daily Broadcast

Why We Fight with Those We Love, Part 2

From the series Five Lies that Ruin Relationships

Ever wondered why you fight with those you love? What causes the heated arguments and painful words? Chances are, the reasons for our disputes are different than you might think. Join Chip as he reveals the reasons we have conflict in our most important relationships.

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Message Transcript

Let’s go back and play out what the lie is, then. He says, “We believed a lie.” The lie, basically, is hedonism. And hedonism is a worldview that promises that I will be fulfilled by pleasure. We buy the lie that, “Sensual pleasure will meet my inner-longings for fulfillment.” And that lie leads us to betray a trust. And we become spiritual adulteresses.

I came across an interesting article by a scholar who does most of his research in the backgrounds of books of the New Testament. I’m in Jeremiah, and just finished Isaiah. And God, over and over and over, as His people go and worship idols, He calls them – what? “Adulterers.”

He says He is to be their true love, and they’re going out under trees and worshipping Baal, or, in some instances, there was a big fire, and a god, with his arms out, and they would build a huge fire, and they would literally take their children and toss them up into the fire to appease the god of Baal. And He talks about, “Under every tree, My people are worshipping idols that they have made with their own hands.”

And it’s not doom and gloom, but I would suggest that maybe some of our most difficult problems that we’re facing, individually, and in the Church today, is that we have believed a lie, we’ve betrayed a trust, and that we are like a wayward wife to our husband, who is the Bridegroom, Jesus. And so, we have become an enemy when we buy that lie.

And notice what it says: “He yearns jealously for the Spirit He made, but He gives more grace.” Well, how does He give more grace? It says here we make ourselves an enemy, so He gives more grace. How does He give more grace? He’s opposed to the proud. What did He say in the beginning was the core of interpersonal problems? Pride; selfishness. What is God opposed to? It means He is against. It doesn’t mean He tolerates it, it doesn’t mean that He winks at it, it doesn’t mean that, Well, you know, I’m not really happy with this, and I wish you could clean it up.

It means He’s against it. When He’s against it, that means He brings consequences, not because He’s down on you; because He loves you.

When you mismanage your money, you mismanage your time, you mismanage your priorities, when you put stuff in your mind that will pollute your mind, when you think that vicarious gratification, by reading romance novels, or checking onto pornography is going to meet the deepest needs, God, out of His great love, is going to go, Okay, let’s see, let’s see, we’ll work on their health. See if – no, that didn’t – okay, we can shut down that business. We’ll have one of their kids go through a difficult…cancer? Maybe…

He will do whatever it takes, people, because He loves you. And we’re going to be a pure bride. We’re going to be a pure bride, one way or another, because His reputation is at stake, His reputation. This is not about you, and your life, and what people...it is about His reputation.

Jesus said, “They will know that the Father sent Me because” – what? – “how you love one another. This is how My Father is exclaimed” – or “exalted” – the word is glorified, “when you bear much fruit.” What’s fruit? What’s fruit? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. It’s being like Christ. Bear much fruit.

It’s not only exhibiting from the inside out the very character and the nature of Christ, but it’s also bearing much fruit in terms of fulfilling God’s agenda, reaching out to others: Lost people come to Christ through your life, found people growing to maturity through your life, mature people reproducing their lives, developing leaders – your life. That’s the agenda.
The agenda is not, How can I be happy? How can I be fulfilled? I don’t care what Maslow says. It’s not about self-actualization. It’s about Christ-actualization.

So, what is the solution? He gives us the solution where He gives us a prescription. And we’re going to get the prescription in verses 7 through 10. It is very direct.

God’s prescription is: Humble yourself, and God will heal your relationships. Humble yourself, and God will heal your relationships. Write those two words: humble yourself, and God will. He’ll restore.

I’m going to read this passage and there are seven – actually, ten staccato verbs that are commands. And by staccato, I mean it’s, Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! He’s going to give us seven to ten specific things that we need to do, that will be a picture of how to humble yourself.

