Joy's Collision With Legalism
In our series, “Living Life with Joy”, we opened with the apostle Paul writing his letter to the Philippian church from a Roman prison cell. His theme throughout the letter is, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice”. Joy has been defined in a number of ways, but we have defined Joy, not as a symptom of our circumstances, not as our feeling of happiness, not something to feel when things are going good. Rather, Joy is living life in a constant state of awareness as to what Christ has done in us and through us, regardless of our circumstances. In other words, our Joy is not found in what we do for ourselves. Our Joy is found in what Christ has done for us. Joy is on a constant collision course with our sense of righteousness. Our righteousness is what Paul summed up to be legalism. The early Christians who were Jews believed that circumcision must accompany salvation. Paul was adamant that this was a perversion of the gospel of Christ and a form of legalism. Joy's collision with legalism will expose our true identity and our sense of security.
The question is, where do you personally find your identity and your security? If it is in your own righteousness, your own sense of accomplishment, then you have placed your identity and your security in yourself and not in Christ. Our righteousness is not found in what we do. Our righteousness is found in what Christ has done for us. That is where we find out who we really are. We anchor our self-esteem in our relationship with Christ.
Is your righteousness anchored in your bank account, your house, your resume, your weight loss, etc. Paul said, "I put no confidence in the flesh". Our flesh represents our righteousness in the natural man. Our Joy is in His righteousness where there is a Christ mindedness in all things at all times. Joy then becomes the product of our perspective. That's why Paul can conclude his letter to the Philippian church with his accolade to them, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice”.