Status Quo is defined as 'the existing state of affairs'. The Status Quo doesn't work because as human beings we are designed to grow and develop, not to stay the same. Even the human body totally replaces itself with new cells every 7 to 10 years. If it stayed the same, it would be a dead body. And of course even then it wouldn't stay the same, it would start to degrade back to dust. In the business world, this piece of wisdom is captured with the understanding that the business is either growing or dying. Nothing just stays the same.
This means if we set ourselves up to maintain the status quo at work, around the home, in family life, in our community or our church, then we are really setting ourselves up to go backwards and not forwards in those areas. What do we do instead?
The Parable of the Spinning Plates
A picture that captures a common response to the clear need to keep growing and moving forward, is the image of the trick routine of spinning plates on sticks. We keep giving little bits of focused attention to all the different components of life in the hope that we can keep each area moving ahead adequately. The problem is that it's just a modified version of maintaining the status quo (and it's also a difficult routine to keep up). Eventually we get tired and all the plates fall in a heap on the ground. Not a pretty picture. We need a better way forward.
Realising That We Are Made for Joy Not Striving
In his letter to the Philippian believers, the apostle Paul gives us a striking way to cut through the mess:
'Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.' (Philippians 3:1)
We are told to live out of joy and also that the place to find our highest joy is in the Lord Jesus himself. What a wonderful revelation that God wants us to be filled with joy and to pursue joy!
Really it should be no surprise to us. If we know something of the affection of Jesus (Philippians 1:8), which was shown at the cross, we know that the heart of the Lord is a heart filled with joy. Paul expects that the Christian who has come into a personal relationship with Jesus will be filled with encouragement and comfort and the joy of God poured out by the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2:1). Paul says live out of that. Know that God wants joy for us.
How to Pursue Joy?
But of course life isn't always roses and sunshine. It certainly wasn't for Jesus, who 'for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God' (Hebrews 12:2). That's why Paul gives us the command to 'rejoice in the Lord'. We need to actively pursue joy in Jesus.
We'll consider what this means over future weeks, but for now it's sufficient to outline two wrong approaches and a right approach to rejoicing in the Lord.
The first wrong approach is to settle for gritting it out 'in the Lord'. We convince ourselves and maybe others that we are rejoicing in the Lord, but we know in our heart of hearts we're not feeling it. That's not what Paul is talking about.
The second wrong approach is to rejoice in other things apart from the Lord. To rejoice in binge watching or binge eating or binge working or whatever our thing is. That won't get us where we want to go either. I take it you've probably figured that one out already.
The right approach is to keep looking to Jesus for joy. That means when you are not feeling great, you look to him to be the solution. 'Jesus, I trust you're the answer in this situation, cause I got nothing. Please help me out'. That's rejoicing in the Lord. When he provides the solution, praise and thank him. Sometimes we don't really know the answers, but as we fix our eyes on Jesus and trust his spirit to help us to worship him, then joy rises and the solutions follow along somewhere down the track. Really, rejoicing in the Lord, becomes an exciting adventure, where we don't quite know what is ahead, but we know how to move forward - with Him.
Join us at MAKE this term, either in person or on facebook live as we dig into this wonderful theme of finding joy with Jesus.
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
You might like to think a little bit more about your spiritual health, by taking the Spiritual Health Check Score Card here.