Do you ever wake up and wonder, “What do I have to be happy about today?” As Christians we should find joy in Jesus Christ. He died for our sins; we don’t have to live with guilt; we are forgiven! Christ defeated sin and death, and we have the assurance of eternity with him in heaven. In addition, the Bible commands us to be joyful. Joy is contagious and we have a responsibility to spread joy and hope so those around us will see what having Jesus means in a Christian’s life. So, we have salvation; we want to follow the Bible’s command, and we have a purpose…to influence others for Christ! Why then do we often struggle with finding joy?
Phil 3:1; Phil 2:1-11; Gal 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal 2:20)
The big hold-up in attaining true meaning and lasting joy can often be summed up in one word “SELF.” The teachings of Jesus run counter to everything our culture prizes. Society says, “Climb the ladder.” Jesus says, “Be a servant to others. Take up your cross and follow me.” This certainly falls short of having appeal for recruitment, and the reward can only be known through personal experience. It’s not in dollars or things or power or status, it is peace and it is joy that knows no bounds! Paul fully embraced his identity in Christ. He sold out to self and gained everything in Christ. He recognized that only a life truly surrendered to Jesus Christ would bring joy. Selling out is willing surrender. Christ will do the work, but not until you raise the white flag.
How do you define “selling out to Christ”? What has the greatest affect on your joy level? (money, relationships, worry, fear, image) If circumstances affect your joy, is it really joy? or just the fickle emotion of happiness? Have you sold out to Christ? Describe how. Are there areas where you have not sold out to Christ? Describe them.
Write down 3 things you will do this week to serve Christ and someone else. Tell a friend to hold you accountable. Keep a personal journal or log of these experiences…the sacrifice, the reward, the disappointments. Consider how God is working in your life with each act of servanthood.
Lord, bring me to the place where I lay it all down and surrender to you. I know that the prizes of this world pale in comparison to the value of a joy-filled life. Help me each day to move farther from my self-serving nature and to move closer to you and to being a servant to others. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.