We have focused on THE JOY OF CHRIST, MY LIFE, as we have studied chapter one of Philippians. What have we discovered along the way? We have come to realize that THE SECRET OF LIVING IS THE SAME AS THE SECRET OF JOY; both revolve around Jesus Christ. In other words, the pursuit of happiness, the experience of joy lies in the cultivation of a Christ-centered, Christ-controlled life.
The joy of Christ, our life, becomes ours as we learn to live in accordance with God’s priorities, and as we learn, as Tim Hansel expresses it, to “celebrate our problems!” He writes, “If you have a pulse, you have problems. Whether those problems are as simple as a shoe coming apart or as complicated as a life coming apart, no one is unaffected by problems.”
Paul says, “I rejoice!”
Think a moment and identify the greatest problem that is confronting you. What is it? Hold that difficulty in mind as we consider together what we have learned from Paul. How can you apply these truths to YOUR problem?
CHOOSE TO PRAISE. The first and most important aspect of being able to solve a problem is your own attitude. Paul chose to celebrate his problems. “I rejoice, and I will rejoice!” God doesn’t ask us IF we will accept the problems of life; they are a reality. The only question we have to address is HOW we will confront them. Paul celebrated his challenges because he completely understood that as a child of God, there is no such thing as a problem without a gift in it. Whatever problems you are facing this day, will you CHOOSE to rejoice?
TRUST GOD. Philippians 1:19 gives us a glimpse of Paul’s faith: “Yes, and I will rejoice, FOR I KNOW that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. . .” Can you say with Paul, “I can trust, for I KNOW whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep all that I have committed unto Him against that day”? (2 Timothy 1:12) I can choose to respond, “I WILL TRUST because I know the one I have given my problem to.”
PRAY, and let others pray with and for you. Paul says, “I know that through your prayers – God will work.” In the front of my Grandmother Kann’s Bible she had written: “Pray, and then believe God is working, whether you see it or not.”
OPEN YOUR LIFE TO THE HOLY SPIRIT. Use Psalm 16 to remind you of how God wants to cover your life with the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
RECOGNIZE THAT AS GOD’S CHILD, WHATEVER ISSUE YOU ARE FACING, TODAY WILL TURN OUT FOR YOUR DELIVERANCE. You can be safe from the reactions that would be yours, apart from Christ. You can be saved from hopelessness, despair, and defeat. You can be strengthened and, scripture tells us, literally transformed. This is expressed for us in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18:
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
I like the following quote by Elizabeth Elliott. She writes, “The whole purpose of life, I believe, is to learn to know God.” In each of the crises of my own life, I have looked for God’s meaning and have sought to learn of Him.
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”