paul tells us in his book of philippians that to build joy that will last we must also learn to be content
philippians 4.11 (niv), i have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. it wasn’t natural; he had to learn it.
it’s easy to be content when you’re living on easy street. but paul’s life was not easy. it was very difficult.
2 corinthians 11 paul tells us a little of his biography. he says this, “i have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely and been exposed to death again and again. five times i received forty lashes minus one [in other words, he was whipped 39 times in five different experiences. add that up and you can figure out how many scars were on the back of paul.]
three times i was beaten with rods, once i was stoned, three times i was shipwrecked. i spent a night and a day in the open sea. i’ve been in constant danger. i’ve labored and toiled. i’ve often gone without sleep. i’ve known hunger and thirst. i’ve often gone without food. i’ve even been cold and gone without clothing. besides everything else, i’ve faced the daily pressures of my concern for all the churches. in spite of all this, no matter what happens, rejoice. in all situations rejoice in the LORD. always rejoice.” he says, “i’ve learned to be content.”
bottom line: joy is a decision. you are as joyful as you choose to be. if you’re discouraged today, it’s because you’re choosing to be discouraged. you can choose to be joyful because there are many things you can be joyful about. GOD is saying, if you learn to be content and you choose to make the right decision, you can be joyful.
we get caught up in “when and then” thinking. “when ‘this’ happens in my life, then i’ll be happy. when i get married, then i’ll be happy…. when i get a job then i’ll be happy. when i graduate then i’ll be happy. when….” fill in the blank, “then i’ll be happy.”
no you won’t. you are as happy as you choose to be. you’re as joyful as you choose to be. because joy is a choice.
just a thought from the front porch…