[CF Devotionals] 2003-10-05 - The One Who Dies with the Most Toys Loses

Philippians, Part 23

Chapter 3:1-11

  1. The Spiritual Mind

    We are into the Fall, that time of year when the new cars are pushed. And have I seen some beautiful ones. I always have wanted a Mazda RX-7. I guess I'm of the age when I'd like a little red two-seater sports car. As they always say the only difference between a man and a boy is the price of the toys.

    You notice as you read the ads for cars, or see them on TV, that they way they are sold is by sex, and convincing us the car says something important about who we are, and the kind of car we drive tells others about us.

    It is this same rationale that has led to the production of fake car phone antennas, prior to cell phones, so you could look important. It is this same marketing approach that not only came up with car phones, but also answering machines and even fax machines for the car.

    Yes, there are some wonderful things out there, some really great toys. And there isn't any-thing wrong with having toys. The problem is when things take over, when the message of your life is the message of the bumper strip that says, "The one who dies with the most toys wins." The real truth is much more often, "The one who dies with the most toys loses!"

    How do we find joy? We have seen the basics are simple in theory, though they can be difficult to apply. Therefore it seems appropriate to review what we've learned so far. We have seen there are at least four factors that become joy stealers, if we choose to allow it. The first is circumstances. And the way we overcome them is by a focus on the Lord and a commitment of obedience to Him, in the giving out of the Word.

    The second joy stealer is people. The way to chose to respond to the actions of others, and therefore to chose not to allow our joy to be stolen, is to practice agape'. As we put the needs of others ahead of our own, then we will no longer be controlled by them but care for them. It is clear God's desire is we experience joy in Him. It is also clear how we choose to respond to circumstances and people is the factor in whether or not we experience that joy. We don't need to strive for joy. Instead we need to practice, empowered by the Holy Spirit, the two great commands:

    " ...`Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40).

    And to carry out the work of the church:

    " ... Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).

    As we are obedient to the will of the Father, we will find we experience joy. Just as being rewarded for humility takes it away, working for joy moves the focus from others to ourselves, and so we can't experience it.- Yes, we should desire it, but we can't work for it. So with obedience to God comes the true experience of His joy. And we can experience this joy because we have true freedom, the freedom from the control of circumstances, the freedom from the control of people - and as we will see, freedom from the control of things.

    "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" (John 8:36).

Questions or Comments?

[email geoff] gkragen@aol.com