Focal passage: Philippians 4:4-9
Think for a moment about a favorite recipe that yields the best dish each time. Your family loves it, you love to eat it and it is delicious!
Our passage this week is like a recipe. This recipe yields plenty of servings of joy and it starts with the instruction, “Rejoice in the Lord always.”
That instruction is just a bit harder than “preheat the oven to 350 degrees,” but it is the first step. We add a generous portion of graciousness, take out any worry, then add praying, seasoned with thanksgiving.
We ask God what we need for the recipe, then throw in a dash of being true, pure, honorable, lovely, commendable, morally excellent and a measure of praise! Now, that is a spice cabinet of great value!
The good news too, is that not only does this recipe yield joy, but peace too! This is a recipe we should want to use all the time.
So, what stops us? Our lesson suggests that one obstacle to practicing joy is that we lose focus.
As we keep our focus on Christ, joy and peace flood our hearts and minds.
My Mom’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease has given all of us who love her the opportunity to practice joy – no one more than my dad! He is her full-time caregiver and does it each day out of love and his focus staying on Christ. It is the love of Christ that allows him to rejoice as he serves her unselfishly and enables him to be gracious in the face of Alzheimer’s related behaviors. He also knows the value of prayer.
He is thankful when I remind him that I am praying for him every day as he serves my mom and lives out his covenant of marriage.
Paul reminds believers that it is through the practice of letting “your requests be made known to God” that we receive the “peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” and he “will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v. 7).
Whatever challenge you face today, be encouraged that you have a recipe that will enable you to practice joy!