TOPIC: DOES IT SPARK JOY
Read: Philippians 4:4–9, Bible in a Year: Leviticus 1–3; Matthew 24:1–28
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true . . . noble . . . right . . . pure . . . lovely . . . admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8
A young Japanese woman’s book on decluttering and organizing has sold two million copies worldwide. The heart of Marie Kondo’s message is helping people get rid of unneeded things in their homes and closets—things that weigh them down. “Hold up each item,” she says, “and ask, ‘Does it spark joy?’” If the answer is yes, keep it. If the answer is no, then give it away.
The apostle Paul urged the Christians in Philippi to pursue joy in their relationship with Christ. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). Instead of a life cluttered with anxiety, he urged them to pray about everything and let God’s peace guard their hearts and minds in Christ (vv. 6–7).
Looking at our everyday tasks and responsibilities, we see that not all of them are enjoyable. But we can ask, “How can this spark joy in God’s heart and in my own?” A change in why we do things can bring a transformation in the way we feel about them.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true . . . noble . . . right . . . pure . . . lovely . . . admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (v. 8).
Paul’s parting words are food for thought and a recipe for joy.
Prayer: Lord, show me how You want to spark joy in the tasks I face today.
A focus on the Lord is the beginning of joy.
Paul’s encouragement to rejoice in difficult situations wasn’t from the perspective of someone who did not understand suffering. On Paul’s second missionary journey (ad 50–52), he was falsely accused of disturbing the social peace of the city. Severely flogged and unjustly imprisoned (Acts 16:20–25), Paul remained a picture of calmness and peace. Luke tells us that in the midst of such adversity, “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (v. 25). Paul knew what it meant to “not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil. 4:6). He could write these words because he himself practiced them. Are you at peace like Paul when life is difficult?