Joy in Sharing
When we find ourselves in difficult circumstances, it is easier to surrender to cynicism than to fight for joy. As humans, we tend to allow negativity to be the first thoughts in our head and direct our path during tough times. In the bible, Paul recognized this fact and wrote to the church in Philippi to live out lives that are obedient to God and uplift one another through encouragement. Join us as we journey through the book of Philippians and study Paul’s letter to the church in our Summer Teaching Series Priority Mail.
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All of us go through difficult situations in our lives. We have expectations of how we think things will go and they don’t always work out the way we plan. We can feel weighed down with relationships, finances, addictions, health issues, or losing ones we loved. Many times these situations can leave us feeling upset, disappointed, or angry. Paul went through many of these failed expectations and yet his response was joy because “…Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18) Do you rejoice in difficult situations? Is that your natural inclination?
Paul says that, as Christians, our old self has been crucified with Christ so that it is no longer we who live, but Christ in us (Galatians 2:20). A Christian life is one that is not lived for self, but for Christ in us. That doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy this world that God has created, but that we are not the center of it. What does it look like to not focus on the self, but looking outside of your own desires?
The key to finding joy is to realize where it comes from – God. It means that, as Paul says, “I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:23) The joy we receive in life is not from our circumstances, but from the joy that flows from Christ in us. It is because of his promises, his perfections, his holiness, and his love. None of these things can ever be taken from us, so no matter what the circumstances, we can still have joy. To experience this joy we need to believe in Christ as our Lord and put our faith in him daily. How can you use your suffering to experience joy because the Good News of Jesus Christ is continuing to be shared? How can suffering be used to bring God glory and give you the peace and joy of your Father in heaven?
Additional scripture to study: Philippians 1:12-18, Mark 8:35, Galatians 2:20, 1 Corinthians 9:23