Tag Archives: joy

Becoming More Like Christ

Becoming More Like Christ

By Carolyn Dale Newell

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

Philippians 2:5 NKJV

The desire of every Christian should be to become more like Christ. Is that realistic? Jesus was perfect and without sin. How can we pattern our lives after Christ while still living on earth?

We can have the mindset of Jesus. Yes, with the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we can achieve it. Christ thought of others before He thought of Himself. He put us first. That is what Paul explains in Philippians chapter two.

Beginning with verse one, Paul tells believers we have been encouraged by the Lord. In the Greek, the “consolation of His love” refers to Jesus coming close and whispering hope to us.

Then Paul speaks of our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit dwells in all believers. Therefore, there should be unity.

When churches become fractured, it quenches and grieves the Spirit. Cliques only serve to weaken a church.

Paul continues in verse 2:

fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

This is our to-do list that will transform us from self-centered to other-centered and unite the body of Christ.

Like minded is equivalent to right thinking and having the same mind. The same love refers to loving others equally, not preferring some above others and especially not putting ourselves before them either. One accord denotes selflessness. One mind is intent on the same thing.

Next, Paul tells us about our wrong attitudes, the ones we need to put to death.

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Phil. 2:3)

Self is at the center of every sin. Paul is referring to seeking to serve self and self-glorification.

Our focal verse is a command, but it is an action we must choose. The Holy Spirit convicted me as I studied this chapter. I am seeking God’s guidance as I choose to have a servant’s mentality.

I challenge you to do likewise. You can take a giant step in becoming more Christlike when you humbly decide to think of someone else before yourself. What would our churches be like if we were all concerned about others more? When we take care of others, God takes care of us. If we all sought the good of another person, we would embrace the joy Paul wrote about. How would our communities’ benefit if all Christians sought to meet the needs of someone else?

It begins with one person. We cannot make decisions for anyone else, but I encourage you to join me and one-by-one we will make a difference.

Lord Jesus, we long to be more like You. Remove our selfishness and replace it with selflessness. Give us opportunities to meet the needs of someone else. In Jesus’ name, Amen

DIG DEEPER

Read Philippians 2:1-11.

HIKING THE TRAIL

What is one thing you can do today to put the needs of another before yourself?

Copyright 2019 Carolyn Dale Newell.

 

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Tamper Resistent Joy

Tamper Resistant Joy

By Carolyn Dale Newell

…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b NKJV

Imprisoned and chained to a guard, Paul wrote several of his epistles, including the “joy epistle” of Philippians. How could Paul rejoice when he could no longer plant churches and preach the gospel as he did on his missionary journeys?

Paul believed God’s promise in our focal verse: the joy of the Lord is our strength. Paul lived Christ

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NKJV)

In the original Greek text, the verb “is” is absent. So, Paul lived Christ. Paul’s enemies had meant this for evil, but God had meant it for good. Paul recognized that, and he rejoiced.

The enemy seeks to steal, kill, and destroy our joy. Nothing would please him better than to see grimacing Christians. He has no authority over God’s children. When Satan cannot deceive us into temptation, one of his plots involves zapping our joy. Sadly, we allow him.

That’s right. We fall for his trickery, and the devil knows better than most Christians that the joy of the Lord is our strength. He steals our joy and leaves us weak.

But we are not without hope. We can turn our faces toward the Son and away from our circumstances. Away from the depression, the loneliness, the pain, anxieties, the season we find ourselves in. We don’t find joy in those situations, but when we face Jesus, we see joy, for Jesus is joy.

We live in a topsy-turvy world, and sometimes life must get more confusing to get us right side up. We allow circumstances to dictate our emotional thermometers rather than trusting our sovereign Lord. Sweet friend, we are measuring the wrong thing (topsy-turvy). God allows things, painful things, into our lives to turn us right side up.

We can get our joy back when we live Christ as Paul did. When we commit to praise God no matter what, we will find strength through joy. When we can look at our messy lives and know Jesus loves us. When we look through joy colored glasses, we are made strong.

Christmas can either be depressing or joyful. In order to have a tamper-resistant joyful Christmas, look to the Baby in the manger. He is now our King and has been granted authority over all things. Joy doesn’t erase the hurt, but It delivers strength to cope with it. Joy isn’t found in friends, family, or feasting. Not genuine joy. That joy exists only in Jesus.

Heavenly Father, help us turn our faces toward Jesus this season. Easier said than done, but with You all things are possible. Thank You for the joy You will bring many who would be sad and alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Philippians 1: 12-26.

HIKING THE TRAIL

What is one attitude you can adopt this Christmas season to see joy amidst your situation? How can you help someone else who struggles at this time of the year?

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.