Summary: How does my perspective affect my attitude? How is suffering benficial to my Christian walk?



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The Fight for Joy

He's there because he's been lied about by the Jews (see everywhere in Acts), held in jail by a crooked politician hoping to get richer from a bribe to let Paul loose, (Acts 24:22-26), left in prison for a political favor (Acts 24:27), called "Crazy" by the judge of his trial, had to appeal to Caesar... and then was shipwrecked on the way... now he's on house arrest, paying for his own prison, can't move around...

And you read this letter and he uses the word "joy" or "rejoice" 16 times in 4 chapters.

Here's my question:


I am not down on Christians who get depressed, OK? If you do, you're in good company (Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, and more).

But one thing I know to be true is this: JOY in the Christian life is not an ever-springing well that never leaves... it must be fought for, it must be contended for, it must be guarded, it must be cultivated.

And here's what I want to do in this book:

I want to point out to you, Keys to Fighting for Joy. Perspectives, mindset shifts, habits of thought that lead to joy.

Joy does not happen around you, it happens within you -- in your heart and between your ears.

Paul has discovered this -- the secret to joy, and he's wining the fight.

He's fighting for joy. You will have to fight for the perspectives that give joy.

Where the mind of man goes, the man follows.

"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he..." says proverbs.

Last week:

Last week: Perspective# 1. I am not alone, and I am thankful for the people I'm with.

"your partnership in the Gospel"

They had sent him a gift, and he's writing to thank them (we'll discuss this more later)

And it just reminds him "I'm not alone!"

Now, let's read to see if we can see the next perspective Paul has and has fought for that brings joy:

Philippians 1:12 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.

13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.

Throughout the whole palace guard -- the Praetorians. If you know history, these guys were the handpicked bodyguards of the Emperor, fierce warriors, and some of them were probably retired now and living in Philippi...

These tough, battle-hardened, Roman influencers... who literally assassinated and set up emperors...

The whole palace guard knows.

I hurt, but Jesus is lifted up.

14 Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.

Pain well taken is a source of courage in others.

I hurt, but you are helped.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill.

16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel.

17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

He recognizes this - again, why is this guy not depressed?

18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.

What a man!

What a perspective!

I hurt, but Jesus is lifted up.

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

19 for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.

I hurt, but Jesus is lifted up.

20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

And there it is.

If you can say that, feelings of happiness may come and go, but joy will be yours. There may be highs and lows, but the deep joy will remain, if you can fight for this perspective.

I hurt, but Jesus is lifted up.

“Suffering in the path of Christian obedience, with joy - because the steadfast love of the Lord is better than life (Psalm 63:3) - is the clearest display of the worth of God in our lives. Therefore, faith-filled suffering is essential in this world for the most intense, authentic worship. When we are most satisfied with God in suffering, he will be most glorified in us in worship. Our problem is not styles of music. Our problem is styles of life. When we embrace more affliction for the worth of Christ, there will be more fruit in the worship of Christ.” - John Piper

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