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Joy Part 4: Changing our Perspective

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel

Philippians 1:12

Two men looked out from prison bars; one saw mud and barbwire, the other saw stars and the splendor of space. It is all a matter of perspective. How we look at things is shaped by our beliefs and feelings. The hard part is not looking at the mud and the barbwire when that is all we have been seeing for a long time. Changing our perspective can be as simple as looking up instead of looking down.

Todays example is the Apostle Paul. While writing the Book of Philippians, Paul was a prisoner. This was no modern day prison. This was a Roman prisoner awaiting trial. As a Roman citizen, he was certainly granted freedoms, yet He was chained up all the time to a guard. Prison chains hurt. They have always hurt. Being chained up to a person is very uncomfortable. It is a humiliating and embarrassing experience. Paul is a perfect example of someone who learned to change His perspective. He could have been complaining or asking for legal help. He didn't do that. His whole letter to them was one of Joy.

Let us examine some of the joy Paul shared with the Philippians. He was joyful in praying for them. (1:3) He was joyful when people are spitefully preaching about Jesus. (1: 17-18) He was joyful that prison guards are seeing His love for Jesus (1:13). He was joyful in the churches progress in faith. (1:25) He was joyful in his service to the church (2:17). He was joyful in others joys (2:28) He was joyful in the family of God (4:1) He was always joyful in Jesus (4:4), and he was joyful in the good works of others (4:10). And there is much more.

There is a lot of joy in a person who is awaiting trail. Paul didn't allow all the negative things in his life to be his focus. He was looking up at Him who had saved Him and called him to be a witness to all people. And he had raised His spiritual eyes to Live In View of Eternity. Let us seek to do likewise and lift our eyes to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God. For when we do that we may one day hear the most joyful words ever. "Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter in the joy of your Lord."

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