I have fished from a kayak, canoe, Jet Ski, little two-man pontoon boat, Ranger bass boat, charter boat off the gulf coast, while wading in a small stream, standing of the bank of Lake Balboa, and at a wilderness Canadian lake. Enjoying fishing didn’t depend on the kind of boat.
Can I have joy no matter the circumstances? We have all seen a person in a great situation but who has a terrible disposition. We have also witnessed someone with terrible circumstances but has a great disposition.
Even though he was chained to a Roman guard twenty-four hours a day and had lost his freedom and privacy, the apostle Paul had a lifestyle of joy no matter what.
How? He habitually lived seeing life from God’s perspective!
First, joy resulted when he looked through his circumstances and saw the results of what God was doing. “What has happened to me has served to advance the gospel,” Philippians 1:12. Amazingly, many guards he was chained to for two years became Christians, who told others, and even some of Caesar’s family believed in Christ. Also many of the believers were encouraged to be bold in their witness too.
Second, joy resulted when he looked beyond picky personalities and saw the plan God was carrying out. “Christ is proclaimed and I rejoice,” Philippians 1:18. Some folks didn’t like his preaching. Some people don’t like my preaching either. As long as Christ is proclaimed, Paul’s joy didn’t depend on people liking him. You do not have to have people’s permission or approval to be joyful!
Third, joy resulted when he looked past the temporary problem to his eternal purpose. Paul wrote the most joyful book in the Bible and said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,” Philippians 1:21. He was facing execution. But he had a purpose in living and purpose in dying. Both brought him such joy, he didn’t know what to choose. “For me to live is __________.” What do you put in the blank? When you die will it be gain or loss?
Can good really come from bad circumstances? Can joy actually be yours no matter what? Look at the cross where Jesus died for you. Bleak circumstances of unimaginable suffering, ridiculing personalities flinging obscenities at him, and death with all its finality, yet he saw past all of this to Sunday, resurrection day, the victory, and in this he had joy because he did it for you.
Our source of joy is “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross.” Hebrews 12:2
Want to know more? This Sunday at 9am, I will continue the series, “HOW TO IN-JOY LIFE: Simple, but Difficult Steps.”
Find us at BalboaBaptist.Church. Our mission is to bring all people to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and help them grow toward Christian maturity through love, prayer, worship, teaching, and service.