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Monday, July 12, 2010

Joy

It's not easy but you can choose joy. For those of you who were at Ridgeview yesterday, this is a repeat from yesterday's message. But it's worth repeating because 1) it's that important and 2) not everybody got to worship with us yesterday.

Joy--the kind that Paul wrote about in Philippians and that God desires for our lives--is not based on our circumstances. It's based on our willingness to embrace fully the person of God. It begins with our attitude.

Now...this isn't easy. I know. I've lived it as recently as the last few weeks. But it's an essential lesson we have to keep working on.

Everything not going according to plan? Joy killer.
Kids not listening to your wisdom? Joy killer.
Work becoming too hard or asking too much? Joy killer.
Relationship gone bad? Joy killer.

But the truth is that joy can't really be squashed, it only gets replaced by another attitude that we choose to put in it's place. Rather than joy, we choose pity. Rather than joy, we choose sorrow. Rather than joy...you fill in the blank. And when we choose to follow some other path, we can blame the world, we can blame the day, we can blame others...the true responsibility comes back to what my attitude is. As I told my "Ridgies" yesterday, when you put on sack cloth and ashes, at the end of the day all you are left with is...sack cloth and ashes. Your choice. But what does the Bible say the remedy is?

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care--then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead.Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what.Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that: a crucifixion.Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever....Philippians 2:1-9 Msg

Joy begins--and ends--with your attitude. When you get the focus off of yourself and on to others around you, you become more like Christ and begin to embrace the "peace that passes all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) Check your attitude and decide to choose joy this week!!

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