Joy Is Not a Feeling You Wait For; It’s a Choice You Make (Philippians 4:4-7)January 23, 2023 ● 19 min
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Your life is meant to change when you begin to follow Jesus. But for so many of us, that doesn’t happen. Why the disconnect? This series is all about unlocking the good life in Christ, and what it really means to be changed by him.
Secrets of the Good Life Series:
This week (week 4), we’re looking at what it means to really choose joy.
WHAT DOES IT SAY?
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
If you want to know how to start your day out with God, here it is!
“Always” – rejoicing is not limited to when everything is going well in our lives. Joy is not a feeling you have but a choice you make.
“Gentleness” – the fruit of our time with God is a gentle spirit, our gentleness should be evident to other people.
“Every situation” – nothing is too small
“The peace of God… will guard your heart” – his peace will keep you from spiraling into anxiety, or stop you from trying to control everything
WHAT’S THE BACKSTORY?
Pastoral letters like Philippians give us a view of what’s happening in the church as more people believe and as Christianity is spreading.
Pastoral letters set a direction for us. We do not need to be confused about who we are meant to become – the Word shows us.
If you’re feeling down, or anxious, this is a great letter for you. The theme of joy echoes throughout Philippians, where Paul is making it clear that joy is based on trusting the sovereignty of God and is always available.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
What does it mean to choose joy? It is about rejoicing not in the circumstances but in who God is within the circumstances.
Principle for the week: Joy comes from unshakable promises.
Psalm 16:8: I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Isaiah 54:10: “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Romans 14:17: For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR ME?
We must separate happiness and joy. Joy comes from things that can never be taken away.
Joy is a practice.
Make a list! Who does God want you to become? From these verses, we would say “always rejoicing” and “gentle” – is that the intention of your lives? Year after year, are you growing in these things?
Make another list – what promises of God can you rejoice in each day? What attributes of God can you rejoice in today?
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