Family Bible Study lesson for July 17: Being Joyful : Friday, July 1, 2005
July 1 2005 by Chadwick Ivester

Family Bible Study lesson for July 17: Being Joyful : Friday, July 1, 2005
Friday, July 1, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for July 17: Being Joyful

By Chadwick Ivester
Focal Passages: Philippians 4:4-13,19

Pursue Joy

Philippians 4:4-5

The Apostle Paul was bound in chains in a dark, gloomy dungeon at Rome when he penned this letter. If anyone should have been anxious and depressed, it should have been Paul.

Yet he wrote to the Philippian believers to exhort them to persevere in the faith and to speak words that reflect their faith. Picture that image. Paul, in prison, encouraged his free brethren by telling them that Christ gave him peace and made him free in every circumstance.

Avoid Worry

Philippians 4:6-7

Worry is a sin. Worry shows our lack of faith in the Omni-Sufficient One, and should spur us to the Lord's throne of grace through prayer.

When a person engages in private communion with the Lord through prayer, petition, and thanksgiving, the grace and mercy of God dissolve that person's worries. Personal prayer is the most important weapon of the Christian life to dissolve anxiety.

My prayer life was "lite" and practically nonexistent when I enrolled for my studies at Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute in 1999. Soon, the Holy Ghost convicted me that if I were going to be used by Him, I must have an active and consistent communion with Him. I also realized that having daily communion with our heavenly Father is important for all of God's saints.

A significant dose of anxiety hit me during a very troubling time in 2001. Gracie, my daughter, was born seven weeks premature in Charlotte (100 miles from my home) - and at the beginning of a difficult quarter at Fruitland. Subsequently, Tina, my wife was forced to forfeit her established cosmetology business of 12 years to tend to our "preemie" for eight weeks. And my ministry in the church where I was serving as youth pastor was coming to a close! I felt like the pressures of this world were going to crush my soul. Every morning I would wake up a basket case, vomiting due to the high level of anxiety.

By God's word, I realized that I didn't need a prescription for Xanax, I needed peace from God. I received God's peace that melts fears, breaks strongholds, and frees us to live for Christ, even in the bleakest situations.

Think & Act Rightly

Philippians 4:8-9

The battle for peace begins in the mind. The proverb, "garbage-in/garbage-out," is true. We must examine every thought and discard all that dishonor God. For example, thoughts of pornography will eventually cause corrupt behavior. We must dwell on things that glorify God.

Sanctified living begins with sanctified thinking, as we make "every thought captive to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

In a household with three children under 5, Tina and I know well the proverb, "monkey see, monkey do." Paul was an imitator of Christ, and he wanted the Philippians to be imitators of him - his doctrines, his words, and his actions.

Be Content

Philippians 4:10-12

Paul learned how to be content whether he was bound by chains in a dark, gloomy dungeon or freely preaching the gospel to an entire city. His contentment was anchored in Christ.

Be Strengthened

Philippians 4:13, 19

A sick hospital patient must depend upon an intravenous (IV) line for nourishment. Similarly, Paul said he received his strength from Christ, who infused inner strength into him. Christ's Spirit is a direct "IV" into the soul of every believer.

This abounding promise penned from a dark dungeon shows how God's peace dwelt in Paul's heart. How often do we suffer from spiritual amnesia, forgetting how the Almighty One has sustained us time and time again?

When your spiritual foresight becomes bleak and dim, recall the spiritual hindsight of God's past victories for you. Spiritual hindsight, which is always in focus, will refresh your faith in knowing that God will sustain you in Christ.

7/1/2005 12:00:00 AM by Chadwick Ivester | with 0 comments

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