Scripture Reference: 1 Corinthians 10:31
We are continuing today to work through our series “Quest for Joy”, and staying with the thought that we are here to live for God’s glory…and not our own. I believe that this is going to be another powerful message, and therefore I’m not going to take much time here in the introduction. We’re just going to get right into today’s message.
Today’s Message: “Every Human Should Live For God’s Glory”
I am not a psychologist. I don’t have any training for when it comes to understanding the way we are as humans, but I would like to offer up this thought as we’re talking about joy, and now the topic of today’s message.
I believe that part of the reason there are so many people who are down and out is because they’re living for their own glory. Can I share with you that I was living for my own glory for a long time, and even now I still find myself seeking my own glory…but that when I seek my own glory I rarely ever find joy. I may find a little bit of happiness, but it’s usually fleeting. In other words…when I’m living for my own glory any joy I get from it is relatively little compared to the joy I receive when I’m living for God’s glory.
In the last message we were reminded that we’re to do all that we do for God’s glory, and here today is the second message where we’re being reminded of that very same thing. We’re not here to glorify ourselves…we’re here to glorify God. That’s not to say that we’re not allowed to experience happiness and joy…because God wants us to be happy…He wants us to have and experience joy…but not apart from Him. We’re to obtain our happiness and joy by living our lives for Him, with Him, and thru Him.
The most joy I experience comes when I’m walking with God. The further away I am from Him the less joy I experience. There’s a lot of depressed people in the body of Christ that would be cured of their “chronic depression” if they would just return to the Cross. I don’t’ know who I’m talking about…but depression was nailed to the Cross with Jesus so to provide us the cure. Friend…depression has a name, and we know that any thing in this world that has a name is subject to the name of Jesus. If you’re struggling with depression…the cure is found in the name of Jesus.
I believe another cure for depression is found when we stop seeking joy from things that cannot and were not designed to give us joy. Listen, I love my wife, but I cannot place upon her the burden of giving me joy. She can’t. I am looking forward to our daughter arriving into the world, but I cannot place the burden upon her to bring me joy either. I love my dog, but I can’t place the burden of giving my joy on him either. I like my job, but it doesn’t bring me joy. Do you see where I’m going here? All these things in my life…my wife…my job…my ministry…my daughter…they can bring me happiness, they can bring me contentment, but the one thing they can’t bring me is what only my relationship with God can…joy. Joy is a fruit of the spirit…not of the flesh.
Joy is not an emotion…it’s one of the fruits of the spirit. The joy of Who? The Lord shall be my strength. Joy is only found in one source, and if you’re trying to find it in your spouse, your career, your ministry, your children, your hobby, or whatever else…you’re not going to find it…because you cannot find something that’s a fruit of the spirit within your flesh. That’s not to say those things won’t bring you happiness and contentment.
Remember Paul said that he reached a place where he was able to be content whether he had a lot or a little, was in prison or free? That’s something that I have found…contentment. I am content with my life as far as my family, my career, and even my ministry. I’ve found happiness and contentment. But, I believe the reason people don’t experience joy is because they’re looking for it in the wrong places…because it can only be found in Christ.
If God made us for his glory, it is clear that we should live for his glory. Our duty comes from his design. So our first obligation is to show God’s value by being satisfied with all that he is for us. This is the essence of loving God (Matthew 22:37) and trusting him (1 John 5:3-4) and being thankful to him (Psalm 100:2-4) It is the root of all true obedience, especially loving others (Colossians 1:4-5).
How many of us are satisfied with all that God is for us? I can read by my Twitter timeline that there aren’t many. There are so many Christians forfeiting their joy because they can’t do simple things like understand their identity in Christ. They identify themselves as saved sinners. I’m sorry to have to say this, but you cannot claim to be a sinner and in Christ at the same time. You’re either still a sinner or you’re in Christ…not both.
You see, I don’t know about anyone else, but I am reconciled to God. How do I know that? Romans 5:10 tells me so. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. How do I know that? 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells me so. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have the Son and therefore I have eternal life. How do I know that? 1 John 5: 11-13 tells me so.
