The Submissive Mind - Cont'd.
I used to listen to Bob Larson some. He had very interesting individuals
on his show, and certainly as I heard Satanists, witches, sexual degenerates,
etc., it was easy to see that these people are depraved. Most of the world
would have agreed with this assessment, though Im not so sure today.
Getting back to the show, there was one "New Ager" who believed Hitler, Manson,
and others werent evil, simply socially dysfunctional. After all, there
is no sin, no evil, no devil. And once, not too many people would have agreed
with this view. "Hey! Its Depraved Out There!"
But Scripture teaches mankind in general is depraved. Realize that humanity
as a whole is in rebellion against God. This is true depravity. People live
for themselves. They have accepted the first lie. They want to be their own
gods, as Satan stressed to Eve. This is depravity.
Mankind was created in the image of God. But due to the fall, we are no longer
in that perfect image. Instead something has been totally corrupted, not
corrupt, but a corruption of that image in which we were formed. In that
sense, all are totally depraved, that is fallen in all aspects of human nature.
We are all created in Gods image, but that image is fallen. Our problem
is: How can we have joy in such a world? Sometimes, as I deal with the pain
of people caused by the acts of others, I wonder. Well it isnt easy,
but it is simple. Our joy cant depend on how people treat us or how
people function in such a depraved world. Our joy comes from being loved
and redeemed by the Eternal God. Our joy comes from having the opportunity
to present Him to others, giving them a chance for this same relationship.
What greater joy than to bring light into the darkness, purity into the midst
Now as weve been examining Philippians, we have been learning that
there are at least four things that can steal our joy. The first joy stealer
is circumstances. Paul has shown, thorough his handling of his imprisonment,
that the way we deal with painful circumstances is to stay focused on the
Lord and the giving out of His word, the disseminating of the gospel. As
we see all our circumstances as being under the Lords control:
"And we know that in all things, God works for the good
of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans
8:28). For with the maturing of our character and the advancing of
the gospel, then circumstances will loose their control over our lives. Then
we can be joyful in spite of them. What joy comes from freedom from
The second joy stealer, the one we are currently looking at, is people. As
we respond to the way others treat us, we find it very easy to lose our joy.
As our friends, spouse, children, other members of our family, bosses and
colleagues treat us with less than the respect we want, it is easy to become
unhappy and upset. "How dare they treat me this way?" But as weve seen,
the reason people are able to steal our joy is often due to selfishness on
We are focusing on ourselves and our "needs" instead of following the example
provided by the Lord, focusing on the needs of others. The way we can prevent
others from stealing our joy is to put their needs ahead of our own. We spend
a lot of energy being concerned with making sure that we dont go beyond
appropriate bounds in doing this, but let us again look at the example of
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something
to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he
humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!"
Jesus wasnt worried about protecting His own rights. He gave them up.
His only concern was carrying out the will of the Father, even unto His own
death for our sins. If we sincerely desire the will of the Father, then we
will allow Him to care for our needs, and our concern will be for the needs
of others. It isnt our responsibility to worry about ourselves, but
to trust our situation to the Lord.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your
hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
Our joy then comes from our relationship to the Lord, commitment to obedience
to His will, and dependency on His working in our lives. All of this is in
total contrast to what the world believes to be the source of joy, actually
happiness. And it is these issues which we will look at as we finish up the
last part of this chapter. After this, we will move on to the last two factors
that steal our joy, things and worry.