Many people don’t enjoy life, they just endure it. That’s because many people look for happiness and not joy. Happiness comes from the word “happenstance,” from which we get the word “circumstance.” Happiness depends on happenings. Joy, on the other hand, doesn’t. It is eternal. It is a constant. How do you have joy, and therefore happiness, in spite of your circumstances? I’ll share the first of four secrets with you this evening.
Essential #1: You develop joy by gaining a proper perspective to live from.
You have problems. We all do. Your problems are not as important as how you are looking at the problems. The way you look at the problem is much more important than the problem itself. Your perspective makes the difference.
Philippians 1:12, “I want you to know that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.” When Paul write this verse he was in prison! Paul could see the best in the worst. He can see God at work even when things didn’t go his way. Since Paul had the right perspective about his problem he was able to write in verse 13, “As a result it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ.”
Paul always intended to go to Rome and preach the gospel. What he didn’t plan on was doing it from behind bars! It was in prison that Paul wrote much of the New Testament. It was also the most strategic place to be to spread the gospel to the most influential people of the empire.
The palace guard were the crack elite troops of the empire, personally chosen by Caesar. They were the highest paid people of Rome. After twelve years they retired, most often taking leaderships positions throughout the empire. God puts Paul in Rome, Nero pays the bill, and Paul gets to witness to influential people every four hours! In two years Paul would have witnessed to 4,380 guards, and the result was that even part of Nero’s family became believers!
v. 14: “Because of my chains most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.” Your attitude toward problems can encourage other people. Courage is contagious. it can spread like wildfire.
The perspective you need to live from if you are going to have joy in your life is Romans 8:28, “We know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him…”
LESSON: God has a purpose behind everyone of my problems. When you get this perspective you are on the way to joyful living. Paul example demonstrates that God has a purpose behind all my problems therefore I have a proper perspective to live from. This can give me joy.