You see, my joy comes from knowing that I am complete, lacking nothing because I am in Christ Jesus, and that cause something inside of me that’s much more than just happiness. How do I know I’m complete in Christ Jesus? I’m glad you asked, but if you’d read your Bible a little more often you would know that Colossians 2:10 tells us that we’re complete in Christ. My joy comes from Christ…not my circumstances, not the people, not the ministry, and nothing else. Those things can and do produce happiness, but true joy comes solely and only from my relationship with God.
In fact, there’s an acronym that I use from time to time in the context of how we can find joy.
J – Jesus – Because everything starts with Jesus. If Jesus isn’t first then there’s no way to have and get joy.
O – Others – Putting others before my own needs and desires. Being selfish doesn’t produce joy it produces pride…and we all know what comes with pride.
Y – Yourself – Friends, we have to take care of ourselves. We do need to be all about God first, we need to make sure that we prefer others above ourselves, but that doesn’t mean we ought to forget about ourselves.
In fact, I submit to you that if we put these things in the proper order…we will always have joy in our lives because if we have Jesus first, and meeting the needs of others second…then God will see to it that our needs are taken care of. So, really we take care of ourselves by keeping these three things in it’s proper place…if we do that…we find joy. If any of those things are out of order…we don’t have joy.
I like what Mr. Piper writes here: “So our first obligation is to show God’s value by being satisfied with all that he is for us.” Our first obligation is to show God’s value by being satisfied with all that He is for us. Are you satisfied with all that God is for you? If you’re having a hard time finding joy in your life…that may well be the reason…you’re not satisfied with all that God is for you. Let me just say that if you’re not satisfied with all that God is for you, has done for you, and is doing through you…then you’re either unaware of all that God is for us or you have a lot of you that needs to be crucified.
Is God valuable to you? Do you understand that you’re valuable to Him? So valuable that He sent His Son to die for you so that He could have a relationship with you. Then we murky up all that value with trying to earn something we can’t…and then wonder why we don’t have joy. When we lose sight of the fact that the Cross supplied everything…then we lose the joy of our salvation. When we start to feel like we’re unworthy in and of ourselves (which we aren’t), and don’t understand our place in Christ and just what God has provided for us through the Cross…then there’s no wonder why joy is so hard to come by…because there’s no joy in trying to earn God’s love…we can’t earn it…we have to receive it.
I don’t know about you, but there’s enough in this world that’s trying to steal my joy. I don’t need to add to it by trying to acquire things from God that I can only receive by grace through faith in a relationship with God. The harder I work to earn those things from God the less joy I have…but the more I allow those things to come to me by faith…the more I understand who I am and what I have in Christ…the more joy I experience.
If you’re having a hard time experiencing joy…try looking at the order of how you have the three relationships. Are you putting others above Jesus? Do you have yourself above Jesus? Do you have Jesus first, but don’t really care about the needs of others? Do you put others first, but have yourself and Jesus out of order? If you don’t have those relationships in the proper order ( Jesus, Others, Yourself) then you won’t have joy until you learn their proper place in your life…Amen!?!
It’s been a while since I thought about that very simple acronym for joy. Jesus, Others, and Yourself. I know it’s simple, but it provides us with an easy checklist to inventory as to why we’re lacking in joy. If you have any of those relationships out of order…then that’s why you’re lacking in joy. It’s important to remember that no matter what Jesus is our first obligation, and then putting others above ourselves, and then if we do that…I believe and know from my own experience God will take care of our business if we’re about those first two things. So, in essence the best way to take care of yourself is to put Jesus first, and then others second. If you have yourself anywhere other than last…there’s no joy.
I know that’s a simple thing, but it’s true. You can’t have joy if you spell it any other way, and just like you have to spell it correctly…we have to have those three relationships in it’s proper place…or we won’t have the joy in which we seek.
I hope this message has been a blessing to you. Some times the simplest of illustrations can bring the most revelation. I pray that the Holy Spirit sink this message deep into your hearts, and that He protects the truth in this message from the devil that would seek to steal this word from you. I pray for ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts that are receptive and will respond. In Jesus name…and everyone said…Amen
Blessings & Grace to you.
Pastor Bryan J. Kizer
Christlike Ministries NWA
“My love be with you all in Christ Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 16:24