What's our attitude towards life today? Chuck Swindoll says “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude in life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. …We are in charge of our attitude.”
The Bible encourages us to change our mental and spiritual attitude because it dictates and determines our behavior, actions and reactions to life. In the same manner, the epistle of Philippians was written to teach and encourage the Philippians and us how to live a victorious Christian life in the midst of trying times. The word “attitude or mind” is used more than 12 times in Philippians and speaks about the attitude of joy, hope, humility, service, perseverance, peace, contentment, generosity, and much more. Because the book of Philippians is about Christ-centered attitudes we find several passages focusing on the attitude of joy. In Philippians 4:4 it says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
In reality, it’s very natural to be joyful if our career is improving, if we inherit a fortune, if we are finally in love, we’re getting married – nice things will bring joy. That’s normal. But when things are not going well like someone you love has cancer, you’re jobless, you have a broken or strained relationship, can we still be joyful?
God wants us to be joyful. But when we insist on living our own way, we’ll never experience the joy of the Lord. Satan has deceived many of us into thinking we know best how to run our own lives and produce joy for ourselves. Many times, we are no longer joyful because of joy-stealers that we encounter in our life.
What are those joy-stealers? The first thief is called “wrong thinking”. Wrong-thinking will never produce a joyful life because we need to know the truth. Wrong-thinking will rob us of our joy. Someone quoted, “Joy is the quiet, confident, assurance of God’s love and work in our lives. Joy comes from knowing that God will be there no matter what happens.” Here we find two secrets to a joyFULL life:
1. God sees us as PRICELESS
Philippians 1:1-2 “Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul is saying in the above passage, “I’m a servant and I will devote my energy, my life to serving the Lord.” That’s a right perspective based on right thinking. Furthermore, this epistle is addressed to us, the saints. When we use the word ‘saint’, people think we have to be holy and pious, one who has to die first to become a saint. That is wrong thinking. Actually, the word ‘saints’ simply means we have been set apart for God to live as true followers of Christ. Ephesians 2:10, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."
The most famous art museum in Paris, the Louvre has all the works by great artists including the Mona Lisa. There she is smiling at all the onlookers and at the bottom of this masterpiece is a signature - Leonardo da Vinci, the artist. How much is this portrait? It is literally priceless.
So what about us, how much are we worth? Remember it's not our friends, who determine what we're worth, or our critics, or our family, or our culture, or our boss. It is God. He gave us our worth the moment we were conceived by Him. Our worth is not because of how much we make, what car we drive or clothes we wear, or what title we have, or whether anyone asks us out or not - we are priceless in God's eye. Our personal worth is found, "in Christ Jesus." That’s the signature of God in our life just like the original Mona Lisa is signed by its master painter. When we are in Christ Jesus that makes us priceless. He is the one who loves us the most - who puts a priceless value on us. After all, He paid for our sin with His Son’s life. That's how much He thinks we're worth!
2. God is at work to PERFECT you.
Philip. 1:6 “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”
When we see certain homes left uncompleted, we wonder why the construction stopped. It could probably be because the owners or the contractors for whatever reason did not have the resources to finish it. But with God it’s different, when God begins to work in our life, He will finish it because He has all the resources to finish it. God initiated the work in our life. The good work began when we came to know Jesus. That is called salvation. God will continue to complete what He has began. Therefore, we can be joyFULL because God is at work to perfect us.
But despite this knowledge there is another thief that steals our joy and that is the people around us. Many people don’t realize how we are disappointed, discouraged by them.
How do people steal our joy? We don’t realize it but many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if we let them, they'll dump it on us. When someone wants to dump on us, don't take it personally. We should just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. We'll be happy we did.
But then again some of us today might be the ones filled with garbage. What do we do? Don’t dump it on people. Pour it out on God. He’s ready and willing to hear that inner pain and cry of our heart.
Today, we must not let our joy be robbed by wrong thinking, wrong attitudes or negative attitudes. Don’t let our joy be robbed by people. Realize that God sees you as priceless and God is at work to perfect your life.