Series: "CHOOSE JOY" • Pastor David R. Stokes
Today: “No Matter What”
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
14 Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. 15 Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; 16 for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. 17 Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. 18 I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. 19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
21 Greet all God’s people in Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with mesend greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household. 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.
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?