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Philippians 1:12 – But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, (NKJV)

Remember our main point up to now: a key to having joy in troubled times is our focus on Christ. And one way to focus on Christ is to make the gospel a priority in your life. Simply put, it’s hard to be joyless when you are focused on and sharing the Good News of Salvation.

In Philippians chapter 1 verses 12 to 26, you see that Paul focuses on Christ being preached and to live is to honor Christ. Instead of lamenting his circumstances, he chooses to take joy in everything that happened to him, God allowed so that the Gospel could be promoted:

Philippians 1:12 – But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, (NKJV)

Paul took joy in seeing that those around him such as the prison guards were well aware that he was imprisoned because of the Gospel and that other Christians had become more bold in sharing their faith because of Paul’s trials. Paul took such great joy in the preaching of Christ that he didn’t even care if the motives of those proclaiming the Gospel were to make his situation worse. Whether done of love or of selfish ambition, the only thing Paul cared about was that Christ was preached. Therein he found his joy.

A key to having joy in troubled times is when we look for how God is using our circumstances to further the Gospel and glorify Christ.

Paul believed (and lived) that in every circumstance we can’t help but have joy if we have the right mindset. Paul did not see himself as a prisoner of Rome but as a prisoner of Christ. When we can view our own troubles as circumstances that will illuminate and glorify Christ, we will finally be able to see the joy in them.

If your health is suffering and Christ is glorified because you trust in Him, then you can find joy. If economic times are hard and your dependence on Christ puts the focus on Him, then you can find joy. If you are being persecuted because of your Christian faith and Jesus is being glorified by your steadfastness, then you can find joy. There is no circumstance of trouble that cannot result in joy if we seek to find how it may focus others on the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. (NKJV)

In this verse we find a foundational principle of the Christian life. If we live, our life brings glory to Christ but if we die, it is to our gain because we go to be with Christ. No matter what circumstance or trouble this life brings, our response is a chance to live for Christ. When we continually focus on this truth, it enables us to find joy in all circumstances, no matter how difficult.

It is natural for us to consider the conflict between wanting to escape troubled times and move on from this life to be forever with our Lord… or to remain in this life and experience the joy that is found in Christ being glorified through our faithful response to difficulties. On the one hand we bring honor to Jesus when we have joy despite hardship or disappointment, and on the other hand we wish to move on from this life and its many sorrows. We know that it is God’s decision when that time comes, so in the meantime we take hold of the truth that “to live is Christ”, mining it for its endless supply of joy. It is this mindset that allows us to have joy no matter what our current situation is.

A key to having joy in troubled times is when we remember “to live is Christ”.

Tomorrow, we will continue to look at this subject of finding joy through our focus on Christ..

Lord God, help us to find joy in life by focusing on Jesus and the Good News of Salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?

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