“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about we everything.
Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done!”
We all have a fundamental need for joy in our lives. Life without joy is nothing short of overwhelming, overburdened, and oppressive. What are the things that are wearing you down and keeping you from living a joyful life? Studies had actually shown that the more joy people have in their lives, the more productive they are. There was a report not too long go in US News & World Report that said that there some corporations out there that hire ‘joy consultants’ to build up the joy in peoples’ lives so that employees can be more productive. So, it is true that we have more energy, more creativity, and more productivity when we have joy in our lives.
The short Book of Philippians – only four chapters long – Paul uses the word ‘joy’ 16 times. The amazing thing is, Paul didn’t write this book when he was on vacation in the Caribbean. He was in prison in Rome, waiting to be executed. In the darkest days of His life, he wrote one of the most positive books in the Bible. As you look into Philippians you will see at least three things that will build your joy and diffuse our discouragement. Let’s look at them in an acrostic form:
1. J - Jettison All Regrets About Your Past
Jettison means ‘to abandon as worthless; to discard, to eliminate; to get rid of.’ Paul is reminding us that if you want to enjoy life there are some things we need to get rid of because they wear us down and overburden us. The starting point of joy is letting go of the past. Paul says, “One thing I do is to forget what is behind me….” (Good News Bible). The past cannot be retrieved, it cannot be relived, it cannot be changed……let it go!
2. O – Omit Your Worries About The Future
To enjoy the present in peace we cannot be worrying about tomorrow. Worry, hands-down, is the greatest killjoy of them all. You cannot be joyful and worried at the same time. What are you worried about? What do you need to do to release those worries? Paul’s antidote is in this verse: “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done!” (Philippians 4:6 NLT). So….we have a choice, we can either worry or pray! Paul made this choice – He said, “….I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content..” (Philippians 4:11). And, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me!” (Philippians 4:13).
3. Y – Yield Yourself To God’s Purposes
If we’re just drifting, if we don’t know where we came from or where we’re going or why we’re here, of course we’re not going to have any joy in our lives. We all need a cause greater than ourselves for which we live; that is what brings us joy. Even when Paul had literally lost everything, there was one thing that could not be taken away from him – his purpose in life that was greater than himself. He said, “For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21 NIV). Also, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ!” (Philippian 3:14). Living for ourselves alone does not bring joy. If we want to have a joy-filled life we need to get in line with God’s purposes for our lives. When we begin to live out the purpose for which we are made, life makes sense, and joy is a lot more easily found. The songwriter wrote of his journey to joy in a gospel song. The chorus says: