Series: "CHOOSE JOY" • Pastor David R. Stokes
Today: "A POWERFUL CHOICE"
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.
It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.
All true followers of Jesus have supernatural potential, not just in heaven for all eternity—that’s locked in—but here and now. That’s right, we have access to a divine power source for effective and abundant living. Remember when David, in the twenty-third Psalm, said, “My cup runs over,”? Well, that same sense of overwhelming peace and exhilaration is at our fingertips. We just have to do one thing.
The great moments of divine empowerment in the Christian life begin with our choices. If we choose doubt, discouragement, fear, or anger, we experience weakness and depression. We find ourselves living according to the whims of the flesh. But if we, by faith, choose to affirm and embrace God’s best, we can experience what Jesus referred to as “life more abundantly.” (John 10:10)
It may sound simple—maybe even, trite or clichéd—but a change of heart and direction in our lives can begin with the decision to CHOOSE JOY. When we CHOOSE JOY, we are deciding, by faith, to be obedient to God. He commands us to CHOOSE JOY. And once we CHOOSE JOY, God then floods our human choice with His divine power (Galatians 5:22). But he will never force us to be joyful.
We have to CHOOSE JOY.
Do I spend too much time waiting for God to start something in my heart, when He wants me to take the first step?
What is the difference between JOY and HAPPINESS?
How does JOY make me a better Christian?