You can circle the words, but, number one, “Submit” – circle – “yourselves therefore to God.” Two: “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Three: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Four: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners.” And five: “Purify your hearts, you men of double mind.” Six: “Be wretched and mourn.” Seven: “Weep.” Eight: “Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection.” Circle laughter. Ten: “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

“Submit,” “resist,” “draw near,” “cleanse,” “purify,” “be miserable,” “mourn,” “weep,” “let your laughter be turned” – or, literally, “have your laughter turned around.” This isn’t just, “Don’t laugh.” This is the haughty kind of laughter where people are rejoicing and reveling in sin. That’s the picture of this word. And as you study those things, what you see is it is developed in four clear steps toward humility, or to diffuse conflict.

Number one: Give in to God. Write that in the line above there. “Submit yourselves therefore to God.” The word submit, here, is in a tense of the verb that has a sense of urgency. It’s a compound word: hupo – “to be under” – and tasso – “to be under the rank.” It’s like falling into line, or rank, in the military. It’s to take God as your Commander, as your Captain. It’s a picture of a group of military people all walking like this, and you are out of step. What he is saying is, “You’re out of step with the Spirit.”

Well, how do you get in step with the Spirit? Very, very clearly, it is: obey the known will of God revealed in Scripture. Give in to God. Voluntarily, from the heart – that’s the idea. You might write just one word after that. Give in to God – put an arrow, and write the word surrender, and put a box around it. That’s really what it is: surrender. Submit your will. Submit your future. Submit your relationships. Submit your agenda. Submit your desires.

And you say, God, here is what I’m going to do. I have unconsciously – I didn’t mean to; I didn’t realize it. You’ve brought me to this place, at this time, to help reveal it. The light bulbs are going off in my mind. My spirit is so convicted. I want You to know, right now, I surrender. I submit to You. I want You to know that as I begin to think about Your Word – and I know it’s going to be a journey – but I’m going to submit my finances to You. I’m going to submit my schedule to You. I’m going to submit my relationships, my job, my ministry – I submit to You. You are the General; You’re the Commanding Officer. You’re the King. You’re the CEO, and I’m coming for orders. You tell me what to do. That’s what I want to do. That’s the first step in humbling yourself. It’s obeying what you know.

The second step is: Get tough with Satan. Notice the words, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Resist has the prefix anti-. It means to be against him, and to take a stand. It’s to take a stand against the enemy. There is no middle ground. You can’t play with him. And the word devil – who is this? He’s the slanderer, the liar, the deceiver. He’s the seducer.

Has anyone seen a Forbes where you can go through a Forbes magazine and not somehow feel like, Man, if I was really, really rich, then I would be really, really powerful, and then I’d be really, really important?

It’s different strokes for different folks. It’s the lust of the flesh, for some. For others, it’s that magazine you look at, and you see all those beautiful houses, and all that beautiful furniture, and all this – or that dream vacation. You could go to Scotland, do this, and you go to this, go to this, go to this. And it always goes from one thing to another.

Who is behind that? Who’s selling you the bill of goods? If you had, if you could, if you possessed, if you looked like that, if you just had enough money to have some of those surgeries like they have on TV, then you could walk down the staircase, and all your friends would go, “Ahhhh! Who is that!?”

That’s a woman, or a man, who they’ve shaved off thirty-five pounds with surgery, another twenty pounds with exercise, and they have poked, jabbed, pushed. I won’t go any further than that. Made-up, dyed, broken jaws, put in new teeth, rearranged noses. And under special lighting, for one moment, “Ooooh!” And here’s my theory: Visit that woman, or that man, in three years, and they’ll look exactly like they did three years before.

“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Get tough with Satan – put an arrow – and write the word fight, and put a box around it. You have to fight. You have to fight. Ephesians 6 tells us how to put on the full armor of God. This is a promise. If you resist, he will flee! But you have to get angry with it!

You have to say, “I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to think of that.” You have to say, “No more Internet for me. I’m not going to watch that stuff.” You have to cut off the supply lines. You have to fight. You have to say, “There’s a world system – it is purposely seeking to seduce me.” And you have got to put up the guard, and the armor. And you’ve got to say to yourself, You know what? I can’t let that in our home.

