Focusing on Jesus is the key to joy, even during times of distress.

Focusing on Jesus is the key to joy, even during times of distress.

Philippians 1:1-18

The apostle Paul demonstrated that spiritual joy is possible even during times of adversity. In fact, his epistle to the Philippians, written during a time of imprisonment, is known for its repeated references to rejoicing. But have you ever felt as if you’ve lost your joy? This can happen for several reasons:

• Wrong focus. By centering on Jesus, Paul was able to praise God despite harsh trials. Concentrating on difficulties can cause delight to vanish. Refocus through praise to bring it back.

• Disobedience. Sin steals our joy because it disrupts our fellowship with God (Ps. 66:18). As we receive His forgiveness and obey Him, joy returns.

• Regret. We crowd out gladness when we dwell on past mistakes. The Lord has forgiven us (1 John 1:9). He wants us to choose to live in His grace and move ahead.

• Fear. Joy and fear cannot coexist. We are called to live by faith, asking God to meet today’s needs and trusting Him with the future.

• Others’ suffering. How can we rejoice when others hurt? Romans 12:15 says we’re to weep with them, but we are also to offer the hope of God’s presence, power, and provision.

A consistently downcast spirit is a poor witness for hope (Ps. 42:11). Fix your gaze on the Savior and let His joy become yours. Then it can overflow to those around you.