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Tag: joy

True Change

True change always happens on the inside. Changing your outward appearance (whether that’s your looks, your deeds or your words) is really just dressing up what’s on the inside. In order to truly change, you must change from the inside out.

Paul knew the secret to being joyful in all circumstances was found not in outward circumstances and actions, but in inward peace and action. His final chapter reads as a bullet list for how to affect change on the inside:

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

Anxious on the inside? Bring it before the Lord in prayer.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:8

Struggling with sin? Shift the focus of your thinking.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Philippians 4:11-12

Always needing more stuff? Practice contentment.

It sounds simple, but it’s incredibly difficult. Unless of course, like Paul, you aren’t doing it on your own:

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

A Boy Named Alexander

Are you familiar with Alexander? He was the boy who had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Sometimes I have days like that. Or several terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days (or even weeks or months) strung together. It’s easy to turn away from God in the midst of those days.

Matt Redman has a song called 10,000 Reasons about the Christian’s response on those days. It’s based on Psalm 103. The final verse says:

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

The apostle Paul had every reason to be depressed or despondent about his circumstances. In prison awaiting potential execution, chained 24 hours a day to a roman soldier, he wrote the book of Philippians. Its dominant theme? Joy.

His response is best captured in Philippians 4:4:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4

Despite the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad circumstances of his life (according to earthly standards anyway…), Paul chooses joy as his response. It’s a joy rooted not in the happenings around him, but in Jesus Christ. Facing one of the toughest times in life, I think he would have sung with Matt Redman, “Still my soul will sing Your praise unending, ten thousand years and then forevermore.” What about you?

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