We Must Let Go of This to Find True Joy
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I am not a doctor, none of the information on any of these pages pertaining to the Ketogenic Diet or Adrenal Fatigue should be considered medical advice and should not replace the care of your personal physician. I am simply eager to share the information I have learned while on my own journey to health. Before you embark on this journey, please consult with your physician.
My 10-year old son always has something in his hand. It’s been like this since he was an early toddler.
It started out with Thomas the Train. He never went anywhere without Thomas, never slept without Thomas, never ate without Thomas.
As he grew, the thing in his hand changed to whatever his favorite character was at the moment: Robin from Batman and Robin, Dusty from Disney Planes, Owelette from P.J. Masks, and at the time of writing this it is cell phones.
Even something as simple as a picture or drawing of his favorite thing is enough – as long as he’s holding on to it in his hand.
It gives him a sense of joy and pleasure…even as sense of identity.
He’ll often look at me and say, “Hey mom, I’m the O.G. Phone Collector (how on earth does my kids use the term O.G.!!)” or “I’m a Dusty Master”, or “Look, I’m Robin!”
Many times it’s that way for us in our spiritual lives. We walk around holding on to something we highly value:
- Our career
- Our home
- Our education
- Our achievements
- Chronic illness
Because we derive joy and pleasure…even identity from that thing.
However, Philippians 3 is about to ruin that for us, because Paul urges us to take whatever is in our hand, throw it behind us, walk away from it, and reach for something that will give us true joy.
Remember how in chapter 2 we talked about the difference between joy and happiness?
What if whatever we’re holding in our hand right now is the very thing that is standing in the way of us possessing true joy that will never go away?
Paul starts off by warning the Philippian church to be on their guard against a group of religious people called the “Judaizers”.
These were Jewish Christians that taught that you had to continue observing the law in order to be saved; specifically, you had to be circumcised.
I guess they completely missed the part where Jesus fulfilled the ceremonial laws through His sacrifice on the cross.
We have a similar group in the church today that has gone to the other extreme. They don’t demand strict adherence to Old Testament Law that Jesus fulfilled, rather they have thrown off all of the Old Testament and demand that we do the same in order to be culturally acceptable.
I talk about that in this post “Beware of the Modern-Day Judaizers“.
These Judaizers took great pride in their careful observance of the Law. They were basically Pharisees 2.0; and Paul is having none of it.
He calls them “dogs”, “evil workers”, and “mutilation”.
Just like their predecessors the Pharisees, Judaizers rely on outward displays of righteousness while inside they are filled with rotten pride, jealousy, judgmentalism, legalism, and self-righteousness.
What’s worse is they place on their adherents heavy requirements that are impossible to fulfill.
They promise a feeling of satisfaction for having checked all the boxes, while failing to realize that not only are they utterly incapable of checking all the boxes all of the time, but that God isn’t interested in our little checked boxes.
Our carefully check-off boxes do not impress Him in the slightest.
This is what the Bible has to say about our check-boxes:
“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6
All of our attempts to check off boxes and impress God with how good we can be are futile.
The Bible says in several places we are not good. “There is none who does good, no, not one.” Good deeds done from an unregenerate heart cannot be good.
As the Bible says in many places, a rotten tree cannot bear healthy fruit.
He goes on, in verses 18-19 to say, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.”
Not only were these so-called Christians placing a heavy weight upon people to keep up an appearance of righteousness, Paul says they are enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction – in the Greek, hell.
Their god is their belly – in the Greek, pleasure or their soul.
Their glory is in their shame – in the Greek, dishonesty.
They themselves know they can’t live up to their own set of standards, but they will continue to put for that appearance because it gives them pleasure and satisfaction. And yet, they don’t know that their end is hell, because they preach another gospel that is not salvation by grace alone!
Paul goes on in Philippians 3:4 to say, “If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so…” In other words, “If there is anyone out there that thinks they can confidently boast in their achievements, I’m that guy!”
And he goes on to list it all off:
- Circumcized….on the 8th day, no less
- Founding Israeli family
- Of the Tribe of Benjamin
- Hebrew of Hebrews
- Pharisee Law School Alma Mater
- O.G. SJW (zeal, persecuted the church, and righteous)
The difference with Paul is, he’s not impressed with himself at all. It’s not that he has low self-worth, it’s just that he’s not preoccupied with himself and his impressive achievements.
They’re tools for him, nothing more.
If he has to reach in his toolbelt to pull one of them out (which he did in the book of Acts), he will. Otherwise, they don’t serve any other purpose.
He says this about them in verse 7:
“But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.” Paul realized that hanging on to his achievements would become a roadblock for him.
It would put a lid on what God could do through him, so he let them go for the sake of the gospel.
He goes on in verse 8 to say, “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (emphasis mine)
He held on to nothing in this life as precious, because Christ had become everything to him; and as we read on, we discover why.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.” Philippians 3:12
In the Greek, this phrase “press on” means to run fast, run after, running in a race to reach a goal”.
Have you ever tried to run a 5K, 10K, or marathon wearing several layers of clothing, a heavy winter coat, and weighted shoes?
All of the weight of what you’re carrying on your body would prevent you from going very fast, or very far.
You’d only get a small distance in your run before you’d have to stop, because the amount of weight you’re carrying would put too much stress on your body to be able to reach the finish line.
And it is the same way in life.
In this chapter, Paul is leaving behind things we’d consider assets in life: a good reputation, good family background, great education, and ambition.
But there are negative things we tend to hold on to, as well, that we feel give our life meaning, satisfaction, and identity like drama, illness, loss, anger, or disappointment.
Anything we hold in our hand is going to prevent us from being able to firmly grasp hold of Christ, from whom we receive true joy, satisfaction, and identity.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
Not even the weather.
Every other Monday, I’m posting the new chapter for the Bible study here on my blog. I will offer that chapter as a beautiful free download for you to print out and save.
The download is 100% optional and comes with blank lined pages for your own personal notes.
On Tuesdays and Fridays I’m posting a “Bible Journal With Me” video for even deeper study into individual verses and passages from those chapters.
Today, I’m offering Chapter 3 of The Book of Philippians Bible Study pages as a 5-page free download for you to grab, plus 2 blank lined pages.
You can grab that right now, just by putting your email in the form below.
I am so glad to have you join me each week!
Visit all the posts in my Philippians Bible study below:
10 Verses from Philippians For Your War Room
30 Day Prayer Challenge for Philippians
Blog Posts and Free Downloads
The Book of Philippians Bible Study – Free Download
3 Reasons Why We Can Rejoice in Suffering
Be Faithful and Trust God’s Process
How to Recognize Disinformation
How to Maintain a Spirit of Joy in Persecution – Chapter 1 Free Download
Praying for the Persecuted Church
6 Ways We Grow Joy in Our Lives
This is What Unity In the Church Looks Like – Chapter 2 Free Download
Do You Really Have to Obey as an Adult?
Watch Your Self-Talk
We Must Let Go of This to Find True Joy – Chapter 3 Free Download
Don’t Get Distracted From Christ
Let’s Move Toward Maturity in Christ
5 Choices That Teach Us Contentment – Chapter 4 Free Download
Being Anxious for Nothing Is a Choice
Contentment Is a Spiritual Discipline
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