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Philippians 4:10-13: Satisfied in Jesus

March 14, 2012

There’s a reason that the rollercoaster has become a cliché for life: circumstances fluctuate in this fallen world. And with them, so often does our joy. On a good day, when life goes as planned, we feel good, stable, secure. But when life crests and we feel like we’re starting to plummet, we’re filled with anxiety and fear. We get edgy and sharp with those close to us, we grasp for control or look for the nearest escape. Then things turn, and we’re happy again. At least for a little while, until the cycle starts all over. Lather, rinse, repeat.

But what could life look like if our joy was able to travel above our circumstances? What if delight was consistent, even when the world was not? Is such a thing possible? Or is the very thought a mere sandcastle of “positive thinking,” ready to collapse with life’s next crushing wave?

According to the apostle Paul, consistent joy is not only possible, it’s commanded. It’s a command he’s issued multiple times throughout the book of Philippians, the secret of which he reveals in 4:10-13.

As Paul winds down his letter to the Philippians, he concludes by thanking them for their sacrificial partnership in supporting his labor financially (4:14-15). He says in v. 10 that he “rejoices greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me”—the concern that moved them to give. But before moving on with his thank you, he feels inclined to clarify one thing: his joy has nothing to do with his needs being met (4:11-12). His joy travels above his circumstances. Because his joy is anchored not in what life throws at him, but in “him who strengthens me”—Jesus Christ (4:13).

If you’re in the MetroWest suburbs of Boston, please consider joining us at Westgate Church this Sunday (Mar. 18) as we explore the secret of a joyful contentment that travels above life’s circumstances—one that comes only from trusting and treasuring Jesus.

Update: Sermon text and discussion questions are available here: Phil 4.10-13 Westgate 3.18.12

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