The Joy of Not Caring

The Joy of Not Caring

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
–Philippians 1:21

Dilemmas: we face them just about every hour of every day. What is a dilemma? Somebody described a dilemma as watching your mother-in-law drive over a cliff in your brand-new Lexus. Now, that’s a dilemma, isn’t it? A dilemma is usually defined as a situation involving a choice between equally unsatisfactory alternatives.

Sometimes the dilemmas we face are not between two unsatisfactory choices. It might be between the known and the unknown. Do I keep my present job, or do I take that new position in a different city? Sometimes our dilemmas involve two equally satisfactory choices. Do I take the pecan pie or the chocolate pie? Sometimes our dilemmas involve choices that are very important. Do I stay in this troubled marriage, or do I leave? Do I forgive my child one more time, or do I ask him or her to move out? And sometimes the dilemmas we face are matters of life and death. That’s the kind of dilemma Paul faced, and he wrote about it in Philippians 1.

When the Christians in Philippi heard that Paul was in prison, they were distressed. So to reassure them, in Philippians 1:12, Paul told them not to worry about his circumstances: “I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel.” Paul had a Christ-centered purpose in living. His life’s purpose was to make Jesus Christ known to as many people as possible. So he could be happy with his imprisonment because it worked out for the progress of the gospel. Paul explained that through his imprisonment, many Roman soldiers were hearing the gospel. Not only that, but Christians everywhere were having the courage to spread their faith.

Your purpose in life determines how you look at the circumstances in your life. I like to say that your purpose in life is a lot like a set of lenses in eyeglasses. If your purpose in life is self-focused, if your purpose in life is to have as much pleasure or as much peace or as much prosperity as you possibly can, then you are going to view your life through the lens of that purpose. And you are going to view negative circumstances in your life–like the loss of income, the loss of pleasure, or the loss of a relationship–as tremendous tragedies. But if your purpose in life is to magnify Christ, then you will be able to see how negative circumstances are actually positive because they help you achieve your purpose in life. That was Paul. He was saying, “I have as my purpose to glorify Christ, and I rejoice in my circumstances.”

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Joy of Not Caring” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.