I went to our women’s ministry monthly dinner event the other night and something profound happened to me. It may seem obvious to others, but it was like a breath of fresh air to me. Usually our “Essential Connections” is a fun evening of dinner and a skit and a chance to visit with other women in our church and sort of just chill out for a couple of hours- one night a month. That’s not a whole lot of chill, I know, but you take what you can get right? This month was different. The program included the first lesson in a Bible study on Phillipians. The Joy book! The Peace with chains book! The Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in the sewer under the jail book. Yay. That goes great with chill?
Our discussion led to the topic of Joy. And how Paul’s focus was on something other than his circumstances. It’s not about happiness. It’s not about how we feel. It comes from a different place. I’ve done several studies in Phillipians prior, so this was not news to me as a theme or something we need to do. But there was a question that our sister asked us that broke through that barrier of “I already know this”, and started me thinking.
It seems Paul’s secret to keeping his Joy in the midst of such terrible circumstances came from his ability to keep Christ as his Lord. Jesus was seated on the throne and Paul’s eyes were on Him, and Him alone. He had made Him his Lord. So then Debby explained to us how in her daily world, sometimes, she makes other things her lord. It might not be the obvious things like money or job or status seeking. Sometimes, it might be anything that takes the place of time that you would/should spend with Him. Maybe you are an interior decorator wanna be and you look at magazines and become absorbed with dreaming and wishing of rooms you’d like to have. You make that magazine your lord. (Her example).
She then asked us this question: What have you made your Lord? As I stopped to think about my circumstances, and where my eyes are, and who is on the throne, it dawned on me what I have done. Some people seek money or status and serve it as master. I on the other hand, have no money or status, and don’t want it in excess, but that hasn’t stopped me from making it my lord. I have made my “lack” my Lord. I have made my “struggle” my Lord. I have taken my eyes off of the One Who Can end my struggle and fill my lack with provision. I will even go so far to say that I have made faith my lord and the good I hope to do, as well. I have made serving my lord. When it takes me away from the walk in the garden I should be having with Him, the works have become my lord. Ouch.
So what now? Contrary to how I might have reacted in the past, I feel the Holy Spirit gently leading me with a non dramatic nudge to get back in the Word. To give Him my time and attention regardless of the sewer I’m standing in. What I don’t want to have happen is for Jesus to come back and I cry out to my struggle “lord! lord!”. I don’t want Him to turn to me and say, “I’m sorry. Do I know you? You look familiar, but I think you must be talking to your lack.” That is a different kind of chill.
So here we go, into the book of Phillipians. Read the whole book and then come back and study line by line chapter one. Acquaint yourself with Him. Put Him back on the throne. And most of all, make Him Lord of your day. Every day.