When was the last time you evaluated your priorities? Have you recently looked at your commitments, goals, and checkbook to list your assets and liabilities?
When we do not discipline ourselves to stay focused on our eternal priorities, we can easily become bogged down by earthly concerns that are unimportant.
Only dependence on Christ's strength can bring us joy.
When the apostle Paul was in prison, he took the time to evaluate his own life. Before Paul became a Christian, he was a Pharisee with prestige, power, and wealth. After he began his ministry for Christ, Paul endured frequent attacks, imprisonments, and hunger as he traveled from town to town.
Yet because Paul kept his focus on Christ, he found a joy that gave him a heavenly perspective on life and priorities:
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Philippians 3:7-9)
As Paul discovered, the things we consider assets in this life often turn out to be our liabilities because they keep us from depending on God. What is the object of your confidence? Is it your intelligence, your financial security, your social network?
None of these things will bring us indescribable joy—only dependence on Christ's strength can bring us joy. We must value our relationship with Christ and treasure our gift of joy in order to experience joy at its fullest.
Prayer: God, as I evaluate my life, I realize that my priorities are not always where they should be. Help me to value my relationship with You above all else and to stay focused on You. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"[L]et us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon series It's Contagious . . . Pass It On: LISTEN NOW