2003-11-30 - Philippians

Part 36 - Conclusion

  1. The Secure Mind - Cont'd.

    As we have gone through this study on joy, I hope that we have found that there isn’t any really unique secret to experiencing it. Instead the answer to experiencing God’s joy is obedience to Him.

    It is as we progress in our walk, as we press on towards the goal of becoming more Christlike, we find that we will become more aware of the joy God desires for us. We can only truly experience that joy, as we truly trust in the Lord. We have trusted the Lord for our salvation. But are we truly able to trust the Lord with our lives? This is what makes practical Christianity.

    Are we able to trust the Lord to meet our material needs — not wants, needs? As our financial situation is less than wonderful, are we able to trust Him? When our job looks shaky or not economically adequate, will we trust Him enough to stay, if that is what He wants? As we look at our families, can we trust the Lord with our spouse or our children, or do we have to straighten them out ourselves? Do our lives depend on our children being what we want them to be, or what God wants them to be? Are we able to trust God with our ministry? Do we want to be whatever He has called us to, or are we locked into a perspective that demands He use use in the way that we have defined as His, instead of what really is His?

    And in that same context, are we willing to trust Him to run His church, or do we believe that we know what is best? You can see that depending on how we answer these questions, we will experience or lose God’s joy. We need to be willing to give up all control of our lives over to Him. We need to let Him be in charge and trust Him for all things, circumstances, people, things and worry.

    And how are we to keep this perspective? Remember that Paul’s said don’t be anxious, but pray. We can only have a hope of seeing things from God’s perspective if we are in constant conversation with Him, allowing Him to bring us around to His perspective, and therefore receive His joy.

    Yes, we can walk on water. Yes, we can experience God’s joy. And yes, we can advance the kingdom, each one of us - no matter how complex our lives may be. Yes, we can do all things through Christ, but only if we are willing to say "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!" (Mark 9:24).

    As Jesus said: " Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it" (John 14:11-13).

    What then is the bottom line for experiencing the joy of the Lord? "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus …" As we depend on the Holy Spirit to make us over into His image, as we desire to have His mind - then we will live in the reality that "we can do everything through him who gives us strength." And as we live in this truth, we will find freedom from circumstances, people, things - and praise the Lord from worry. And then we will live in the joy of our relationship with the eternal God.

    I am weak but Thou art strong;
    Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
    I’ll be satisfied as long
    As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

    Thro’ this world of toil and snares,
    If I falter, Lord, who cares?
    Who with me my burden shares?
    None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

    When my feeble life is o’er,
    Time for me will; be no more;
    Guide me gently, safely o’er
    To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

    Just a closer walk with Thee,
    Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
    Daily, walking close to Thee,
    Let it be, dear Lord, let it be. 4

  1. Anonymous, Text, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" The Celebration Hymnal, Word Music, 1997, #564.

Personal Application: What resources do you have in your life for the service of the Lord? How have you used them?

Prayer for the Week: Lord, help to see the gifts you have given me. Let me use them for you, and in using them, experience the joy that comes from being focused on You and Your work. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Questions or Comments?

[email geoff] gkragen@aol.com