There is an increasing emphasis on self-care. It is important to incorporate into our routines those practices that renew and rejuvenate our minds and bodies. It might be a massage, a quiet day away, a few hours of sitting with a good book and a glass of your favorite beverage, a shopping trip, fishing by your favorite brook — whatever brings peace to the chaos of daily life.

It is good and well to take care of ourselves. Too often we get lost in the needs of others and forget our own hearts and minds. Ravished by the needs of others, exhaustion sets in destroying the joy that the Holy Spirit offers.

Scripture paints a way to joy that is quite different than proper self-care and can be seen in the way Jesus lived. Consider these ways of Jesus . . .

6Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. 7Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, 8he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Philippians 2:6-8

Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 

Hebrews 12:2

Jesus sought joy. He didn’t do it through proper self-care and concern for his own well-being. He did it by laying aside everything he could claim as his own. He was divine — God in fact — and yet he laid it down. He gave up all his privileges and took on a human body in obedience to God and died a humiliating death. All so he could experience joy!

I am all about taking care of oneself. It’s important. Ultimately, though, it is not the path to experiencing joy. The road to joy is found by looking outside of ourselves and to what awaits us beyond today. Beyond the current circumstances. Beyond what we can see, trusting in what we cannot see.

This is a new thought to me. One that I need to ponder on for a bit and consider what it means to achieve joy in this way.

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