Joy. This little word is so desired, envied, and sought after these days. So many work so hard to find it, yet are searching in the wrong places. They confuse joy with the idea of constant happiness and perfection. However, the joy of the Lord can be found in any and all circumstances if we put our focus on Him. A few years back here at HBC, Pastor Nathan went through a sermon series defining joy as “the result of properly placed affections.” This article will walk through my favorite chapter of the Bible, Philippians 4, highlighting verses and concepts that help us focus on Christ and properly place our affections on Him.
I’ve found that, in my life, it seems that the greatest factor getting in the way of experiencing joy in the Lord is my anxiety over so much of life. I know this is the reason that Philippians 4 is my favorite chapter of the Bible because it helps to explain how to focus on Christ not anxiety. In verses 4-6 we see Paul telling us twice to rejoice in the Lord. True joy is not found in anything outside of Christ. The writer goes on to explain that we should pray and give our requests to God with thanksgiving and we will receive God’s peace that passes all understanding.
The highlighting of thankfulness is so important. What better way to find joy in Christ than being thankful to Him for His many blessings! I’ve found that in dealing with anxiety, I need to be grounded in the peace of God in order to experience the joy of the Lord.
It is such a joy-bringing comfort to know that God gives us peace that passes all understanding which helps lead us to true joy and rest in Him.
Verse 8 of this passage is a fantastic filter for life to obey Christ and focus our affections on Him. Paul lists off that we should be thinking on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. How could we not bask in the joy of the Lord if we are filtering our thoughts and affections through this list! These eight characteristics cause us to focus on Christ, rejoice, and be thankful.
Finally, the remainder of the chapter details finding contentment and all our needs in the Lord. I feel like one of the great secrets of experiencing true joy in Christ is being content with what He has blessed us with. There are so many things in life that we think we want or need and so many lies we believe to make us envy others. However, when we see God as the one who supplies all our needs through Christ, we can be extremely thankful as we truly live in peace, contentment, and joy.
Although this article may seem a bit of a summarized hodgepodge of deep truths and life lessons found in this passage, I hope it helps to highlight truth that will cause you to focus on Christ.
My hope and prayer this year is to focus on Christ greater and filter my thoughts through the truths found in this passage to experience His joy and, in turn, share Him with others.
Morgan joined the HBC staff in 2017. She loves to be outside (especially at the beach or anywhere on the water). She also loves to write, eat ice cream, snuggle with her polydactyl cat, and take walks with her family.