THIS WEEK’S READING: PHILIPPIANS 4
Have you ever been in a place where you struggle to find constant joy?
In the simple changes of life, we can see how it may be hard to find contentment. But it’s even more noticeable in the parts of our lives where we find our identities. I would love to tell you that I only find my identity in Christ, so of course I have constant joy. However, that is not always the case for me.
I love to be busy. Once I heard Hannah Parmelee, a professor at Pepperdine University, speaking at a conference about Philippians 4, and she stated, “We wear our busyness like a badge of honor.” Y’all, I have never heard a statement that was so ME. Being busy is my thing.
I am definitely there right now. Unlike a lot of other schools, my university (go tops) is JUST NOW starting back for the spring semester. I feel like I’ve been waiting to go back longer than Moses wandered the desert. (Totally kidding, maybe, actually maybe not…)
It’s becoming so bad that I actually want homework so I can have something to do instead of suffering from boredom allllllllll day.
As much as I shy away from admitting it, I take pride in having a lot to do. I would venture to say I’m not alone in that confession either. But slowly, I’m recognizing Psalm 46:10 — “Be still and know I am God.” — is more than a pretty calligraphy painting on my wall.
It’s my identity.
Knowing and resting in God is what we should claim, not being too busy for Him. It can also help us in pursuing joy that comes in busy times and in times of rest, consistent joy.
A few weeks back I had the opportunity to attend a conference called Gulf Coast Getaway in Panama City Beach, Florida. Here is where I heard from Hannah Parmelee, but I also studied a four-part series all about the book of Philippians.
What perfect timing for this series The Dwelling Place is going through right now, right?!
So after attending the conference I asked if I could bring a few ideas I learned there to you lovely readers. So here we go, friends:
Philippians 4 is a gold mine.
You can find all kinds of great thoughts from Paul as he writes from his prison cell. Verses 2-9 all contain very convicting messages about rejoicing in the Lord constantly, including a personal favorite.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” –Philippians 4:6
This verse is so comforting to hear at any point during your walk with Christ. Whatever you’re going through, whether it makes you happy or sad, give it all to Him, and He will hear you. Accepting this truth is a major part of finding constant joy because with Him all things are possible.
Does that last phrase sound familiar?
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” –Philippians 4:13
It’s what some people call the “coffee mug verse.”
At this conference, the keynote speaker was Randy Harris. Saturday morning, he brought the house down by revealing a new twist, or a hidden message I had never really thought about, to Philippians 4:13.
When we think of this verse we often think this “anything” means things that are huge, awesome and very out of our league. Although this is true, the message doubles when your circumstances aren’t awesome, but actually pretty awful.
When you’re hoping to get the promotion, but also just wanting a job period. When you get married, but also when you’re the only one in your friend group not married.
You can do all things, including the tough things, with Christ.
Being able to do all things, whether in good or bad circumstances, can only happen when we become indifferent to those circumstances. This kind of indifference (contrary to the danger of being indifferent towards Christ) is called holy indifference, simply meaning that no matter what comes your way, you’re content because you have Christ.
I think Randy Harris said it best when he shared this: “The ultimate expression of Christian maturity is contentment.”
This sentence, although only eight words, speaks measures. See, when we become indifferent to our circumstances, joy has so much more room to occupy your heart. This right here, friends, is how you find constant joy.
I pray this truth convicts you as much it convicted me.
He will strengthen you in ALL circumstances, unimaginably great ones and super, super hard ones. And that, my friends, is where the secret to consistent joy lies — in Him.