November 21, 2021 | Jess Rainer
Passage: Philippians 4:1-9
Stay true to the Lord. Joy comes when we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and help others do the same.
1) Avoid disruptive disagreement. (vs. 1-3) Disagreements are going to happen in the church. That’s normal. That’s normal because we aren’t perfect people. But our calling is to not let the disagreement become a disruption to the church and the work of the church. Joy comes from sticking together and working together.
2) Don’t be grumpy. (vs. 4-5) The command – “Always be full of joy” – is that possible? It is possible as long as you have the proper understanding of joy. Most people use “joy” and “happiness” as synonyms. Here is how to differentiate these two words: Happiness is an emotion. Happiness will come and go based on how you are feeling. We aren’t to be happy all the time. Joy is posture and perspective. Joy is a foundation where you can lay your emotions. Sin grows out of a joyless heart. Where is joy found? In the Lord! The deeper and longer we gaze on Jesus, the stronger our joy becomes.
3) Don’t let worry overtake prayer. (vs. 6-7) Much like happiness and joy – worry and anxiety can often be lumped together. We as Christians are not to live a life of worry. But what about anxiety? There are those of us who have emotional and mental struggles that more extensive than worry. To be clear, there are those who struggle with the inability to take their thoughts captive despite a vibrant walk with Jesus. Those who struggle with anxiety, let me remind you of something. In the end, anxiety does not win. There will be a day when those debilitating feelings are gone. It may not be tomorrow. It may not be in a year. But anxiety’s days are numbered because Jesus has won the final victory.
Worry is a spiritual battle. Our thinking should be governed, shaped, form, and developed by God. When we let something that is not of God dictate our thoughts and emotions, then we lose the worry battle. So, what are we supposed to do? Pray! Pray about everything. Our first response to worry is to pray. Tell God what you need. Thank God. We can’t let worry overtake our prayer life. Prayer will not cause you to worry more. But the lack of prayer can increase worry. What’s the outcome of praying through our worry? To be clear, this isn’t a magic prayer that automatically makes your worry go away. But the more you pray, the closer you will draw into God. The closer you draw into God, then the more you experience His peace. And then the joy of the Lord will be so much louder. Joy is louder when God is closer. Sometimes we just need God more than we need His answer.
4) Avoid thinking about bad things. (vs. 8-9) The other step we can do with our lack of joy and our worry is to replace them with good things – things from God. Be holy in EVERYTHING you do. When it comes to holiness, what room are you living in? Imagine one room is holiness and the other room is unholiness. There is one door between the two rooms. Which room are you living in? If you are in the room of unholiness, get out! If you are living in the holiness room, how wide are you leaving the door open between the two rooms? Don’t let that door stay opened even a crack. Shut it and lock it!
Stay true to the Lord and find the joy that exists in that place. Don’t let spiritual potholes take you out of the game. Stay near to Jesus and hear just how loud joy can be!
This ten week series provides a survey of the book of Philippians. One of the key messages of Paul’s letter to the church of Philippi focuses on discovering a true joy in the Lord, because Jesus’s kingdom surpasses the circumstances of life.