[CF Devotionals] 2003-08-27 - Philippians

Part 13

  1. The Submissive Mind - Cont'd.

    We have been looking at these verses in light of how we can experience joy in our life. But in this section, we have seen verses that are some of the most important found in the New Testament, when it comes to understanding just who Christ is.

    People can steal our joy, but it is only because we allow them to. And really, people can only steal our joy if we are living for our own happiness and comfort. If we are living for self, then certainly the behavior of others will interfere with our desires for ourselves.

    If Paul had been not only concerned with the giving out of the gospel, but with his own reputation and glory in that work, then it would be understandable why those who were preaching with the intent of making him look bad, would get to him. But clearly his concern was only with the giving of the word. His emotional well-being wasn’t based on the motives or actions of others. Their behavior couldn’t steal his joy. On the contrary, their efforts at disseminating the word were one of the sources of his joy.

    With circumstances, the key to maintaining joy is a singularity of focus on Christ and his call to action. With people, the key to maintaining joy is humility as modeled by Christ. As we put Him first, and then the needs of others ahead of our own, then the acts of others will not be as likely to affect us. It is our own selfishness that is the basis for our loss of joy as a result of the acts of others. As Andrew Murray put it,

    "The humble person is not one who thinks meanly of himself; he simply does not think of himself at all!" 4

    Christ’s call is a call to service. It is a call to serve others even, if God requires to it to our own detriment. How can this be? We’ll again look at our example. Jesus was willing to serve us, even at the cost of His own life. How can we do any less? Now notice I’m not talking of self-destructive, self-motivated suffering. I’m speaking of living for others as the Lord leads.

    One of the reasons we have such a difficulty experiencing joy, then, is because we have never really learned to maintain a consistent focus on the Lord and to really have an accurate self-image. I constantly fall into the trap of believing I really have it together, and try to live out of my own strength.

    But praise the Lord, He loves us and gives us the opportunity to continue to grow in our relationship, and therefore grow in our dependency on Him. And He doesn’t leave us out here helpless to conform to His will, but provides His Spirit to guide and empower us.

    And so we will experience true joy as we become more Christ like. Let us then pray that the Lord will show us how we have fallen into the trap of putting ourselves first, so that we can truly put Number One first, the Lord, and then we will rise above circumstances and people.

  1. Wiersbe, p. 58.

Questions or Comments?

[email geoff] gkragen@aol.com