Summary: Although Paul was in prison, he remained "joyful." Paul warns us of five different "joy stealers" and offers ways in which to avoid them.
Phil. 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”
It is as much a command to "rejoice always," as it is to "not steal." An unhappy Christian is very unchristlike. Remember that the "Joy of the Lord is our strength."
Today we will discuss five things that will try to rob you of your joy. Remember that the Paul wrote the Book of Philippines under a death sentence in a Roman jail. Yet he would not stop rejoicing.
1. Circumstances created by Adversaries
(Phil 1:7) Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
Paul was in Romans bonds because of the hatred of others.
How did he remain joyful?
(Phil 1:12) But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel;
He knew that God was working out a plan for the salvation of others. He would behold things from an eternal view.
(Phil 2:4) Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
We can become our own biggest enemies. If we think we deserve better, we will soon become bitter.
How did Paul remain joyful?
(Phil 2:12) Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
We need to walk with "fear and trembling." Anything better than hell is better than we deserve.
(Phil 3:2,3) Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
Religion can be a horrible thing. Some of the most unhappy people I know are religious. They attend Church services that are akin to cheerless funerals for the dead.
How did Paul retain his happiness?
(Phil 3:10) That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
Christianity is about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. Seek him.
(Phil 3:19) Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.
When we are controlled by our fleshly desires, we will lose our joy. Sinful living brings about sorrow and death.
(Phil 3:16) Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
Holiness is happiness. A happy Christian establishes biblical guidelines for his life. These "rules" keep us within the framework of happiness.
(Phil 4:10 ) But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.
The people of Philippi were a giving people. Paul was writing them a "thank you" letter expressing his appreciation for an offering that had been taken up on his behalf.
Some people make a god out of their money. Their money becomes their god. Money cannot buy your happiness.
What did Paul suggest to us so that we might remain "joyful?"
(Phil 4:8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Happy people find God in everything. When we seek first the Kingdom of God, God adds to us things.
We need to place everything that we have into the ministry.
Paul knew how to abound and how to be abased. He was happy with or without money. Money did not make him happy, Christ did.
“Lord, help me to keep you always the very center of my joy.”