I have a good friend that had a pornography problem. He just doesn’t have the Internet. He just doesn’t have it. You say, “Well, that’s drastic.” Yeah, that’s drastic. He’s just saving his marriage, saving his life, walking with God, changing his life. He just happens to know he’s weak. Where are you weak? Where are you weak? In the area of media – I would dare you to do something. You probably won’t do this, but I’ll dare you anyway – double, double dare. I dare you to go on a media fast for ten days – no TV, not even the news. Ten days.

The first two days you’ll want to kill each other, because you will be so irritable. And then, you’ll recognize, We actually spend hours that we didn’t know in front of this thing. Then, pretty soon, you’ll start getting creative, and you’ll have all kinds of time to start doing some things you always wanted to do. About days number six through eight, you’ll start actually having some fun. Day number nine, you won’t miss it very much. Day number ten or eleven, you’ll realize, Oh, hey! And you’ll start watching something, and you’ll watch a commercial, and you’ll go, Oh, man, that is gross.

Because what will happen is, you won’t be dumbed down. Your spiritual sensitivities will come back alive. And you’ll realize, Man, there is a hook in that commercial. And did you notice how the camera panned and went to that guy’s body part, or that woman’s body part? Did you see? And all of a sudden, all of those subliminal messages, your spirit will pick them up, and you’ll fight, and you’ll say, “Man, I’m not buying that stuff.” But I’ll tell you what, the passive, I want to try harder, be a better person someday, someway, will not make it.

Third, he says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” Write in there, “Get close to God.” “Get close to God” – and then draw an arrow, and in the box, write return. Return to God.

What He wants you to know: He loves you. He’s for you. He cares about you.

Anything you think the world, and power, or sex, or pleasure, or a boat, or a better golf score, or what plastic surgery could ever provide, Jesus says, “It’s all a lie! It’s all temporary. I love you just for you. I have joy that circumstances can’t change. I want to give you something in your heart that’s called “peace,” not pseudo-peace. I want you to be able to sit in a room where you don’t have to turn on the TV, or the stereo, or run over to the refrigerator every time you have a little bit of unrest in your soul. I want to give you joy that even when bad news happens, it wells up in you. I want to love you. I want to care for you. I want to tie you into Me, and let you understand where real life comes, abundant life, to the full.

Isn’t that what He promised? “I came that you might have life, and you could have it to the max!”

This isn’t like getting second-rate stuff. This is like seeing the junk for what it is, and then, negatively, you have to fight, but then you draw near to God. You return. And what does the promise say? He will draw near to you. Isn’t that awesome?

This is the picture of the prodigal and the father. He didn’t run after the prodigal, did he? He allowed the consequences to get in the prodigal’s life. By the time the kid is eating the pig slop, he finally has an “ah-ha” moment. This ain’t good! The slaves have it better.

But the moment he returned, the word – right? – and began to come back to the father, what did the father do? Study that passage carefully. He does a number of things that break culture. He runs to meet – that means he had to pick up his robe. That means he embarrassed himself in the city. He ran to meet his son.

God wants to run to meet some of you. And some of you are so overwhelmed with guilt, and have so much baggage, and so much junk, and feel like you’re so unworthy, and you’ve been through so much. He is a God of grace.

If you’ve fallen into a fifteen-foot hole, He will lower a sixteen-foot rope. And if you’ve fallen into a three-hundred-foot hole, and you can say, “I had two abortions. I’ve had four marriages. I’m a perpetual liar. I’m stealing from the company right now.

My whole life is a mess. I am in three hundred feet of just dirt, and I feel like a terrible person.” God said, I brought you here because I have a three-hundred-and-one-foot rope. Just grab it, babe. I love you. I love you. I died for you. I have a plan for you. I want to restore you.

Well, how do you draw near to God? It’s not just an emotional experience. How do you draw near to God? Well, since many of you are on that media fast because I double, double dared you, and some of you can’t resist that, with all this time you know what you will find? Just start reading through the New Testament. Just start taking walks, instead of watching TV, and talk to God.

