The Big Idea
Followers of Jesus are not ruled by their circumstances because they see beyond themselves to live for Christ and his church.
In: Where can joy be found?
1. More than optimism
2. Paul’s priorities
3. Finding joy in a me-first world
Out: Everlasting joy
What a powerful example Paul is on keeping our focus on Jesus & the mission we have been sent to do . How easily we fall into self absorption taking our focus off the important mission we have been called to do .I was reminded on Sunday that if I keep my focus on Jesus & the joy & privilege it is to be part of his kingdom then everything else is unimportant & mundane .The Holy Spirit is there helping me & reminding me that all I have to do is focus on the things that are important .ie does this situation really matter in the great scheme of things . I’ve needed to think not how can I change this situation but rather how would Jesus want me to pray for this situation & then just let it go !!! Wow what an amazing relief that is ..
“Getting over yourself” as some have called it is challenging, but what is needed if we are to find lasting and sure joy by putting the gospel of Christ in the centre of our lives. The world and our sinful desires keep telling us to put ourselves at the centre of our lives. I’ve been reading “When people are big and God is small” lately, and found it quite helpful. In it the author, Edward Welch discusses how we can learn to fear God (having an awe and respect for God that worships him with our whole lives)and learn not to fear others. Many of us fear what others might think about us or do to us. Some of us learnt to fear others when we were emotionally for physically abused by them. Welch says that to help these people learn to fear God the following things can be helpful:
1. Understanding how God hates sin and how God’s justice demands all sin (including the sin of abusing others) be punished.
2. Understanding God’s compassion for the oppressed.
3. NOT seeing yourself as a psychologically needy person, like a cup that needs filling with love, acceptance etc by God or others. Instead, seeing yourself as a sinner who needed saving, and who God saved despite your unworthiness. In Christ we are now complete.
4. Understanding the implications of the gospel – Others AREN’T around us to fill us up with love, acceptance etc, but for US to love.
5. Learning that God’s sovereign plan is, was and will always be good – his plan isn’t to make our lives comfortable, but the better goal of redeeming us and shaping us through the gospel, the only thing that can provide lasting joy!
I can highly recommend this book!
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