Summary: Part 7 of study of Philippians

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Bible Teaching Ministry of


Thomasville, NC

Dr. Russell Brownworth, Pastor

"But one thing I do; Forgetting what is behind..."

Philippians 3.13b


If there is one impossibility that exists, it is for joy to be present when you have nothing settled in life. This is when you don’t know where you’re going, or your purpose -- when you have no goals or settled agenda. The old saw is still valid, if you have no target you will surely hit just that - no target!

In ancient Roman history we find Julius Caesar employing the principle of "settled purpose." When he landed on the shores of Britain with his legions, he took a bold and decisive step to ensure the success of his military venture. He ordered his men to halt on the edge of the cliffs of Dover, and commanded them to look down at the water below. To their amazement they saw every ship upon which they’d crossed the channel engulfed in flames. Caesar had deliberately cut off any means of retreat. There was no other choice but to plunge into the battle, and conquer. That is exactly what happened.

There are issues in our lives that must be settled. Especially if we are to have any peace, joy and meaning.


Christians (in particular) should be people of joyful disposi-tion. How’s your joy level? Would someone describe you as a person who exhibits joy? Or are you easily thrown off track? An English-man, a Frenchman and a Russian were discussing joy, back before the fall of communism. Said the Englishman, "Real joy is when you return home tired after work and find your slippers warming by the fire." The Frenchman replied, "You English have no romance; joy is a beautiful woman and a great meal at a fine restaurant." Said the Russian, "You are both wrong. True joy is when you are at home in bed at 4 a.m. and the hammering at the door is the secret police, who yell at you ’Ivan Ivanovitch, you are under arrest.’ And you yell back, ’Sorry, Ivan Ivanovitch lives next door.’ Now THAT’S real joy!"

What can we do to have the disposition of joy? It is a matter of a correct understanding that there is nothing in life that can separate us from God’s love (Ro 8.35-39). Some years ago Mrs. Birch Bayh was a guest on Robert Schuller’s TV ministry. She shared how each day was a wonderful and rich experience. You would expect to hear of the good fortunes that have come to her. Instead, Mrs. Bayh shared how the richness of her life in Christ flowed out of the tragedies that have marked her path.

She had a terribly disfiguring accident as a girl; her mother died tragically, and her father committed murder, then suicide. Her husband and herself were in an airplane crash, and then, at last, her own incurable cancer. What’s she got to be joyful about? Good question! Her answer is that out of all of this she discovered what a precious commodity this one day is, and how it beckons to be lived to the fullest.

What a contrast to how we sometimes just "get through the day" in our routines. Is your disposition settled?

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