Advertisements are designed to make us want. They appeal to our desire for self-gratification, pleasure, power, fulfillment and happiness. They leave us feeling a little less content with what we have and little more convinced that there is something more out there that would make us happier! They are designed to seduce us with the illusion that we are just one more attainment away from true joy! But joy can’t be purchased, manufactured or achieved by chasing happiness down a path. That chase leads to nowhere! In Psalm 43:4 it says I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of my joy. Only through the salvation God offers through his son Jesus Christ can joy become a reality.

Scriptures
Phil 1:12; Phil 2:12-13; Phil 3:1; Rom 8:28; Phil 3:13-14; Phil 4:4-8; Phil 4:11-12

Verse
My dear friends, you have always obeyed God when I was with you. It is even more important that you obey now while I am away from you. Keep on working to complete your salvation with fear and trembling, because God is working in you to help you want to do and be able to do what pleases him. (Phil 2:12-13)

Thought
Paul encourages the Christians to keep on working out their salvation. But I thought we receive salvation when we accept Jesus? Yes, that’s the starting point; however, it is a process of growth and maturity in the faith. Paul says God is working in you to help you WANT to do what pleases him…To help you WANT to do it. This is awesome news! This means that sometimes we don’t want to do what pleases God. We want to please ourselves. It is part of the human condition. But, by seeking God and developing our relationship with him, he will help us want to do and be able to do what pleases him. What a relief! We didn’t arrive when we received Jesus as Savior. But we have started the journey toward surrender, one step at a time. This is the path to joy/happiness that is more powerful than any circumstance. Happiness seekers will always end up seeking. Those who seek God’s kingdom will find meaning and purpose, which lead to inner joy and many blessings!

Questions
What is something you didn’t want to do but did it anyway and it turned out to be a big blessing? Why do you think it was a blessing? What is something you wanted and finally got thinking it would make you happy but it turned out to be just one more thing that fell short of the mark?

Response
Do two things for others this week that you don’t HAVE to do and maybe don’t WANT to do, but it’s a good thing, so do it. Designate at least 10 minutes each day this week to read your Bible, pray and listen to God. At the end of the week assess how that time with God affected your joy through the week.

Prayer
Dear Father, help me want to do what pleases you. Help me be able to do what pleases you. Your word says that you will help me, and I lean on you as my strength and as the source of my joy! May I be thankful and content whatever my circumstance because of my relationship with you. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.