February 18, 2020
“I want to know Christ…” (Philippians 3:10, NIV 1984).
He had been through a thousand troubles in his life, none of his own doing. Lost loved ones, cardiac surgeries, severe accidents, loneliness. He lived with chronic anxiety and loved the Lord. He passed me in the hall, and after I asked him about his well-being, he said, “I just want that peace and joy that Jesus promises us.” Having walked with him through many of his difficulties, I knew that simple encouragement would not be helpful. So, I told him, “My recommendation for you, John, is that you quit seeking the peace and joy that Jesus can give you. Let them go as targets for your life. Just go after Jesus. The peace and joy will follow.”
Most of us seek joy and peace in our lives. Many of us seek Jesus so that we might find these sometimes-illusive treasures. Sometimes we might even make Jesus a means to an end, using Him for the good He can bring to our lives: good such as eternal life, peace, joy, delivery from troubles, etc. Certainly, Jesus is the way to such treasures.
But the true treasure God would have us seek is Jesus Himself.
While searching for meaning in a concentration camp, Viktor Frankl came to realize that we may miss happiness if we make it the target for our lives: “Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as an unintended side effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”
Joy and peace for our lives as Christians come not from pursuing joy and peace, but from pursuing and surrendering to the Christ who is the source of all joy and peace.
Let me know you—and let me let go of all that keeps me apart from you.