Don’t Let Your Circumstances Steal Your Joy!
This past weekend Dan Wright spoke on cultivating a life of joy focusing on chapter 4 of Philippians. There is something that rocks me to the core when I read how positive Paul was while being imprisoned. In the face of adversity, Paul found joy. There is a clear theme throughout the book of Philippians as Paul writes—even commands—the church to “Rejoice in the Lord always” (4.4).
There have been times in my life when I didn’t find much comfort in the book of Philippians and those words. In fact, there were times when I couldn’t understand why Paul could be happy about his circumstances. When I was younger, I didn’t know how to rejoice through the pain, hurt, and circumstances of life. I didn’t even know how to deal with the hurt some days. I was trying to deal with it alone, and I didn’t give it to Christ. I knew Christ, but I wasn’t living in a relationship with him. All along the way I was going through the motions but never gave my life over fully to Christ. I grew up in church. I was baptized as an infant, went to Sunday school every week, was confirmed in 6th grade and joined the church. I did these things because I was told that is what I was supposed to do. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized what having a relationship with Christ was about.
During that time, I read the book of Philippians and what Paul was saying to the church of Philippi. I believe we can learn from those words, “Rejoice in the Lord always.” What I realized was that Paul found joy and contentment because, to Paul, life was all about his relationship with Christ.
As I read, I found my life verse in this same chapter. (For those that may not be familiar with “life verses,” a life verse is a passage from the Bible that speaks to your heart, almost as if it was written for you. It can be very personal. There may even be a story behind why you are drawn to it.) My life verse is Philippians 4.13. “I can do all things because Christ gives me the strength” (NLV).
I love this verse, not because it says I can do absolutely anything but because it says God will give me the strength I need in times of adversity. I need to trust God in all things.
That verse is why I won’t let circumstances steal my joy—I will choose to rejoice always.
So as Dan shared this past weekend, Should following Jesus affect how we view our circumstances? I think, Yes! I see my circumstances differently now. I will still have hardships and struggles. Life will still bring pain. But if I am a follower of Christ, I can do all things because He gives me the strength to get through.
Vicki Abbott | elementary
Vicki Abbott is the elementary children’s director at Ada Bible Church. She lives in Kentwood with her husband Jeff, who is also on staff as the production director, their two children and three dogs. Mitchell and Hannah attend East Kentwood High School. In her spare time, Vicki enjoying cooking, crafting, running, and attending her kids’ sporting events.