Sunday, June 12th – Joy in All Circumstances
The life of the Apostle Paul is one of hardship, pain and uncertainty, and yet his letters to the early churches are filled with expressions of peace and joy! How did this man, who endured so much, encourage so many to have joy in all circumstances? Let’s take a look at his letter to the Philippians and find out.
Work through the following questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group or friends and family around the dinner table to talk through what you’re learning!
- Have you known a Cranky Hank? Have you ever been a Cranky Hank? What was that experience like for you and others?
- What’s the level of joy like in your life right now? Not surface-level happiness, but deep, abiding joy that helps you manage through the stresses of life? If it’s lower than you think it should be, why is that?
- Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Which of these encouragements from Paul are hardest for you to experience in your daily life and why? What would be required for you to really live that way?
- Even if your circumstances have never been as dire as Paul’s, you’ve probably experienced anxiety that threatened to rob you of joy. How have you responded in those seasons of life
- Read Philippians 4:4, 6-7. According to Paul, rejoicing is not optional! Joy leads to praise and giving thanks to God. Is there anything in your life for which you haven’t thanked God for lately?
- Three spiritual exercises were suggested to help us stay tuned in to God’s will: 1— finding ways to encourage others, 2— noticing and thanking God for the good around us and 3— rejoicing in God’s many works by doing something you love with Him. Which of these will you do in the week ahead and why did you choose it?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 — Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4, 6-7 — Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!… Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 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.
BIBLE APP by YOU VERSION
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DIGGING DEEPER – PHILIPPIANS
Read, Study & Meditate This Week on Chapter 1
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.
Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved—and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him, since you are going through the same struggle you saw I had, and now hear that I still have.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH PATH
Did you know you can now track your progress working through the outcomes we include in Next Steps right on Gateway’s website?! Go to Spiritual Growth Path and create an account. You’ll get access to Spiritual Fitness Checks and training with the spiritual outcomes.
Spiritual Outcomes – Steadiness & Perseverance
Let’s be honest – joy and peace are often elusive, sometimes slipping through our fingers when we need them most. The Bible says a lot about finding our joy and peace in our relationship with God, as opposed to things that are temporary, or people who may let us down. Is that really possible, or just feel-good psychology dressed up with religious language?
Learn more about experiencing joy in all circumstances by working through the Steadiness & Perseverance outcome.