Summary: Joy is something to be lived out in the life of a Christian. This message challenges Christians to develop the character in their life that will produce the spiritual fruit of joy, using the very familiar, yet simple, recipe of Jesus, Others, Yourself.
My family was recently visiting Disney, a place where dreams come true and joy is found. It was interesting watching other families share our experience. It was hot, crowded, long lines, expensive food. I realized you can be in a place where everything is supposed to be magical and yet be miserable. What made it special for my family was being together and finding joy and spending time with each other.
For the Christian- joy comes from being in a right relationship with Jesus. True joy is not about how much we have, how well life is going. Joy is not the same as being "happy." Joy is a life of peace that comes from God.
Paul writes to the Christians in Philippians 2:
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
How does the Christian develop the trait of Joy in their life?
We all learned it in Sunday School, but it is just as relevant to us as adults.
Our focus in life should be on Christ. It's all about Jesus.
Bumper sticker: God is my co-pilot. If this is true we need to change seats.
Jesus deserves to be on the throne of our lives.
Much of the conflict in church comes when people put themselves ahead of others.
Worship music should be what I like.
Programs should benefit me.
"I am not being fed."
It is very tempting to make church all about me, me, me.
Our culture reinforces the idea that we deserve to have it "our way."
When Jesus called people to discipleship he made it clear.
"Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me."
We don't practice much self-denial
Jesus taught us the importance of humility and service all throughout his ministry.
His temptation in the desert- denying himself.
Performing miracles of healing and forgiveness.
Washing the disciple's feet at the last supper.
Spend time each day this week with Jesus. Time each day in worship, in the Word, in prayer.
Find at least one opportunity to put others ahead of yourself, serve them, love them.
Practice self-denial this week. Instead of doing something for yourself, sacrifice for God and others.