And when you’re hurt, tell Him you’re hurt. When you’re angry, just express it, and tell Him you’re angry. And the things and the needs that you don’t have, ask Him for.

Get in the Scriptures, begin to pray, and then, you know what? Every New Testament command I can find is in the second person plural. There might be an exception or two. That means I am never expected to live this radical, New Testament, revolutionary life alone. I’ve got to do it with people.

And you get in the Scriptures, and you begin to pray, and you get with some people who are making progress with the Lord, and you find some music, and a Bible-teaching church that teaches the Word, and lives authentic lives. And you know what? You’re drawing near to God. He’s going to draw near to you.

And all the things you thought that were going to deliver through your hedonism, that you’re being brainwashed, like I’m being brainwashed, day after day after day, God says, I’m going to give you better, and lasting, both now and forever.

The final thing he says is: Get right with others. Notice the phrase here: “Cleanse your hands; purify your hearts.” You know what? That’s the outward. What are you doing with your hands that is wrong? Cleanse them. Then, not just externally, but internally: “Purify your hearts.” Where are your motives? “Let there be tears for the wrong that you’ve done.”

And so, there’s a private purification where you cleanse your hands. And you know what it is? You don’t hear this much anymore. Are you ready for this? Some of you, a number of things have come up in your mind. I’ve thrown a few little bombs out, have you noticed? The soaps over here, romance novels over here, pornography over here, materialism…

Just in case you missed the bombs, this is a review, all right? A little bitterness in your heart; unforgiveness toward an ex, toward a mom, a dad, one of your kids, right?

You know what “cleanse your hands; purify your hearts” is? Stop sinning. Stop it. Are you ready? I’m going to do this again. It’s very complicated. Stop sinning. We get this, Yeah, I will. I’m going to have to process this, maybe see my counselor. You know what? Is it wrong? Stop it. Repent! That’s the word: right. “Get right with others.” Arrow, in a box, then write repent.

Now, do you need help? Yeah. Do you need to see a pastor or a friend? But if you have wronged someone, make it right. Cleanse your hands. If you have bitterness in your heart, if you have resentment, if you have anger fantasies, purify your heart. Purge it. Tell God you’re sorry. If you need to apologize to someone, go apologize to them! But just say, “I’m going to get right with God. I’m going to get right with others.”

Then, notice the final thing he says, in verse 10. He says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, unto the mighty hand of God” – why? – “that He may exalt you.”

He’s told us that the problem is interpersonal relationships, that it’s really selfishness. He said the lie that we’ve believed is hedonism. The whole “pleasure” mentality, the Playboy mentality of our day.

But he says, “You know something? Submit to God. Resist the devil. Draw near to God. And then, get right with others.” And then, he says, “That is the actions of humbling yourself before God.”

And here’s what He will do. He wants to – literally, here’s the word – He wants to lift you up. He wants to restore you.

I wish I had time to go over couple after couple after couple, and men who have had twenty years of pornography, Internet addiction, and people who have been on drugs, in the places I have had the privilege of pastoring, where I have watched them humble themselves, come and say, “God, I’m bankrupt,” and do exactly what we’ve talked about here. And the Lord has weaned them from the world, and they’ve been returned to their first love: The Lord Jesus.

And is it easy? No. Is it humbling? Some of you are thinking, Well, if I made it right, I might have to actually go apologize to someone, like an ex-mate, or an ex-boss. This could go public. This would be humiliating.

Humiliation comes from the same root word as humble. You see, when we finally get to where it isn’t about me, and this isn’t about you. It’s, let’s just be right. People don’t think any of us are near as good as we think they think they are anyway. Right?

We are all projecting a little bit better, and most of us see through what we’re projecting. It takes more energy to hide and cover and project that we’re better than it does to come absolutely clean and say, “I blew it. I was wrong. I’m sorry. God has forgiven me. And I’d like – would you?” And you know what I find? People are pretty merciful with people who are humble.