November 3, 2006 print_code Print this lesson

It's not our situation that robs us of joy; it's our attitude during our situation.

It is easy to think "If I could only get a better job, more money, a new car, a bigger house, then I'll be happy." We tend to view happiness as a commodity achievable by wealth. But remember, as the old saying goes, "money cannot buy happiness."

Again "money cannot buy happiness", no matter how much money you have or positions you attain, you'll never have lasting joy or contentment, because of these things; that's because joy and contentment aren't based on circumstances. As a result, if you're not content with what you have, you'll never be content with what you want.

While at first it may seem difficult, it is even possible to be content while going through a trial.  The apostle Paul said, in (Philippians 4:11-12), "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

In these two verses, Paul's saying that he was content—that is, he had joy—regardless of his trial or circumstances. Joy shouldn't be dependent on circumstances; but it should be present no matter what.

When Paul said that he could be content "in any and every situation," he really meant in everything - even while going through the toughest time of trials. In (2 Corinthians 11:24-27), Paul lists some of the hardest times that he had endured: "Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."

Even after going through all these things, Paul had learned or taught himself to be content.  Clearly, it's not our circumstances that steal our joy. We can all learn to be "content whatever the circumstances."

We need to stop thinking that will have joy after we buy a new house, we get that new job, after we buy a better car.  Let's not put off joy until after everything goes our way; Lets learn to have it NOW!  Like Paul, let us all in perseverance learn to have joy no matter our circumstances!