PASTORS' DAILY DEVOTIONAL
Jesus JoyJustin Smith
Philippians 1:21-22 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.
Why are we so quick to complain, walking around with a cloud of negativity hanging over our head? When things don’t go our way, and life isn’t peachy keen, we allow our emotions to get the best of us, our attitudes to turn sour, and our toxic negativity to affect those around us. Is life really that bad? A dark, musty prison cell, seemingly devoid of all hope, joy, and promise where men often go to rot as they sulk in despair, is the location that these words in Philippians, of light and life, find their beginnings. Paul finds himself, not in a palace or on a successful crusade rather, trapped in a jail built for criminals. It was there that Paul wrote a letter to teach and encourage the church in Philippi. He opens the letter telling them about his imprisonment, sharing that he remains joyful in his circumstances because as long as he is granted life He will find fulfillment in laboring fruitfully in, and for, Jesus. Paul was able to find hope and joy in the worst of circumstances because He knew Jesus and the character of His God: Sovereign, Loving, Just, and Mighty. Bad people, bad circumstances, and bad accommodations had no affect on him because he lived his life surrendered to Jesus.
It’s so important to remember, this Christmas season, that joy isn’t found in presents, provisions, and perfect plans. People will let me down, life may not always go the way I think it should, and this world won't offer solace, but once I understand the magnitude of God’s goodness I have secured a hope that cannot be thwarted, regardless of circumstances. My joy is founded in the undeserved love, grace, and forgiveness God grants, which can never be lost or taken away. My satisfaction is found in living to bless God, to serve others, and to share that which He has granted me. I will choose to live a life that takes Paul’s words as my own, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me.” I will choose to walk in Jesus Joy, as I redeem every second of life for Him!
Lord, what more can be said but THANK YOU! Thank you for your love, your hope, your grace, and the joy that you abundantly bless me with. I repent for allowing myself to get distracted, I repent for allowing my emotions get the best of me, and I ask that you would once again renew the joy of my salvation. Thank you that today is a day of Jesus Joy!