Part 1: Living Life With Joy

Introduction: In our new teaching series, “The Pursuit of Joy,” we are going to talk about the opportunities to find real joy. Paul has encouraged us through the book of Philippians that joy is not determined by what we do, but what Christ has done in us and through us. Philippians shows us the connection between joy and the gospel. Paul not only understood the gospel, but experienced its joy in the mist of hardship and difficult circumstances. My prayer is that through this series, we will learn to find joy in all circumstances.

Something To Talk About:
The bottom line for this series: The pursuit of a Christ centered life results in joy. Life doesn’t seem fair much of the time, and to suggest that my joy will be my strength is even a harder concept to engage. We tend to be pessimists these days, so it is hard to find the joy in difficult situations, especially when I’ve had more than my fair share of unfavorable circumstances. But the joy we are talking about is not defined as a symptom of our circumstances and or something to feel when things are going good. Rather, joy is living life in a constant state of awareness as to what Christ has done in us and through us, regardless of our circumstances. In other words, our joy is not found in what is happening around us, but in what Christ has done for us. We believe that the joy of the Lord is the strength of His people. We seek to be people who will rejoice with genuine joy, whether in times of suffering and grief, or in times of abundance and celebration.

Discussion Questions:
1. In this weeks message, I talked about distractions to our joy. Name some of those distractions. What do we do when faced with those distractions? How can we turn those distractions into opportunities? How can we focus on what matters most?
2. Our study of the book of Philippians focuses on the pursuit of joy. But before we can pursue joy, we must have some kind of an understanding of what this joy is. What does a joyful person look like? How do you distinguish a joyful person from someone who is simply giddy all the time? You can we be happy if your team won, or if you landed that big sales account. So, what is it that makes joy different from these things?
3. Joy is something that is unaffected by circumstances. It is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. Reread the first chapter of Philippians. What is your understanding of the characteristics of Christian joy?
4. How do we process disappointments in a way that we see them as an opportunity for God to change your circumstances. Is there a true sense of joy through all of your circumstances, including the difficult ones? What is the first step to answering “yes” to that question.

Take One Thing Home With You:
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. . . It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3-5, 7-8)