Choosing Joy In a World Gone Dark


From the Series: Choosing Joy

If I’m not careful, I can get overwhelmed with the darkness around me. Yes, we’ve all sinned individually, but the Bible dedicates much attention to the systems and structures (spiritual, political, commercial, etc.) that oppress people and cause suffering.

We live in a world gone dark.

Because of the world we live in, it’s easy to…

  • Isolate – living in fear and retreat, seeing other people as the enemy (they aren’t).
  • Imitate – adjusting our lifestyle to the culture and blending in.
  • Insulate – creating a kind of “Christian” bubble that isn’t very real.

But what does God really want us to do?

God wants us, as followers of Jesus and messengers of his good news, to infiltrate the culture with spiritual vitality!

But when there is darkness, death, and decay around me, how can I possibly live a life of spiritual vitality?

Paul addresses this in his letter to the church in Philippi…

Philippians 2:12-18 NRSV

[12] Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; [13] for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure. [14] Do all things without murmuring and arguing, [15] so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. [16] It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. [17] But even if I am being poured out as a libation over the sacrifice and the offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you- [18] and in the same way you also must be glad and rejoice with me.

1. I need to invest my life energetically and purposefully.

Notice that Paul doesn’t say to work for your salvation, but to work out your salvation. That means, I need to give time, attention, and devotion to cultivating the kind of life God wants me to live.

Living energetically isn’t the same as being busy. It’s not about doing lots of things, but about doing the right things as we join God in his work of redeeming what is lost around us.

When it comes to “working out,” one thing we usually lack is motivation, but Paul says to work out your salvation “with fear and trembling.” In other words, a healthy respect for who God is will drive me.

2. I need to rely on God as my great source of energy.

So I need to put energy into life, but what about the fact that I’m totally exhausted?

This is where dependence on God is so vital.

  • Recognize God at work in you.
  • Trust His ability.
  • Invite Him daily.
  • Yield every moment.

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