B-Group Lesson Part 4 of 4
The church in Philippi was the first European city to hear the gospel and have a Christian congregation. Paul was writing to the church in Philippi during his captivity. Joy was the ever-present theme running through his writings. Paul's source of joy was not the joy the world has to offer but the joy of being connected to the Kingdom of God.
4 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stay true to the Lord. I love you and long to see you, dear friends, for you are my joy and the crown I receive for my work. 2 Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. 3 And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life. 4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! 5 Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. 8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 9 Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. 10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. 13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. 14 Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. 15 As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. 17 I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness. 18 At the moment I have all I need—and more! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me with Epaphroditus. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that is acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” We should rejoice no matter our circumstances. Joy is simply a choice we make.
Question: Share a time in your life when despite circumstances, you chose joy. Maybe even today, you are walking through a situation in faith and choosing joy through the storm.
Worry is not an attack we cannot escape. It is a chosen response to a problem. We may not be able to avoid challenges, issues, and difficulties, but it is possible to thrive in these situations without worrying.
Question: When was the last time you chose gratitude over frustration amid worrying and stress-filled circumstances?
God has given us the ability to take control of our thoughts. We can make a conscientious choice to let our thoughts be shaped by what is already a reality in our hearts. Jesus is with us, and nothing is impossible through Him.
Question: What tools are you using to help you renew your mind? What are you watching or listening to? Are you spending time in God's presence? Are you surrounded by people whose lives reflect the fruit of the Spirit?
It is easy to constantly strive for the next thing. This over-anxiousness can make us depressed. Do not let stress kidnap you! Be satisfied in Christ.
Question: Do you ever find yourself looking for what’s next in every season? When is the last time you truly felt content in pursuing God’s will?
We should not keep the Lord’s blessings to ourselves. We are meant to be the light to an overly anxious and stressed-out world. Giving and joy go hand in hand!
Question: Have you ever had the experience of being able to give something to someone else? How much joy did giving to others bring you?
As we go into this Holiday season, we all have a responsibility to steward an atmosphere of J-O-Y in our lives. Take some time this week to simply thank the Lord for everything He has done and everything you believe He will do in and through your life.