saw; I gave instruction and I modeled it.” And here is why: your thought life determines your – write the word – future.
I don’t know what your hopes are, but I am going to tell you, your future will be determined by your thought life. The dreams. The passions. The joys. The thoughts. For friends, for family, for work.
The Scripture in Romans chapter 8, I put it in the Amplified, because it’s so graphic. Here is a great truth. Follow along. “For those who are living according to the flesh, set their minds,” notice the phrase, “on the things of the flesh, which gratify the body, but those who are living according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit, His will, and His purpose. Now, the mind on the flesh is death, both now and forever, because it pursues sin; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, the spiritual wellbeing that comes from walking with God – both now and forever; the mind of the flesh with its sinful pursuits is actively hostile to God. It doesn’t submit itself to God’s law, since it cannot, and those who are in the flesh living a life that caters to sinful appetites and impulses,” notice, “cannot please God.”
You can’t keep putting things in your mind and then in your will, Oh God, I want to do this. Transformation always begins with your thinking.
Second – how? It’s the principle of mind renewal. The principle of mind renewal. It’s a verse we hear a lot around here. Romans chapter 12:2. And I like this, again, in the Amplified Bible. “And do not be conformed to this world any longer with its superficial values and customs, but be transformed,” and notice, not overnight, “progressively changed as you mature spiritually by the renewing of your mind.”
Sometimes, in some of these illustrations, they get me because I’m getting old-er. I have been a Christian a little over forty years. I didn’t grow up as a Christian. I am still doing the most basic things that I did years ago, because I am still struggling with everything that I am talking to you about.
But what I can tell you is, as I have done what I have talked about, the transformation that I have seen God in my life and those I love and those I have had the chance to help. So, I have a little card. You can make your own. Before I watch, listen, or think on it: is it true? Does it honor God? Is it right or wrong? Will this cleanse or dirty my soul? Will this renew or harden my heart? Would I recommend this to someone who looks up to me? Will this bring peace or fear in my life?
When I went through this stuff with my back, I had a time to really ponder some big issues and look at some pretty big holes that I felt God was speaking to me. And so, there was a lie. I have always been semi-ADD, A-type personality.
But here’s what I, here’s a lie I believed most of my life: I am a prisoner of the opinions of the important, influential people in my life. I agonize when my best judgment and direction from the Lord is different from theirs. Disagreeing with them will harm our relationship irreparably, so I attempt to please everyone, creating an unhealthy lifestyle.
You could say it a lot easier, like, “people pleasing.” But part of that is an alcoholic father and realizing you’ve got to keep the peace and so you learn clues. And so, that’s on one side of a card. And it says, “lie I believe.” Then I flip the card over and it says, “truths.”
Here’s a truth: people love me and are for me and want me to live a life of joy, rhythm, rest, and fruitfulness in all areas of my life. I do not need to prove my worth through hard work or extraordinary productivity. I am accepted, loved, and greatly valued just for who I am.
But that lie pops up. So guess what I do. I read this side of the card and then I say, “Stop.” And then I turn it over and I read this side of the card. And you know what I do? I am setting my mind on the Spirit.
What lies do you believe? What cards do you need to make? You would just be shocked at what God will do as you renew your mind.
As you turn the page, here’s the promise: the God of peace, the God of shalom will be with you. It’s not just you’re going to receive His peace, but his blessing, His power, His presence, His provision. He wants to fulfill the desires of your heart. Are you ready for this? Here’s the biggest lie you believe: you don’t think God is for you. You think you’ve got to measure up.
He is so outlandishly for you. In the New Living Bible, Psalm 86, about verse 5 says, it says, “O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so abounding in unfailing love to all who ask for Your help.”
And I bet I read that hundreds of times in the last probably ninety days, because I read that and I just, getting it from here to here for me, is I just have this predisposition, and I know where it came from, is that God’s arms are probably a little bit crossed and now and then His toe is tapping. And no matter what I do, Well, Chip, that wasn’t quite good enough. Here’s what you need to do. And that’s a lie.
And I am changing. And you can change. And your kids need to change. But you will have to guard your mind like never before. Remember? We started, I asked you a question: do you want to overcome your fear? Do you?
Now, for real, I want you to go back to: this is what I was afraid of. Do you want to overcome your fear? If you do, then you have to radically change. These things don’t come into my house, they don’t come into my mind, they don’t come on my screen, they don’t come on my phone, and they don’t come into my kids’ or grandkids’ lives.
This truth is going to start into my mind. I have given you a game plan. Twenty-one minutes of how to spend time with God. That’s a good start. It’s written out for you. I am so excited that as you take these steps, God will show up in your life like never before. Now, here’s the deal. Your emotions aren’t going to change overnight. But if you do what we are talking about, a week, you’ll go, Hmm, a little different. A couple, three weeks, Whoa, a little different.
About thirty days, it’ll be like, Wow! Ninety days, people will say, “What happened to you?” Six months, two years – those addictions, those anger issues, those “I’ve got to measure up,” those things can really change.
Lord God, my Savior, my Friend, the lover of my soul and the soul of every person in this room and anyone at any time whoever might watch or listen to this, we praise You. Here’s what is true: You are good and You are forgiving. You are slow to anger. That You are abounding in steadfast, loyal love. And You want the best for us. Lord, there is an enemy that has infiltrated the media and sends messages of death and comparison and immorality. That, Lord, we would just confess. We want to confess corporately, our sin of how casual we have been with what we have allowed into the most precious commodity you have given, this mind. And so, Lord, would You help us to say no to that which is evil and say Yes, renew our minds that we could break the power of slavery. In Jesus’ name, amen.