Think Inside the Box – Part 3

Let’s talk about contentment

a. The story of King Joash in 2 Chronicles tells us everything we need to know about how to have true, lasting contentment, or peace, in life.

b. You’ve heard the phrase “Skeleton in the Closet?”

i. It’s used all the time for something you want to keep hidden away from others’ sight.

ii. It goes all the way back to the early 1800’s, referring to a way murders were covered-up, or also for doctors studying human anatomy and hiding cadaver skeletons which were outlawed by the church.

c. Keeping things about ourselves hidden, covered up, and secret can be stressful, requiring a lot of energy and emotion.

i. When things aren’t hidden anymore, and come out into the light of day, it can be a doorway to peace and contentment.

ii. The fallout from such revelations can be difficult, but there’s often a sense of relief, and release;

that life can be live unburdened and free now.

2. Scripture

a. Read 2 Chronicles 24:2.

i. There’s a sense that Joash was a clean slate. No skeletons. Nothing to cover up. He did what’s right.

b. Many think that the reason verses like this are in the Bible is because

religious people are expected to do right and be right, like Joash was.

i. When religious people do wrong, things are very wrong. God is betrayed. Faith is betrayed. Church is betrayed.

ii. So religious people can have incredible guilt, shame and regret; and closets can be filled with bones.

c. Is this what righteousness really is? ‘Doing’ right?

3. Look at the verse again. Joash did what was right ‘in the eyes of the Lord.’

a. What is right is visible. But if God is God then God doesn’t have to be the one who sees that it’s right. God

already knows. It’s about rightness being seen, shining a light.

b. The Old Testament talks of righteousness not as individual ethical choices, or as a moral social construct, but as something that flows from a covenant

relationship with God where what’s right for God also is right for God’s people.

c. For example, following the 10 Commandments is about knowing God, not about being a good person. See the difference?

4. The problem is that we usually don’t see the difference – and on our own we can’t see what’s right let alone do it. So in order to be right we need God to declare us

right, heal our blindness.

 

a. This is the work of Jesus: coming to earth to demonstrate rightness, living that rightness perfectly, and through the cross imparting that right-ness to you so when God sees you, what he really sees is Jesus.

i. read 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Ephesians 4:24

b. Righteousness for followers of Jesus isn’t about what they do, but what Jesus has done for them.

5. And now also what God is doing in them. Having been declared right they are now being made right every day.

a. Going back to 24:2, notice that Joash did what was right ‘all the days of Jehoida the priest.’

i. There’s something about his connection to Jehoida which keeps Joash right. And when the older pries eventually dies, Joash starts to go wrong in some tragic ways.

b. God brings you out of the darkness of the past into the light, but then shows you how to stay in the light. God makes you right.

i. The Holy Spirit dwells within you to give you a vision, guide you along the way, and go after you when you stray.

ii. It’s not a flip that gets switched from always wrong to always right. It’s something that grows and you see it more and more

6. And the final thing that happens is that you become right

a. It’s being delivered from the cares and struggles on this side of heaven, and seeing God fully, face to face.

b. Till that time, we cling to work of Jesus and the Spirit being renewed in us every day.

7. The third key to having true, lasting contentment is knowing and having real right-ness. No skeletons. No secrets hidden in the shadows. And having a real hope that the closet can stay empty.

a. But this can’t be about what you have, or get for yourself. Righteousness is more about what you subtract than what you add:

i. Giving up the instinct to cover up and hide when something goes wrong, and instead get things out in the open and seek forgiveness from God, yourself and others.

ii. Giving up the need to make everything about you, about always needing to be right and defend yourself. And instead work for what’s right for others, for fellow Christians, for your family, for

the community.

iii. And giving up the need to make sure everyone agrees with you about how right God is. God’s rightness is best seen in you, in your words and actions. So invest your energy in making sure God’s rightness can be clearly seen.

b. So what’s hidden from the light for you? What’s wrong that God can make right through Jesus?

i. Write on slip of paper and bring it as an offering to God- in the Joash Chest

 

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