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The Secret of Joy
In the year 1900 a survey asked, "What must you have to be happy?"
Results showed 72 answers.
The same survey was taken among the same size sampling in 1950.
Results showed 496 answers.
I wonder how many results there would be today?
Our world is in a mad pursuit of happiness. Just go to the bookstore and look at all the books on fulfillment and finding the good life.
It's not an improper goal, but we need to raise the bar a bit. We need to get back to the Bible, and learn how to find real joy.
Happiness is based on external happenings [happenstance / circumstances]
Joy is internal and abiding, and rooted deeply.
Most seek their fulfillment in people, places, and things.
People - If only I could have a certain relationship, or be accepted by the right crowd, then I could be happy.
Now, it's important to have the right kinds of friends, or to marry the right person, but people are not a permanent source of happiness.
ill.--the prominent theme of love songs today is, "My life is worthless/meaningless/has no significance without you"
This statement should be made about none other than Jesus our Savior! Your life can be significant and full of joy and meaning even if you have no one apart from Christ.
ill.--Paul teaches us in 1 Cor. 7 that even if you go your whole life unmarried, you are not a second class Christian or an incomplete person. This is because we are complete in Christ!
People change, people leave, and people die.
How about things?
"If only I had some things that others have, then I could be happy."
ill.--Nightline's Ted Koppel confronted Tammy Fay Baker about her lavish spending and she said, "When I am depressed, spending is my therapy. Buying things makes me happy."
What an awful message to send to the lost world!
Things lose their luster, and you lose the joy. There's always a newer model car, a great gadget invented ... and do you have your iPhone 13 yet?
The Bible says that all this material world will one day go up in flame!
How about places?
If I could live in that area or that house or have that job, then I could be happy. And maybe I'd be happy in another church, I mean, I've been here for a few years already and it's old now!
These people never find happiness in places. Do you know why? Because everywhere they go they take themselves with them! It's an internal problem.
v. 22 The world didn't give us our joy and the world cannot take it away. Places can't, people can't, nothing can!
Let's go to Philippians 4
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Paul wasn't laying on a beach when he wrote this, no one was fanning him with a palm branch or feeding him grapes. He was in a dungeon.
"Yeah but, he hasn't been thru what I've been thru." You're right, he went thru much worse! His back was bleeding and covered in scars from 5 times being beaten with 39 lashes. 3 times with a stick. He had been stoned, shipwrecked, robbed, betrayed, and was mocked and maligned by most of his world.
This guy says he is rejoicing in the Lord, and I can listen to a guy like this. He has earned credibility!
What characteristic does he have, that may reveal the secret to joy?
A lack of joy and selfishness seem to go hand in hand. Self-centered people, even if they are saved, are joyless.
Live for Christ, serve others, and walk in joy!
ill.--little boy and his sister were sharing a rocking horse, and it was tight. He said, "If one of us would get off, there would be more room for me."
Philippians 1 now...
vv. 1-8 [emphasize 'you' all 9 times]
If we today were writing a letter from prison, we wouldn't be saying 'you' very much. The prominent pronoun would be 'I'!
"I can't believe this is happening to me! I can't stand this place, this food, because I am innocent!" Incidentally, we wouldn't have any joy in that place. Paul did.
"I have you in my thoughts, in my prayers, and in my heart."
"I have you in my thoughts"
v. 3b 'every remembrance of you'
What do people think about when they remember 'you'?
Just thinking of certain people evokes feelings from you. There's certain names I could bring up and you would feel anxiety, because of how you associate them with something in the past.
[bitterness because they wronged you / disgust because of what they did / jealousy because of what they have]