Summary: Philippians is commonly called the "Book of Joy". But Paul presents several thieves that try to rob us of our joy. The second thief: "Difficult People."



A PREACHER told about his nine-year-old daughter who one day JUMPED off the SCHOOL BUS as it stopped in front of her house and SLAMMED her way through the front door. She MARCHED up the stairs into her ROOM and again SLAMMED the DOOR. All the time she was muttering under her breath: “People—people—people—PEOPLE!”

He went to her DOOR and knocked softly. “Sweetheart, may I come in?” “NO!” she replied. He tried again, but she said even more DEFIANTLY, “NO!”

“Why can’t I come in?” he asked. “Because you’re a PEOPLE.”

A. Sadly, one of the most common JOY STEALERS is PEOPLE!

1. All of us, at one time or another, have had our JOY THREATENED because of PEOPLE—what they ARE, what they SAY, and what they DO.

2. And, UNDOUBTEDLY, we have done our SHARE of JOY STEALING by the way ARE, our ATTITUDES, what we SAY and DO—it works both ways.


People PROBLEMS are probably one of the worst kind of PROBLEMS to have! PROBLEMS with FAMILY, FRIENDS, CO-WORKERS, FELLOW-CHRISTIANS, can really GET YOU DOWN and ROB your JOY. When we have PEOPLE PROBLEMS, we often deal with it by HIDING from and AVOIDING the PEOPLE as much as POSSIBLE.

But as Christians, we cannot isolate ourselves from PEOPLE and still live to GLORIFY Christ. We are the “LIGHT of the world and the SALT of the earth.” But sometimes the LIGHT grows DIM and the SALT becomes BITTER because of other PEOPLE.

B. In the book of Philippians, the apostle Paul talks about his own STRUGGLE with PEOPLE and the STRUGGLE that the Philippian church was having because of PEOPLE PROBLEMS.

1. Yet Paul wants the Christians at Philippi to understand, that in spite of PEOPLE PROBLEMS they can still have JOY.

2. Again, the key verse in Philippians is found in chapter 4:4: “REJOICE in the Lord always. I will say

it again. REJOICE!”


Christianity is not the GLOOM and DOOM that so many people in the world think. Christians should be the most JOYFUL people on earth. Jesus came to SAVE us. The Holy Spirit LIVES within us. We are on our way to HEAVEN. We have every reason to REJOICE!

3. But Satan does not want us to be JOYFUL people, because he knows if he can keep Christians looking

MISERABLE then no one will want any part of Christ and the life He offers.


So Satan has sent out THIEVES in an attempt to ROB us of our JOY. Last week we saw how he uses CIRCUMSTANCES to STEAL our JOY and today we’ll see how he uses PEOPLE.

But if you want to DEFEAT Satan at his own GAME, this is how to do it. No matter who the PEOPLE are, no matter what they SAY, no matter what they DO, just LOVE ONE ANOTHER!



A four-year-old was at the PEDIATRICIAN for a CHECK UP. As the DOCTOR looked down her EARS with an OTOSCOPE, he asked, “Do you think I’ll find Big Bird in here?” The little girl just sat there SILENT.

Next, the doctor took a TONGUE DEPRESSOR and looked down her THROAT. He asked, “Do you think I’ll find the Cookie Monster down there?” This time the little girl just shrugged her SHOULDERS.

Then the doctor put a STETHOSCOPE to her chest. As he listened to her HEARTBEAT, he asked, “Do you think I’ll hear Elmo in there?” “Oh, no!” the little girl replied shaking her head. “Jesus is in my HEART. . . . Elmo’s on my UNDERWEAR.”


There is a children’s song that says: “I’ve got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart to stay.” The JOY that is in our HEARTS is because of Jesus Christ. And He is there to STAY! Now Satan doesn’t want Him there, and he tries to GET RID of Him. And one way that Satan tries to GET RID of Jesus is by STEALING the JOY from our HEARTS. And if he can’t do it with DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES, then he will use PEOPLE—sometimes GOOD PEOPLE—in an EFFORT to ROB our JOY.


A. Misunderstanding

1. Have you ever been MISUNDERSTOOD?


Someone overhears you mentioning her NAME while on the TELEPHONE, and now thinks that you spoke BADLY about her in some way.

Each year you and your sister-in-law send a beautiful bouquet of FLOWERS to each other on your BIRTHDAYS. You received your BOUQUET on your birthday in April, but when your sister-in-law’s birthday rolled around in August you simply forgot to SEND the FLOWERS.

Now she refuses to SPEAK to you.

2. We’ve all been MISUNDERSTOOD—no big deal, but what often THREATENS our JOY is when we try to CLEAR-UP the MISUNDERSTANDING.

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