Finding Joy... - Part 3 [Devo]

Going Deeper with the Message:
Who Took the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?

Picture it: a cookie has gone missing from the treat jar. When two perfect, angelic boys are asked who took the cookie, they both point fingers…at each other. So who is to blame? The taller boy who is the only one able to reach the jar? Or the little chocolate lover who coaxed his brother into committing the crime? The fact that both their faces are smeared with chocolate seems a moot point.

Blame is a sticky subject. I can try to teach my boys about the rules, but at some point there have to be consequences for their actions. We discuss that the only way to avoid blame is to stay out of the situation altogether—to obey the rules by making good choices and stay away from trouble.

I can provide a safe home for my boys. I can love them and give them treats. But at some point, they have to grow up and develop a responsibility for their actions. I can’t follow them out into the real world and continue to clean up their messes for the rest of their lives. Because I love them, I believe it’s part of my job description to equip them with knowledge and experience to help them be successful after they leave my care.

As it so often does, Pastor Tim’s words this past Sunday made me reflect on my life by comparing it to my children’s. He spoke about Philippians 2:14-16, which reads:
"Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly to the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing."

Pastor Tim went on to define “blameless” in the context of “unmixed,” as in, we are able to remain separate from the sinful ways of the world by staying obedient to His message. And by obeying His Word, we can experience the joy that He has in us.

Just as I try to equip my children for the world with love and guidelines to keep them safe, so God has given us everything we need to go out into the world and let His light shine through us. But we cannot expect joy without putting in the effort to learn what He expects of us. Just as my children learn my expectations through communicating with me, I believe that we must seek out His Word to learn what God wants us to do with our lives. And just as my children can grow up and stand out in the world by following the rules and showing themselves to be hardworking, exceptional adults, so can we Christians become “blameless” in the world by working to obey His teachings.

I encourage you this week to consider an area in your life that you know you could be working on. Could you be praying more, spending more time with the Word, working to give up a bad habit? As Pastor Tim said, joy comes when we work with God, who is working in us!
Author: Michelle Lemley, Nursery Coordinator
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