Happiness and Joy Philippians week 1
We get a sense of happiness when we buy a new car, we high-five and celebrate when our Sunday team scores a touch down, we feel exhilarated when we get invited to the cook-out, or when get that big bonus at work.
All those occurrences give us a smile, put a bounce in our step and make us think “life is good.”
But soon that new car is smelling of spilled milk and goldfish crumbs are ground into the floor boards.
The next Sunday our team looses and we hang our heads.
We see photos on social media of the most recent birthday party and realize our name was left off the invite list.
That bonus disappears in material things that get lost, broken, or stolen.
The happiness we felt is replaced with anger, frustration, and disappointment. The happiness we felt was fleeting.
Our happiness depended on the happening in our life and the circumstance of our happiness can be tossed out in an instant.
Joy runs deeper than happiness.
Joy is lasting, it never waivers, it never ends.
Joy is only a result of Christ.
Apart from Christ there is nothing in this world that can sustain any circumstance or situation.
Joy is the product of a confident assurance in God’s love for you.
Philippians is Paul’s letter of joy to the Christians in Philippi.
Paul is writing from captivity, he has been arrested and is awaiting trial, he is charged with simply being a Christ follower.
Let that sink in for a second.
Paul was not arrested for stealing, he was not arrested for hurting someone, not arrested for lying, or committing any act you or I deem criminal, he was arrested simply for telling people he believed in Jesus and they should too.
As he is imprisoned—awaiting trial—he writes to the people of Philippi.
He does not write to them to complain about his current situation, he is not trying to warn them that if they keep following Jesus that his situation could be their situation, no he writes to encourage them, to thank them, and to tell them to keep being a joyful light for Jesus no matter what happens.
Paul is in the trenches of darkness, he is awaiting a trial that could end his life and he still chooses to encourage others of the goodness and faithfulness of Christ.
Think about that—Paul is being placed in darkness BECAUSE of his belief in Christ and yet he is STILL showering people with his belief in Christ.
Do we do that friends?
When you are struggling in your job do you genuinely encourage the friend who just landed her dream position? Or do you sulk in jealousy?
When motherhood is defeating do you remember to pour out encouragement and gentleness? Or do you yell at your children and then take your frustration out on your spouse when he gets home?
When you have had a hard day with not a single bright spot do you come home and shower your family with kindness and love or do you sulk with a short temper and a demeanor of agitation?
When you are barely making ends meet are you thankful for the provisions you have or are you longingly looking over the fence at the abundance of your neighbor?
Do you realize that your current circumstances are not as important as what you do with them?
Do your reactions, attitude, and words reflect the joy of Christ or do they reflect the lack of happiness in your current happenings?
That is what Paul is trying to tell us, he is saying that what happens to us—the imprisonment that happened to him—can serve to only advance the message of Christ and the living gospel within us with how we react, how our attitudes come forth, and how we use it as an encouragement to others.
In Philippians 1:1:14 Paul’s overall message is telling us we must not rely on what we have or what we experience to bring us joy.
He is saying our joy comes from one source and that is our knowledge on confidence in the grace and peace of Christ and when we live reflecting the joy of Christ through difficult situations we are light to others.
How can you use the hardships in your life as a reflection of joy and encouragement to others?
Read Philippians 1:1:14 and comment anything that stood out to you.
Join me here through the month of September for more of our fall Philippians series.