Helping you grow closer to God
Download the Chip Ingram App
Get Out of Your Head free mp3 download.
About this series
Get Out of Your Head
What drives your thought life? Is it anxiety.. loneliness.. feeling like the world’s out to get you? Perhaps you’re really pessimistic or obsessed with being recognized. Whatever it is, do you feel trapped by it? Like no matter how hard you try, your mind still drifts back to these ideas? In this series, Jennie identifies 7 common thoughts that are actually toxic to our lives, and can derail our connection with God. Don’t miss how to break free from these dangerous mindsets - by wielding the power God’s already given us. Let’s learn how to fight back and win the war for our minds.More from this series
As we are beginning here. I want to start with scripture. I just want to start with the truth. It's in Philippians 2:5-11, so powerful. Some of the most powerful scriptures in the Bible. “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though He was in the form of God, He did not even count equality with God, a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking on the form of a servant being born in the likeness of men and being found in human form. He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name so that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father.”
And I don't know if there's more powerful words because I don't know if there's a more powerful story that this is the thing that makes our God unmatchable that He would take on the form of a servant. He would be born in the likeness of men and He would humble Himself to the point of death on a cross. I don't know that there's another story that's more beautiful in all the world. This is it.
Like our faith hangs on this and it is the most exquisite, incredible thing. It's what He set before us as people that follow Him as people that serve him, that love Him to live like this, that it says when we're talking about the mind, when we're talking about fixing our mind, he starts the verses with that. He says, “have this mind among yourselves.” This is how we're to think - we're supposed to think.
And that not only we're supposed to have this mind that is our mind in Christ Jesus. God has given us the mind of Christ and that we are to think like this, but we have the power to think like this because of what Christ has done for us.
Self-importance. We love this one. It feels great to be important. It is deep in our bones to crave it, to want it, to fight for it, to live for it. I would be so bold as to say that if you don't know God and you don't know Jesus and you don't have this different way that Philippians talks about, that this is the goal of your life.
And now we, we chase it in different ways, different forms, but ultimately it is to make ourselves seen, known, loved, important. That that is what we are chasing. Whether it's through relationships, addiction, fame, you know, all different things. We're ultimately wanting to be or disappointed that we aren't important. It is an addiction in our day.
And I believe if we do not notice this on ourselves, if we don't notice this in our ministries, if we don't notice this in our following of Jesus, then some subtle things happen. One of those subtle things is that we start to care a lot about how people view us. We care a lot and we constantly find ourselves thinking about that. We find ourselves thinking about if people like us, if people notice us, if people like our posts, if people support us and we're just, our eyes are darting back and forth, kind of noticing what people are noticing about us.
And that's so exhausting because largely they're not and they're not noticing us. And also, largely, it's a mixed bag of what kind of opinion they're going to have no matter how you're living. So I remember deciding this when I was in my young thirties and I was a pastor's wife. I remember getting to a place where I had become so addicted to people's approval that I was spending my life on it. You know, it was waking me up. I was anxious about it, and it's the most exhausting pursuit to try to be liked, to try to be great with everybody because you can't be, right? Like that's never going to be fully achieved. It's not something that's always in our grasp or controllable by us.
But this idea of self-importance can express itself in so many different ways and what the enemy is ultimately after is, what he was after in the garden with Adam and Eve, with Adam and Eve, the way that he tempted them, the way that he twisted the plans and the will of God for their lives is that he made them want to be like God.
He said: Hey, if you eat of this fruit, then you'll know what God knows. You'll be like God and God's holding something out on you. And so this idea of self-importance that: Hey, I want to be like God. What caused the devil to fall from heaven was that he wanted to be like God. He wanted people to worship him the way that they worshiped God.
So this idea of becoming like God, I mean go back to the tower of Babel early on in scripture, when there's now a human race and there's multiple people on earth and they come together and they build a tower to get to God. Everything is about becoming important from the very beginning of time. And we all kind of do this in our own way. We, we all kind of build our tower of Babel and say: Hey, look at me. Look at me, look at what we can do. Look at what I can do. I can matter.
