Text: Philippians 4:1-9
Theme: Paul wanted us to have joy from the Lord and from those we disciple–as did he.
Key verses: “…stay true to the Lord… you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work…settle your disagreement” (v. 1-2). “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again–rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus…Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable…Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me–everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you” (v. 4-9).
What God said to me: Son, I love you. You have to know that. You are the apple of my eye. You are my child in whom I am well pleased because I am well pleased with Jesus your Savior. What I told you by the lake in Louisville two years ago still stands. Whatever you need, whatever you ask me for, I will grant it. There is nothing I won’t give to you if you ask me and trust me for it. Let nothing and no one steal your joy. Look at what Paul included in this chapter where he emphasizes joy: He talked about settling disagreements. Unresolved issues between Christians can steal their joy and can also affect the joy of their church and its leaders. Paul also said not to worry. Worry can definitely rob your joy. He said to think only on praise-worthy things. Your mind must be fixed on me and on holy things. Unholiness, sin, destroys a believer’s joy; it can erode your understanding and perspective of me and my ways. Sinful thoughts lead to sinful actions. Godly thoughts are slowly replaced with selfish thoughts, as you scheme to please yourself and those around you. Notice also that Paul associates joy with peace, making them almost interchangeable: “Be full of joy…experience God’s peace.” Those two desirable concepts have a symbiotic relationship. You got to have one to enjoy the other. Guard your joy. Protect your peace. Always have joy. And when your joy begins to wane or be threatened, pull in close to me and remember my promises to you. Don’t minister without joy. Don’t be content living without my peace that passes all understanding.
What I said to God: Wow, thank You so much for this powerful word to me today. You know just what my heart needs. You know I’ve allowed my joy to dissipate in the past several days. Like a leaky balloon, my joy and peace have slowly disappeared and been replaced with worry and stress. I lay those down today. I will not pick them back up. I will tell you everything I need, all my financial cares for our ministry and our family’s future I lay at your feet. You said to ask and I shall receive. You said my requests would be granted so that I can bear much fruit so the Father may be glorified in the Son. Lord, please weigh my motives now. Is there any wicked way in me? If not, then I trust and know confidently that what we need is already being granted to the glory of God! Thank You for your peace! It truly does make no human sense; however, in light of heaven and Your soon return, trusting You alone with my life and family and ministry makes perfect sense!