Summary: This sermon looks at five essentials for joy: 1. Look at life from God’s PERSPECTIVE 2. Live life with God’s PRIORTIES 3. Seek God’s POWER to live on 4. Live a life of God’s HOPE 5. Find God’s PURPOSE for your life
How To Have Joy In Every Situation
Most people don’t really enjoy life – they endure life. Most people go through life with no real sense of joy. Life becomes a series chores and obstacles that one must go through – just to endure it. There is no happiness – there is no joy. The dreams of – “If only” fill their minds. You know what I am talking about. “If only” I could find the right job. “If only” I could find the right husband. “If only” I could win the lottery. “If only”…”If only”… “If only.” I wonder – is it possible for me to have joy – even if – I don’t have the “If onlys.”
Many people believe that happiness is bases on perfect circumstances. If everything is perfect – I will be happy. Perhaps there is some truth in that – we like to find ourselves in good situations and circumstances – but having joy should just not be based on perfect circumstances. You see – happiness is external – joy is internal.
Paul talks a lot about joy in the book of Philippians – even though the circumstances he found himself in were rough – he still spoke about joy. The background of our focal verse today is that Paul for the last four years has been in miserable conditions. His circumstances were far from perfect. He’s spent two years in prison in Caesarea on a trumped up charge. He is then put on a ship to go to Rome to appear before Nero who is NOT known for his nice treatment of Christians. On the way he’s shipwrecked, stranded on an island, bitten by a poisonous snake, waits the winter there, continues on to Rome, spends another two years in prison awaiting trial to be executed. During this two year period in Rome he is chained to a guard for 24 hours a day. He has absolutely no privacy. Every four hours he gets a new guard. Follow along with me as I read our focal verse:
“But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from good will: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.” Philippians 1:12-26 (NKJV)
How is Paul able to show – joy? What’s Paul’s secret? How does he stay positive in prison? How does he triumph over his troubles? How does he delight in his difficulties? How does he stay so happy – positive – joyful – in spite of the fact that everything has NOT turned out the way he planned it. Our passage of scripture today gives us five secrets of living a joyful life.
FIVE ESSENTIALS FOR JOYFUL LIVING
Here is the first essential:
I. Look at life from God’s PERSPECTIVE
Folks here is a fact: Everyone of you has problems.
Some of your problems are big. Some of your problems are small. But they are still problems – just the same. You brought them in here with you today and some of you are finding it hard to worship because of your problems.