I recently had the opportunity to speak at Greater Life Church in Boardman, OH for my friend, Keith and Emily Bruner. I absolutely love what God is doing in and through their church! I spoke on how to live with joy in the midst of any circumstance. The message is compiled of a few lessons that I learned from Paul in the book of Philippians. I hope that this message will help you live a life full of joy regardless of what you are currently going through.
You can listen to the message below. If you would like to listen to other messages I’ve done or subscribe to my message podcast, click here.
I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret to living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. ~Philippians 4:11
Key Nugget: My joy is not determined by what happens to me but what Christ is doing in and through me!
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” -Philippians 4:4
I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.[c] 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?30 If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. 31 God, the Father of our Lord Jesus, who is worthy of eternal praise, knows I am not lying. 32 When I was in Damascus, the governor under King Aretas kept guards at the city gates to catch me. 33 I had to be lowered in a basket through a window in the city wall to escape from him. I Corinthians 11:23-32 . . . Went on to talk about his thorn in the flesh: 12:8-10 -8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 11:23-32
Philippians 4:11 – I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret to living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
Philippians 3:17 – Pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example.
How to Experience God’s Joy in the Midst of Any Prison Cell
1.) Paul had a Purpose that was Bigger than Himself
Philippians 1:20-22 – I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die. For to me, living means living for Christ and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do more fruitful work for Christ.
12 And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters,[c] that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. 13 For everyone here, including the whole palace guard,[d]knows that I am in chains because of Christ. 14 And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers[e] here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message[f] without fear.-Philippians 1:12-14
There is a purpose in your prison! Paul’s purpose went beyond his prison walls! Paul saw purpose in his prison:
It helped spread the Good news
Everyone knew he was in prison for Christ, they were watching how he would respond
People are watching you and how you react to your prison!
Because of how Paul responded Christians grew bolder about proclaiming the Word
Phil 2:20 -21 – I have no one else like Timothy who genuinely cares about your welfare. All the others care only about themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ.
The secret to live is to give your life away. -Judy Steidel
The way out of your prison may be to start giving your life away! Start serving somewhere! What are you waiting for? If you want to live the joy-filled life God intended for you, start living to advance God purposes. Focus on Him. Joy will come!
2.) Paul Knew that God Cared about him 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for ALL He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
I Peter 5:7 – Cast ALL Your cares on Him, because He cares for you!
He cares about the small things just as much as the big! God cares about what I care about! God cares about me!
3.) Paul was filled with Gratitude
4:6 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for ALL He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
When is the last time you’ve thanked God for everything He has done? Regardless of what you’ve been through or are going through, there is always something to be grateful for! Joy is always the result of being grateful!
4.) For Paul, Christ was Enough Phil: 3:3 – We put NO confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more… v.7 I once thought these things were so very important and valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus more Lord. For His sake, I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with Him.
We search for joy in acquiring possessions, visiting places, or seeing people. But none of these can provide lasting joy.
The joy of the Lord is my strength! -Nehemiah 8:10 When we don’t have joy in our lives, we become paralyzed. We have an enemy that comes to steal, kill, and destroy our joy. When we have joy in our lives, we become an unstoppable force for the Kingdom of God!
My joy is not determined by what happens to me but what Christ is doing in and through me!
Joy is the result of serving a purpose bigger than yourself
Joy is the result of knowing God cares about you
Joy is the result of being grateful for everything God has done
Joy is the result of Christ being enough
4:11 – I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret to living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.
With God, You can get to a point where you can be in any prison cell that life can throw you in and be completely full of joy.
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