Now what's interesting is this is really closely tied to obedience, right? Like we, we can start to put godly words on things that look like obeying God when it's really just becoming important. And so that's where it gets sneaky. I think from the enemy's point of view is that he is coming at us with good things to build the Kingdom of God, even, to put God's name on it. But ultimately it's for ourselves that we would be more and more important, that we would matter more and more and more.
I got an email from someone this week and she was on the borderline of death and had fought cancer. And she came out of that and she said, I was in this place where I just wanted to matter so much. She had this fear of like, you know what? I'm going to die and I need my life to matter more than it does. So I got this urgent, you know, I've got to do something important. I've got to build something important. I've got to do, you know, start a nonprofit or do something. And it was this urgency. She wrote about leaving a legacy for her life.
And she said, Jennie, I had gotten to a place where I was chasing that instead of loving my kids and the people right in front of me, I just wanted to do this important thing. And I didn't even know what to do really. And she said that she had read Restless and she really, which is actually about dreaming and obeying God and doing big things, but her takeaway, what from it was, you know what my big thing is my kids and loving them well. And that's going to be my legacy is like obeying God, right in the trenches where nobody sees.
And I think we've got to realize that ultimately God is after our obedience and He's after His glory. And so His stories for us are not to lead us to our kingdoms and building our names and building our, you know, stories, but they're to build His. And what humility does is it gives us a posture to do whatever God wants us to do. No matter what. There's a submission in humility. There's a disregard for our life or our story in it.
And so it's not that we never do things that look important to the world. You know, I remember my publisher when I was given the chance to write, she was like, you need to put your picture on your website. And I was like, no, this isn't about me. This is about God. And I don't want to, you know, I don't want anybody to know me. And there was something noble in that. But there was also something just not smart about it. And she was like, Jennie, people just need to see you so they know if they can trust you or not. And I was like, okay, okay.
But I think sometimes we can dismiss ourselves and diminish ourselves to the point of it being still about us. Like I wanted to let me be real clear. Back then, I wasn't just about God's glory. I was about not looking prideful. I didn't want to appear prideful. It still had a selfish motive to it. I just wanted to look humble. You know, I want to have the appearance of humility in my website, in my life.
And I didn't want to buy into this, you know, thing where everybody thought I thought I was a big deal. And I mean it still was a controlling of a narrative that was about me. And so we can look humble and we can build a story that kind of tells the world: Hey, we are humble people and it's still completely self-importance and pride.
And this is not about necessarily the decisions we make outwardly in our life. This is about the state, and the posture, of our heart before God. And when that's right, you know what happens? It doesn't matter as much about what people even think about you if they think you're humble or not. You know when you put your head on the pillow that you're right with God, that you're right with the people that know you and love you and there's a freedom in that.
Humility typically looks a lot like great confidence because that confidence in truly humble people comes not from themselves it comes from a dependence on Jesus and a belief that this life is all about Him.
I was just listening to my friend Earl preach recently and he's a pastor in Dallas and he talked about, you know, we're the Amazon bag, you know, we carry the good thing but, but
we’re a bag. Like we're not, we're not the main event. Like nobody is going for the Amazon bag and thinking to themselves: Oh my gosh, look at this bag that just arrived at my house. Like they're going for the contents and the contents of our lives should be the mind of Christ, which is someone willing to lay down their lives. Someone willing to be emptied out. Being humbled to the point of embarrassment, being humbled to the point of being misunderstood, being humbled to the point of, in Christ's case, death - that we are producing the fruit of Christ because we have the mind of Christ. That's what should be known of us.
And why? Why is that? What should be known of us? Why should we be motivated to live this way? This sounds like a miserable way to live. And one it's because it's the most free way to live. Honestly, like not caring if we're important is, is so helpful.
And I think that's the posture you get to enjoy with humility, which is, I'm not in this to impress. I'm not in this to perform. I'm in this for the glory of God. I'm in this to love and I can rest in that. There's a rest that comes over us with humility.
