Necessary Progress & Joy

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Philippians 1:22-26, Hebrews 5:11-6:1, & I Tim 4:12-15

Pastor Steve reviewed Philippians 1:22-26 today, starting with the observation that living on this earth means fruitful labor. God has a purpose for our lives. Although Paul said he would prefer to go to heaven he would rather stay on earth to be with other believers. This means that other people are more important than us—something that none of us likes to think about.

“Nothing in me says Logan is more important than me,” Steve said. “I’m in love with me. I spend a lot of time worrying about me, my career and how I look. But God made us to be servants. Peter got offended when Jesus came in and washed (the disciples’) feet. Jesus said if you don’t let me wash your feet, you have no place in the kingdom of heaven. You and I have been created to be servants in the body of Christ.”

Indeed, our hearts won’t be settled in Christ unless we are servants, he said. Paul demonstrates that kind of attitude through his desire for the church at Philippi to know the benefits of prayer and joy in the Lord. From the moment we are born until the moment we die we are on a journey with God. Hopefully as we move toward death that relationship will be moving upward.

The idea of Christian living is Jesus has changed you. Steve turned to Hebrews 5:11-14 and 6:1, commenting on the parental tone the author takes: “You need someone to teach you again.” Steve said the warning is not to stay where you are; you need to grow. He cited 1 Timothy 4:12-16 in mentioning that we are all called to some kind of spiritual maturity. If we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, His character will become evident in our life.

So will spiritual gifts. Since every person some a gift, we should be exercising it. Steve said waiting to see what that gift is is the wrong thing to do. The right thing: start serving others and God will reveal it. As he put it, “Do something until you figure it out.” It’s not the big giant things that will make a difference in our lives, it’s repeating the small, consistent things.

Nor will watching what God is doing with other people help us grow. If our view of life is comparing how God answers prayers as opposed to ours, we will get upset and disillusioned. The proper program of life is centered on Jesus and not comparing ourselves with everyone else.

“The joy in our faith and prayers with God is not based on our ability to analyze where we are,” Steve said. “It’s based on Jesus. It’s stunningly simple. Focus on Jesus. You can’t stay focused without Him. Part of my focus in following Jesus is the prayer, ‘Give me this day my daily bread. I’m not going to be able to be bold with this guy at work unless You help me.’”

He ended with the observation that joy is not an emotion like happiness, because the latter is based on circumstances or moods. Our connection to faith is trusting in Jesus and knowing He is God. The joy of the Christian life is not based on what we can see right now, but the great things ahead—especially heaven.