by Kyle Chupp, Orillia Campus, Small Group Leader – one of the best parts of his week!
Welcome to Day 23 of the 24 Day Devotion. So glad you’re joining us! Each day for 24 days as a church, we’re going to read one chapter of the Gospel of Luke and post a devotion on it.
If you’ve never read the Bible, we’re so glad you’re joining us. And if you read the Bible, we hope this helps you grow in your faith.
Need to catch up? Start at Luke 1 – Is The New Testament A Lie? and follow along. Today’s devotion is below.
READ Luke 23
“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.“
-John Lenon (rumoured)
Does any of this sound familiar: You have the desire to help people and make a big difference in the world. On the other hand, you feel pulled towards things that will make you happy; a dream job, freedom to travel & work from anywhere, create your own rules.
What if those things weren’t in conflict. By that I mean, what if your desire to be happy is not something that you need to suppress so that you can do the most good in the world?
In fact, research shows that spending money on others promotes happiness.
Hold that thought because I want to look at a story that most people have at least heard of before.
There is this story about a guy, Jesus, who died on the cross for all mankind, then rose from the dead three days later. Your friend, or that guy at work, may use this as some selling point for Easter, or why Christianity is so awesome, how it can save you, and make your life better. Maybe someone has tried to point out that He died for your sins.
I once heard a comedian say ‘he died for my sins, well how does one affect the other?! I hit myself in the foot with a shovel to pay your mortgage. What’s the connection?!’
You keep hearing how Jesus is the one that gave it all, in order to do the most good.
However, there is just one big problem you think they are missing:
“How does His dying help me?”
Have you ever thought to yourself?
- ‘I never asked anyone to die for me anyway, so how does that affect me? I don’t need saving.'
- ‘I’m sick of the church trying to market to me and win me over with cool style points. Forget rebranding Jesus, just practice what you preach.'
- ‘I want to be a good person and help other people like everyone else, but I’m worried that belief in Jesus means giving up all the things that make me happy'
Whether you identify with those thoughts or not, I want to point out a specific part of the crucifixion story that I think anyone can draw from.
The question I asked before was ‘what if you don’t have to suppress your desires for happiness to do good?'
If Christians are supposed to be good people and love others, wouldn’t it be interesting to look at how the Bible says Jesus endured the torture He went through?
The Bible actually answers this in Hebrews 12:2: “…because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross.”
Because of the joy awaiting him. Your desire for joy isn’t in conflict with your desire to help other people. This is by no means a new idea. Take it from C.S. Lewis who says it far better than I can:
“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
– C.S Lewis The Weight of Glory and other Addresses
You don’t have to suppress your desire for joy in your life in order to do amazing things to help other people. The problem is that we are too easily pleased. Both inside and outside of Christianity people are finding that helping other people is something that gives incredible joy.
Live in a way that you don’t settle for the things that you fooled around with before. How can you plan your life so you can have the greatest joy, and do the greatest good? If you do believe the Bible, there is a lot more that can lead you.
For starters, check out Psalm 16:11: “…in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Heavenly Father, it is literally impossible to desire what we should without you. It’s so easy to settle for less. You’ve placed compassion in our hearts and the desire to help other people. Let us taste the fullness of joy that you offer, and let us never be the same because of it.