I’m teaching on joy at our Women’s Summer Series at church tonight. We’re going to walk through the book of Philippians and discover how our joy comes from knowing God and all that He’s done for us and not from our circumstances. I received lots of opportunities this weekend to practice what I’m preaching. Saturday morning started out great. I got the best night’s sleep on Friday night that I’d had in weeks and woke up feeling refreshed and ready to strike things off my to-do list on this rare open Saturday in our family. I even decided to take my youngest daughter rollerblading.
About a quarter mile from home, I did something I have never done on my rollerblades. I wiped out – badly. Road rash on my leg, a badly bruised shoulder and a knock on the head. Without my helmet and wrist guards, I probably would have broken something. I spent the rest of my day trying not to move too quickly.
Yesterday, still feeling sore, we went to a different church to hear a friend speak and had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with our friends. On the way home, we got in a car wreck. Everyone was fine, but the front of my car is a mangled mess.
This morning, my shoulder is still sore, my car is still undriveable and my to-do list is as long as it was when the weekend began.
Yet, in my brain, I hear the words of Paul in Philippians 4:11-13, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
Now, Paul’s circumstances were way worse than my weekend when he wrote those words. He was under house arrest in Rome, dependent on friends for his well-being, unable to leave his home and guarded around the clock by Roman soldiers.
I have to tell you that as I was lying on the pavement trying to decide how badly I was injured, I wasn’t content. Nor was contentment my first reaction when I first got a glimpse of the front of my car after our wreck.
As I studied for my teaching time, though, I realized that my source of joy isn’t found in whether my car works or my body doesn’t hurt. My joy comes from knowing God and all that He has done for me.
Paul found joy despite his circumstances because he knew his joy came from his salvation in Christ. He found contentment because he relied on God’s strength and not his own.
When we find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control that threaten to rob us of our joy, we need to refocus on God and ask Him to give us the strength to be content despite our circumstances. We must find our joy in knowing that God loves us and sent His son to die for us.
The rest of this week’s blogs are going to focus on teaching our kids how to find joy in Christ and contentment through God’s strength. As you memorize these verses this week, keep your hearts focused on the joy of knowing Christ died for you – and not on your circumstances.