Philippians 2:2 says,
“Make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.”
Lumber City Baptist Church Ladies’ Bible Study this fall is What Matters Most by Karen Ehman – A Study Philippians. We began on Saturday with a wonderful group of ladies enJOYing fellowship, worship, singing, coloring, praying, and reading and studying God’s Word…..and great food! A big thanks to our men for cooking and serving the ladies.
As we began our study, we looked at Paul’s circumstances as he wrote to the congregation of the church in Philippi. Paul was in prison and probably facing execution as he wrote these words expressing his love for this group of believers. JOY is the dominant theme of Philippians. We also looked at the conditions of Paul’s imprisonment. It is very possible that the prison was overcrowded leading to unbearable heat and dehydration of prisoners. There were no windows meaning inadequate ventilation. Days were hot and nights were cold. Paul probably had to sleep on the floor with only a thin, uncomfortable pallet or no pallet at all and only a cloak for cover. With no windows darkness was prevalent.
The psychological impact was far worse in the situation of total darkness and exhaustion.
Prisoners wore chains around one or both legs, one or both wrists, or the neck and were usually chained to at least one other prisoner. The chains were noisy and heavy, weighing around 7 kg which is equivalent to about 15.5 pounds. The weight of the chains was often debilitating because the prisoner was weak due to a lack of nourishment. Prisoners did not get baths or haircuts…….
I think that’s all I need to say about that…..you get the idea.
Their clothes did not get washed, and they worked in the same clothes that they slept in. All of these conditions made it easy for prisoners to become sick with a broken body and spirit. Paul had every reason to be discouraged, angry, hopeless, distraught, and the list goes on.
But Paul, instead, was full of JOY!
What then: Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice. Philippians 1:18
How do you handle difficult circumstances?
While we may not be in prison like Paul, we all face difficult situations in our lives. The question is how do we handle those situations?
We often seek and sometimes find happiness in material possessions, or visiting places, or seeing people. How long does that last?
Happiness is a temporary condition based on your circumstances, but joy is eternal when it is found in Jesus Christ!
Are you looking for your joy in Jesus?
For a video of our first session, visit the Lumber City Baptist Church facebook page.