walk in the word
12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained. – Philippians 3:12-16
Joy is a choice. Honestly, as hard as it is to accept, I much prefer the opposite. I like the idea that people and circumstances steal my joy. I hate the idea that on one level, it’s all me. I’m the reason that I don’t have joy.
That’s the truth.
I don’t know how your joy thing’s going, but I can tell you on the authority of God’s Word that if you’ve lost it, if you’ve needlessly given it away, you can find it again in the person of Jesus Christ Himself. You can choose the joy of Jesus Christ.
What’s one way to get the joy back? You’ve got to be hungry. The followers of Jesus Christ never “arrive” in this life. None of us will. When Paul wrote Philippians, he had been doing the Christian walk for decades, and he knew some things. Listen up to Philippians 3:15, “Let those of us who are mature think this way . . .” to which we should reply, “What way?” Well, the way that he was just talking about (read Philippians 3), the way of pressing on, and straining forward, that aggressive I-haven’t-arrived-yet mentality. Paul urges us to keep that mindset.
If you’ve known the Lord for a while, continue to think aggressively about all the growth ahead of you and all that is yet to be done for Christ. Are you doing that? The typical Christian has set the cruise control. They think, “the big changes are behind me. Oh, there might be a little tweeking to do over the next few years, but for the most part I’ve got the major stuff in place.” How tragic! We have not yet begun to plumb the depths of all that is ours in Christ. We must maintain the same hungry mentality we had when we first came to Christ.
Hungry followers never arrive. I wonder if Christ would say about any of us, “Man, those first days were so great. You loved Me and you loved My Word and you were so fervent; you wanted to grow. You had such joy. So what happened? Where did that person go?”
So what do you need to do today to regain lost joy? Do you need the Lord to re-ignite your hunger for Him? Do you need the reminder that you’ve not arrived spiritually? Get back on the track of abiding faith and deeper joy. Hunger. Hunger after God.
Prayer – Almighty Father, the circumstances of this world tell me that this is not my home. That would be with You in heaven. Help me to hunger and thirst after You. Forgive me for thinking that after my salvation somehow I have “arrived.” I have not. Please re-ignite my hunger for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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