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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Joy No Matter What

In review of Philippians 4:6 it says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

Bottom Line:
Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. With a thankful heart tell God what you need.

What this means to me:
I am not to worry about anything. Instead, I am to pray about everything. I am to tell him what I need and thank him for all he has done.

Worry will zap the joy out of life and life without joy can be overwhelming, overburdened, and oppressive. The more joy we have, the more productive we can be. In the book of Philippians, Paul uses the word “joy” 16 times. Interestingly enough, Paul didn’t write this book when he was on vacation in the Caribbean. He wrote this while he was in prison in Rome, waiting to be executed. In the darkest days of his life, he wrote the most positive book in the Bible.

In Philippians, Paul offers us six joy-builders that will help diffuse discouragement and lift depression. Here’s an acrostic; JOYFUL. Today, I’ll look at the first three.

J indicates a jettison of all regrets about the past. “Jettison” means “to abandon as worthless, to discard, to eliminate, to get rid of.” Paul says if you want to enjoy life, there are some things you’ve got to get rid of because they will wear you down and overburden your life. The Bible says to forget your regrets, because that's what God does; he chooses to forgive your mistakes once they're confessed. The starting point of joy is letting go of the past. Philippians 3:13 says, “One thing I do is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead” (GN).

O is for omitting all worries about the future. If you’re going to enjoy the present, you must omit all worries about the future. Worry is the greatest killjoy of them all. Its hard to be joyful and worried at the same time. Paul’s antidote are these verses: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). So I can either worry or I can pray.

Y is for yielding myself to God's purpose. If I’m just drifting, if I don’t know where you came from or where I’m going or why I’m here, then I’m not going to have any joy. I need to live for a cause that is greater than myself. Living for that greater cause is what brings joy. Living for myself will not bring joy.

Even when Paul had literally lost everything, there was one thing that could not be taken away from him; his purpose in life. Paul says in Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (NIV).

In order to have a joy-filled life, I need to get in line with God’s purpose for my life. When I begin to live the purpose for which I’m made, life will make sense, and joy will be more easily found.