The other thing that comes with humility is what this verse says is so that, “At the name of Jesus, every knee would bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
The ultimate thing that comes over us with humility as people see God, they see God in us and they see God because of our obedience. And that's what motivates me is I don't want people to see me. I think that was part of the girl's heart. You know, that just was starting publishing back there. That little naive girl in her thirties I think she had that heart too, is: I just want people to see God. I think there was a naive sense that my face would distract from that and you're not going to steal an ounce of the glory of God. Like good luck. Like you can't really show off enough to steal the glory of God. And that's true. However, what can steal the glory of God in our lives and through our lives - it won't steal the glory of God in eternity and on this earth. It will not. But what can steal the glory of God being reflected in our lives is pride.
And that's a state of the heart. That's not a state of your actions. That's not a state of your words, that's not a state of people's opinions about you. That is a state of your heart and honestly only you and God can work that out together. You've got to decide like is, is this something where I care more about what people think about me than I care what they think about God? And that is the question. You've got to constantly ask yourself and you have to ask yourself regularly because on one day that might be true of me and two days later it no longer is because something has captured my mind and my affections more than God.
And so back to our weapon, number one, which was stillness with God and time with God's Word. That is why that matters every day because it sets priority in our life that God is first.
And I care more about Him and what is known of Him than what is known of me. Because here's the truth guys, we think it's going to come through being important and being known and being famous. I mean, this is something my son is obsessed with.
He's 11 and I mean, what does he do? He talks about famous people with his friends all day. They talk about football players, they talk about basketball players, they talk about musicians, they, you know, they all talk about famous people all day long together. And so there's this goal in his mind set before him of like that's arriving. That's when you're important. That's when you're going to matter. That's when you're going to be happy. And at the end of all of it, for us, y'all even, you know, I look at people driven by this on social media right now, like there's this idea, we don't ever consciously think it, but it's subconscious. But we're obviously thinking that the more we get known, noticed, loved, seen the more we're going to be happy - when that is not what is true. It's obviously not true.
And the deception that we buy into somehow is that joy will come if we get known, if we get power, if we become important. But what scripture says is that joy comes when we lay down our lives. It’s the opposite. It's when we lay everything down on earth that we think matters. When we lay down our name, when we lay down being understood, when we lay down even our own lives, that joy is in that, that there is a freedom that comes through that and that is a supernatural reality.
That is not something you can understand until you've tasted it, but when you tasted it, it's like this loss washes over you like a wave. Like, ugh, I just gave up something on earth and then it comes back out and there's this peace that follows it of: and I'm okay.
Yes, somebody misunderstands me. I'm not important to them. That's hurtful and then it washes back out and you go: and I'm okay, because I'm loved and I'm known by God. And my hope is secure and that is the joy of self-forgetfulness. That there is a freedom that comes when we are not the center of our own minds, of our own lives.
How do we change this? You guys ready? You go out and you serve people and you love other people. I look back at my life before I had four kids before, I mean even before I had Cooper because he is more consuming than my other three kids and I just had so much time to think about myself. I just did. I thought about myself all the time. But what four kids did to me in the thick years of every minute trying to take care of them is I didn't have time.
You know, I just, I was thinking about the next thing I had to do, the next person I had to take care of the next problem they had and it was helpful in the sense that I wasn't as consumed with myself. And I think mission can do that and it doesn't certainly didn't have to be motherhood. It can be anything that you set other people's needs before yourself.
And what happens when you do that? I remember at Kanakuk they used to have the saying: Put God first and others second and yourself third. And so, “I'm third” was like the award at camp and all this stuff. And I just remember being like trying to will that into being, Well let me tell you how it comes into being. It comes as you serve people, as you actually get up out of your chair and you clear the table, as you actually get up out of your chair and you love and invite your neighbors in, and get to know them.
It comes as we think about other people and all of a sudden we are more obsessed with what God's doing in other people's lives and what He could do in other people's lives than what He's not doing in ours. And it is a change and shift. And you realize that loving other people is so much better than loving ourselves so much. That there is a freedom and the joy that comes because of it.
And so today what I want you to do is I want you to do something crazy. I want you to love somebody that you would not normally love. I want you to go love your neighbors in any which way. Take them food. Go to coffee, have them over. Go, you know, mow their lawn. Like I don't care. Just go love people in a radical way.
Do something for someone today and watch your mind shift from caring so much about yourself to loving other people. And I'm telling you, that’s where the freedom is.