Joyful No Matter What

Perspectives  The sermon this past weekend at Lifechurch was called Perspectives. We rushed home after church at Northwest bible because I had a feeling it would be good. And of course, it was!

The sermon was from the book of Philippians, which is a letter written by Paul to the church in Philipi. Paul wrote the joy filled letter while he was in Roman prision for 2 years preaching the gospel. Even in the middle of his significant trial, God blesses Paul with joy.

Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons, Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 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, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, 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. And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:1-21

Life is all about what our perspectives are on the situations we encounter.  We can be late and stuck in traffic, but then you hear about someone who got in bad car wreck and all of a sudden the current situation doesn't seem that bad.

What and Why

  • We all have a what and don't understand the why
  • God always has a why behind the what.
  • I don't have to understand the why to trust God in the what
We know God doesn't waste a hurt. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. He takes what the enemy meant for evil and if we trust Him, He will turn our trial into something that develops character and faith.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Two questions to ask when life is hard: 1 - Now what? What has happened to you?
 

Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. Philippians 1:12

What has happened to you? Lost job, broken relationships, etc? Paul states what happened to him is to advance the gospel. Advance is translated "to move forward". So what might seem really bad actually has a purpose to advance the gospel. Once we change our perspective we realize that God can turn what we experience as an obstacle as an opportunity for Him to show Himself. He can take setbacks and turn them into setups for Him to be glorified and for us to make a difference. Our prison can become our pulpit where we share what God is doing. If we change our perspective and look with spirtual eyes, we can see what God wants to do in the trial and through us.It's Clear

As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Philippians 1:13

Who is the real prisoner in the story? When we take what is meant for evil and change our perspective we can turn it around for what is good. The test you endure can become our testimony tomorrow. Our misery now can turn into our ministry later.

And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.  Philippians 1:14

2 - So What? But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice.   Philippians 1:18

What is most important?

So what matters? Nothing matters unless Christ is preached. We need to learn to say so what? Does this matter 1 years, 10 years or 100 years from now? We spill something on our favorite outfit, so what? We are running late and have to wait on a train on the road, so what? Our flight gets canceled and ruins our vacation plans, so what?

When you recognize what doesn't matter, you can focus on what does matter.

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

Our "what" and "why"?
 
Our "what" is infertility and now also, the news of C.J moving to GA for 6 months in the midst of the trial. We know that God has a "why" behind our "what" and right now I can say we definitely don't understand the "why", but we can trust God has a plan with our "what".Our "so what"?

Does this matter to us? Yes. Will we remember this in 10 years? Yes, I believe we will. In the perspective of things, we have so much to be grateful and no, when we compare our situation to others, it isn't that big of a deal. This week I heard of two friends that lost parents. In perspective, is our situation nearly as bad as theirs? No. We know we have so much to be grateful for, our health and our marriage, whether we are together or doing long distance we are still so blessed. We do know that God knows our hearts and He knows that it does matter to us. But, what is most important is that Christ is preached through this obstacle and that we take this obstacle and make it into an opportunity to share the gospel with others.

About the Author: Caroline is a native Oklahoman, now living in Texas with her husband of 2 years. She loves spending time with him, traveling, and being outdoors. She blogs about her journey with infertility and God's faithfulness while they wait. You can find her on the web at http://teamharriesbeatsinfertility.blogspot.com