Focal passage: Philippians 2:1-11
Paul challenges us to consider that the path to living in real joy is by following Christ. To follow Christ means to demonstrate humility, then we find joy.
This approach to finding joy is of course countercultural. Our culture proclaims that temporary measures, such as a purchase of a new car or taking a certain vacation will bring joy. These momentary fixes are all about supposedly meeting our needs and giving us what we deserve. After all, we have worked hard or proven ourselves worthy of such things.
However, as Christians, we understand that we only actually deserve an eternity apart from God due to our sin.
True joy comes from the amazing gift of eternal life that we receive through the grace extended to us in the saving relationship with Jesus Christ. Out of that realization, we want to obey Christ and experience true joy.
I AM SECOND, is a movement that has helped many individuals consider who or what was being placed first in their lives. The iamsecond.com site states they “inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others.” Each person who shares on their site has come to the realization that instead of placing Jesus first in their lives, they had sought to meet their needs through allowing other things to take precedence. The list of celebrities, sports icons and television faces includes Chip and Joanna Gaines, Darrell Waltrip and Josh Turner. Each testimony concludes with the celebrity stating their name followed by “I am second.”
Perhaps we could reflect on what we might share in a similar testimony. After all, following Jesus is a 100 percent commitment. As the familiar hymn reminds us, “… the world behind me, the cross before me, no turning back, no turning back.”
Following Jesus gives each believer love for others and purpose in each day. As we love others, we find many opportunities to practice humility as we strive to follow the example of Jesus. This leads to true joy.