I recently picked up a bible study on the books of Philippians and Colossians by Kay Arthur and David Lawson. Until very recently, I had never been one to study the bible. It took too much time and too much mental stamina for my liking. And then God ever so gently reminded me that if I’m going to spread the Good News, I better know what news I’m sharing.
I chose to start with Philippians and Colossians because my heart’s desire has been to know God, intimately, passionately and deeply. Memorizing bible verses had become wearisome and I needed more fuel to regain my endurance for Christ. On the back cover of the book, in all capitalized letters, it read, “DO YOU EVER FEEL SPIRITUALLY CONFUSED?”. Um, well, yes, yes I do. And the one thing I have felt the most confused about? If I love God so much, and know that He is good, why do I struggle with joy?
I believe God placed this study book in my hands because He wanted me to experience joy like Paul’s. Paul was in prison as he penned the book of Philippians (and Colossians). Prison! If I were to be in prison, I’ll admit writing a book of how much I loved God, and Gods people would be a little tricky. Not because there may be a lack of paper and pens, but because my heart probably wouldn’t be in the right place. What made Paul able to sit in a prison cell and joyfully and humbly write of his love of God and His people?
Grab your bibles so that you can read along and take notes 🙂
9 reasons why Paul had so much joy:
- He was confident that God would finish the work He started (Phil 1:6)
- He knew Gods provision was for his deliverance (Phil 1:19)
- He knew his placement in prison was to fulfills Gods good purpose (Phil 2:13)
- He never grumbled (Phil 2:14)
- He focused on the future instead of the past (Phil 3:13)
- He knew his citizenship was in Heaven (Phil 3:20)
- He was not anxious and thought on those things that are pure, lovely, and admirable (Phil 4:6-8)
- He learned to be content no matter his situation (Phil 4:11)
- He knew that he could do all things through Jesus (Phil 4:13)
So many women I know feel burnt out, overwhelmed, confused…depressed. I’ll admit I have had my fair share of the above emotions. I’ve received countless prayers, attended multiple therapy sessions, and spent many days wondering how I’d be able to pull myself together. All along my help, my tool for emotional success, was in my home. My bible. You see, what we fill our minds with pours out from our hearts (see Proverbs 4:23). As Lysa Terkeurst once said, “Where you stare, so you will steer.” Paul knew this. He knew he could choose to stare at the prison walls and be consumed with fear and depression, or he could stare towards heaven and be filled with peace and joy. When it comes to our attitudes and beliefs about our lives, it is our choice where we plant our steps and mark our directions.
Friends, life is chaotic at times. It is devastating in moments, sometimes for seasons. It’s easy to wallow in self-pity and throw up our hands and scream, “Why me, God?!”. But imagine if you could be content through all tribulations, if your confidence was in the Lords plan, or what if you chose to throw out praise instead of complaints? I believe that not only would your heart change, but your circumstances just might as well. Today, choose Joy like Paul did and never look back.
Today’s bible verse-
Philippians 4:6-7: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious for anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.