Day 1 – I’ve read the book of Philippians in the past but I felt as though I needed a refresher before starting today’s devotional. I own several bibles but one I use in particular when studying is the Life Application Study Bible (NLT). Upon reading the introduction, I was reminded of something very important.
When you think of happiness, what comes to mind? For me, it would be …
– A great job opportunity
– Getting married
– Going on vacation
– Food … lol (that always makes me happy)
These examples are just to name a few.
“Everyone wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal a lifelong pursuit; spending money, collecting things, and searching for new experiences. But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen, and the party’s over? Often happiness flees and despair sets in.” – (excerpt from the Life Application Study Bible).
Wow! The last sentence is so powerful because it’s so true. Happiness is an emotion that goes up & down – like a roller coaster. I can be happy one moment then instantly feel unhappy all because of something that happened or something someone said. We’re such emotional creatures. However, the word of God says it is possible to have joy even in when we’re not necessarily happy. In fact, Philippians 4:4 says “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – rejoice”. Paul who happens to be in jail while writing this letter to the Christians of Philippi is telling them to rejoice because he was speaking from experience. He was full of joy because he knew that no matter what happened to him, Jesus Christ was with him.
That’s extremely encouraging but so hard to follow when being let go from a job, the person you thought you’d marry one day decides to leave you, the weather has ruined the plans you had on your vacation or when you don’t have food on the table. Your emotions begin to take over & your thoughts can drive you insane if you allow it to.
However, joy is the 2nd fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). This joy comes from knowing Christ personally & from depending on his strength rather than our own. We can have joy, even in hardship. Joy doesn’t come from outward circumstances but from inward strength. As Christians, we must not rely on what we have or what we experience to give us joy but on Christ within us.
Today’s challenge was – Write out your prayer for the month of March. What areas of your life are you praying the Lord will strengthen you in, even when times get tough?
My prayer for this month is to be filled with the joy of the Lord & do my best at being consistent in drawing closer to Him even when “life” gets in the way or when the things of this world can become a distraction. An area I pray God to strengthen me in would be on being consistent & intentional when studying His Word, praying, reading, while at work, at home (cooking, cleaning, & spending quality time with my husband & son) & so on. Sometimes it’s hard to be consistent & intentional but it’s a desire of mine even when my emotions are at times telling me otherwise.
Personal Prayer: Lord, thank you for the great opportunity and privilege I get to have in studying your word, being in your presence & sharing my thoughts with others. Thank you for all that you’ve done, are doing & what you are getting ready to do. Thank you for your love & grace. I pray that you make yourself known to anyone who may be yearning for an encounter with you, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen!