Series: "CHOOSE JOY" • Pastor David R. Stokes
Today: “The Book People”
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!
2 I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mindin the Lord. 3 Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
As we finish this series, I hope we all now know the difference between “happiness” and JOY. Happiness tends to depend on what is happening to us, or around us. Joy is something that works within us—in our hearts—no matter what. I’ve been hearing a lot of discussion throughout this series—as people seem to be taking this subject to heart in a personal and powerful way. Amen! One of the best things we can manifest before a watching world is true joy in the face of negative circumstances. And it is all a matter of choice. We activate the joy-releasing power of the Holy Spirit when we believe God’s power and promises and ignore anything to the contrary.
In the final section of the Book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul thanks his friends for helping him financially, while at the same time reminding them that he could “take it or leave.” It’s not that he was ungrateful—certainly not. It’s just that he had grown to the place where he no longer worried about material things. He had learned to be CONTENT. Contentment simply means: “ENOUGH.” Covetousness and lust always cry for “MORE.” The difference between those two concepts reveals the difference between living godly or worldly.
Finally, as we conclude this study, let me share a wonderful quote from Kay Warren (wife of Pastor Rick Warren) about CHOOSING JOY:
“Happiness is completely connected to what’s happening to us on the external circumstances of our lives. Joy is unrelated to what’s happening to us on the outside. If joy is only tied to our external circumstances we’re all lost; very few of us ever experience joy. But when joy is turned around and has my definition of joy — it’s the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright and the determined choice to praise him in all things. That has nothing to do with what circumstances are happening in my life. It has everything to do with what I believe about God, what I believe he can do on the inside of me, and my choice then in response to what’s happening to me is to give praise back to him. That becomes something that’s within my control. I can’t always control what’s happening to me on the outside, but I can most definitely control my response, what I do with it, what I believe about God, what I believe he’s going to do about it. So then joy actually becomes something I can attain.” -- Kay Warren
Do I crave more things, money, power, or pleasure?
Do I have enough of everything?
How does being thankful help us become more contented?