Where we go to find joy in any circumstance
From Letters of Paul: 30-Day Bible Study
Every romantic comedy has a moment where the guy tells something along these lines:
"I'll be fine as long as I have you."
It's a sweet sentiment, but ask anyone who's married, and they'll tell you: No human can complete you. We're simply not good enough. We fall short. We forget things. We say words we later regret.
But God is good enough. You can look to God and say, "I'll be fine as long as I have you," and it's true. In God's presence, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). That is why Paul could rejoice from a jail cell and be content with a little or a lot because no one and nothing on Earth could separate Paul from his God.
Writing from prison to the church at Philippi, Paul is a picture of what Psalm 16:8-9 looks like in real life:
"I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure."
In God's presence, we, too, can have fullness of joy. When God is our everything; we can be content in anything. We take heart knowing God is with us and for us.
Joy comes easily in some seasons of life — the lead up to a wedding or the birth of a child. But in Philippians 4, we find that joy is possible in times of suffering as well. God's presence brings peace to any situation. He understands us as no one else can, and He alone can meet our every need.
Even when life doesn't follow the path we want, God gives His people the ability to experience joy in every circumstance. All we have to do is turn to Him and start talking. Tell Him what you need. Tell Him what you dream of and what you're thankful for. "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:7).
- Think about the last time you really felt God's presence, whether it was singing at church on a Sunday or praying through tears in your house. How did His presence make you feel?
- Re-read Philippians 4:4-7. What does Paul encourage us to do when life gets hard? How can you put these disciplines into practice this week?