Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Today we continue our current series, “CHOOSE JOY.” We have already acknowledged “The Confidence of Joy” is found in Christ alone. With this confidence, we can “Defend our Joy.” When we have confident Joy, we can then have “Joy in our Relationships” and “Joy at Home.” Today we realize that we can have “Joy In Circumstances” no matter what is happening in our lives.
PROBLEMS: CHARLIE BROWN & THE RAIN CLOUD
- In the comic strip, Peanuts, a hapless Charlie Brown occasionally would be stalked by ominous rainclouds. Although the rest of the sky would shine bright and blue, poor Chuck would be stuck under a dark cloud, getting doused by its showers. While his friends and neighbors enjoyed the beauty of the day, a drenched Charlie Brown would be a scowling onlooker.
- The lingering raincloud seemed to suggest Charlie Brown’s inability to break clear from his problems. A melancholy character, he was prone to fits of worry and self-doubt. He concocted problems where none existed and fretted about those which were real.
- While we do not have to contend with perpetual drizzle like Charlie Brown, many of us live under the gloomy shadow of self-induced rainclouds. When life’s twists and turns work against us, we retreat into a rotten attitude or heap blame on our surroundings. By doing so, we neglect to deal with our problems and only add to our misery.
1) PROBLEMS ARE UNAVOIDABLE
Matthew 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
In his article, “Problems,” Dr. John Maxwell states, “For the aspiring leader, problems may be the most faithful companions of all. The road to success is seldom paved smoothly, and is oftentimes under construction. Potholes and barricades abound. At every bend in the journey, a leader’s vision must peer around obstacles and through formidable walls to foresee a positive future. Leaders who sidestep problems stunt their growth – they end up shallow and debilitated. The successful leader stares down problems and resourcefully addresses them (https://www.idisciple.org/post/problems).”
2) PROBLEMS GIVE US PERSPECTIVE
Philippians 1:12 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
You go to the Grand Canyon and you are viewing this magnificent view when all of a sudden a Winnebago parks right in front of your view.
YOU HAVE FOUR POSSIBLE REACTIONS:
- GRIPE AND GROAN (COMPLAIN) This is not fair
- I DESERVE THIS (PITY) – This is my lot in life
- Look at others who have a better view and GET JEALOUS (MAKE IT ABOUT OTHERS)
- MOVE YOUR CHAIR (TAKE ACTION) – Look beyond the motor home. You change your focus. You don’t pretend the circumstances are not there.
Although you have at least four possible reactions within your power, your actual response is up to YOU! It is up to us to TAKE ACTION and determine to CHOOSE JOY!
(Podcast: Saddleback Church: DriveTime Devotionals | Episode: Philippians: Week 1 Day 4)
3) PROBLEMS CAN PROPEL US FORWARD
- Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the JOY that was set before him ENDURED THE CROSS, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
- In the face of extreme pain and death Jesus allowed the cross to propel Him forward because He:
- A) LOOKED PAST CIRCUMSTANCES
- B) LOOKED PAST PERSONALITIES
- C) LOOKED PAST TEMPORAL
JOY IN CIRCUMSTANCES
- 2 Corinthians 11:24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26. In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
- 2 Corinthians 11:27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 32. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33. And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.
- Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36. As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
- Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
SIR JOHN FRANKLIN
- An interesting map is on display in the British Museum in London. It’s an old mariner’s chart, drawn in 1525, outlining the North American coastline and adjacent waters.
- HERE BE GIANTS
- HERE BE FIERY SCORPIONS
- HERE BE DRAGONS
- HERE BE GOD
CHOOSE JOY SERIES
- 1) THE CONFIDENCE OF JOY
- 2) THE DEFENSE OF JOY
- 3) JOY IN RELATIONSHIPS
- 4) JOY AT HOME
- 5) JOY IN CIRCUMSTANCES