I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12
You will make known to me the path of life you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.Psalm 16:11
Rejoice in the Lord always again I say rejoicePhilippians 4: 4
Discussion: Can we really rejoice always?
Satan does many clever things to hurt us which causes us to be unhappy. But as soon as we can regain focus on God, joy will return.
According to Webster the word “joy” means: “Emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of something good.”
Happiness is transitory, favored by windfall or prosperity. Happiness is temporary. Joy is actually an attitude that sustains us in long haul of life.
The Joy Muggers
Conditions in life
Most of us will admit that when our conditions in which we find ourselves turns bitter, our joy tends to decline. When most of us lose our jobs, we tend to lose our sense of safety or security.
Some rob us of our joy by chance. They say or do something without any real thought about how that may affect us. They may not even be aware of what they did or the cruel things that they have said.
Some purposefully steal our joy. They disregard us, or our fellow employees gossip about us. There are the new media flunkies that tear other people down. Even those we are married to can hurt us deeply and leave us feeling unsafe in our relationships. Spouses can give us unnecessary jabs or barbs that hurt us.
Note: People can only give away what they have. When they are filled with painful unfinished business, they tend to give that away also.
- Things we lose: simple personal things that we may leave in airports or hotel rooms.
- When people steal our identity and property
- Things around the house get broken
- Poverty or inability to earn a living.
Burdens, circumstances that way heavy on us. Worry is nothing more than ruminating about all the possibilities. (The word rumination means “to chew one’s cud”) 95% of what we worry about doesn’t happen anyway. It may be about not trusting God with the important parts of our lives.
Read James 1: 2-12
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.James 1:2-12
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
When things and circumstances take the place of Joy
Be a single-minded person. James 1:8 says that a “double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” This can lead to being depressed or anxiety prone.
- Double minded means pushed in different directions.
- Christians are often upset by circumstances because they don’t cultivate a single mindedness.
- Paul’s single-minded devotion was for Christ. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
- Until you settle the issue of single-mindedness, joy will never be yours.
Do nothing from selfish or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself.Philippians 2:3
Remember the story about the turtle who wanted to come to Florida for the winter? He knew he could never walk all the way, so he talked to the two ducks who shared his pond. They were better equipped for long-distance travel. He found a piece of stout cord and persuaded each of them to take an end while he, with his strong jaws, held on in the center. It was a pleasant flight and everything was going as planned until someone on the ground looked up and said with admiration. “Who in the world thought of that?” Unable to restrain the impulse to take full credit for the idea, the turtle opened his mouth to say, “I did.” The turtle couldn’t eliminate vain conceit, and therefore, he was eliminated.
A Spiritual Mindedness
18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus ChristPhilippians 3:18-20
The more you desire to possess things the more things will possess you. The idea, “I will make money at all costs”, puts a person in prison.
The spiritual mind doesn’t own anything, but manages things while on earth, thereby keeping the focus heaven bound, with an eternal perspective.
People who know me well, know that I have a rather perverted sense of humor. I told my son that when I die, at my funeral, I want an empty U-haul trailer on the end of my hearse, with a sign that reads, “I’m taking it with me”. Of course, after laughing, I want people to simply acknowledge, that you cannot take it with you.
With that in mind; if God asked you for everything you have, would you deny it to him? Would you say yes? Spiritual mindedness and great joy are worth more than the false treasures that the world has to offer.
Great Joy is the result of trusting God to work out all the details.
A Secure Mind
The worrying mind is an insecure untrusting mind.
Worrying is actually the combination of wrong thinking and as a result, wrong feeling, about circumstances, people and things in their lives.
So, if we have a single mind, a mind submissive to God and a spiritual mind then we can have a safe enduring secure mind.
A secure mind experiences a lack of anxiety or worry. This is the result of being secure in the knowledge that we are safe in Christ because Satan and the worries of this world cannot have their way in us.
Just in case…Paul gives us these concepts to assist us in having a secure mind.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6 & 7
God listens to our words of worship and gratitude when we pray. It is our attitude that he hears. It is our faith that he sees.
Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.Philippians 4: 8
There is an old saying “Garbage in, Garbage out”: We need to fill our minds with healthy ideas and thoughts.
The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me practice these things; and the God of peace shall be with you.Philippians 4:9
In conclusion, consider these concepts.
Be consistent with your underlying principles (foundational beliefs). Integrity is the difference between what you say and what you do.
When we consistently practice our faith, the result is the Peace of God.
Claim the promise in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and a sound mind.”
Happiness is fleeting but joy is lasting.
In other words, when God is influencing your thought life, you will be able to replace the anxiety in your life with JOY.
Cook, Andy. (January 1, 2014). Sermon: An encouragement for us to get along-Philippians 2.
Life Way. Retrieved from https://www.lifeway.com/en/articles/sermon-encouragement relationships-humble-attitude-philippians-2
New International Bible