True joy is found in a new identity.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if we are in Christ we are a new creation. He says that the old has passed away and the new has come. This is great news for us! In Jesus we have been given a new identity. We have passed from the old man of sin to the new man of righteousness. With this new identity we have been given a new name. We were once called an enemy of God. We have a new purpose because of Jesus We have become disciples. What does being a disciple look like?
Being a disciple means you must deny yourself. Possibly one of the hardest things to do in the culture we live in is to realize that we are not the center of the universe and life is not primarily about us. To deny ourselves is to redirect glory from ourselves to God. Denying ourselves means that we no longer look out for our own self interests first. Pastor Steven said Sunday that, “if we are going to follow Jesus, then our own agendas have to be pressed to the wayside in favor of God’s will.” Do you find it hard to put your self interests aside in order to look more like Jesus? Is God’s will desirable for you even when it conflicts with your own agenda?
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die” - Bonhoeffer
Our new identity in Christ means we become a part of his work. To take up our cross means that we are applying the work of Christ on the cross in our lives. However, with the cross comes suffering. The disciples died for their faith in Jesus. We are compelled to ask, “What about applying the work of the cross daily made them do that?” It was because nothing brought them more joy than following Jesus. In the midst of suffering and uncertainty where do you find your joy? Is it in your identity as a follower of Christ? Do you take the easy path even if it means compromising who you are in Christ?
God we praise you for your goodness; for your kindness and mercy to us in Jesus. We thank you that in Jesus, we find not only the removal of our guilt but a completely new identity. We ask that you would give us the strength to live out of this new identity even when we find it difficult. We ask for a love for your will; that we would be able to lay aside our agenda in order that you may receive glory.
"Jesus We Love You"
True joy is a choice.
Jesus challenges us to decide who we will live for. Who we pursue, with our lives, what we believe will provide us the greatest joy. Jesus calls us to choose who the Lord of our lives and our joy. If we think about it long enough we will realize that the things in our lives that bring us the most happiness are often the things that have the most control over us. For some of us it may be our job, money, material possessions, social status, even our children. While some of these things are good things and gifts from God they certainly pale in comparison to the Lordship and joy found in Jesus. What do you value most in your life and have you let good gifts from God become Lord of your life?
We often believe that we can do a better job of satisfying ourselves than Jesus can. Jesus describes a disciple as one who loses his life. A disciples says, “Whatever I thought brought me joy, I am willing to lose it for the glory of God.” We often try to save the life we have built for ourselves. In doing so we say, “I deserve the glory.” Jesus tells us if you try to save your life, your self made joy and your own glory, you will lose it. Do you find yourself needing to be in control of your own happiness or are you trusting in Christ to be Lord of your joy regardless of the circumstance? Pastor Steven said Sunday that, ”the danger lurking around the corner for most of us is not overt, wild, obvious sins. Its that allure of an easy life and the lie that you are in control of it."
The choice we must make is not whether or not we get joy now or later but it is a choice as to who is the Lord of our joy. Will you trust God to give you eternal joy?
Father we pause to give you the glory that you deserve. We recognize and confess your worth. In light of this, we repent for believing that we ought to be glorified. We repent for believing that we can find joy that way. We thank you that in the gospel, we get you. We ask that the Holy Spirit would daily train our eyes to look to Jesus to find true and lasting joy.
"Everything And Nothing Less"
Austin Stone Worship
True joy magnifies God’s glory.
1 Peter 1
Godly, life-giving joy is linked to God’s glory. As we see God’s glory we enjoy him more. The Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “man’s chief end is to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.” John Piper put is another way in saying, “man’s chief end is to glorify God BY enjoying him for ever.” We were made to magnify God’s glory and we do this by finding our joy in him. Are you enjoying God? Does it satisfy your soul to think of an eternity of enjoying God?
Our new identity as disciples means that we are continuously drawing closer and closer to Jesus. In this pursuit we can feel burned out at times. Some of us we aren’t as close to Jesus as we ounce were. Many of us are probably not as close as we want to be. However, the more we continue to move towards Jesus the more we enjoy him and reflect his glory. One day we will behold Jesus and enjoy his glory forever. Are you living your life to maximize God’s glory by enjoying him?
Lastly, we magnify God’s glory by longing to see others enjoy God like we do. John Piper said, “missions exists because worship doesn’t” In other words, we are on mission to make disciples because there are still people that are not enjoying God like we do. Nothing brings God more glory than his people enjoying him. As disciples of Jesus, we should want to help each other truly enjoy God and glorify him as we were created to do. Are you living for the purpose God created you for? Or are you living for your own glory?
God we thank you for calling us and drawing us to yourself; for revealing to us the only source of true joy. We pray that as we seek to live lives that treasure you and your kingdom that we would seek to help others do the same. Continue to draw us to yourself. Help us to love you and to love others.
"Redeemed To Redeem"
Austin Stone Worship