by Jeff Dominguez
Chapter 04 – THE KILLERS OF JOY
We are now at the last chapter of the Book of Philippians! and in this concluding chapter, Paul talked about the “Killers of Joy.” These are the traits that rob us or prevent us from having the joy that God wants us to have. So let’s go study these joy killers!
I. Introductory Verse (v1) and the Central Verses (vv4-5)
“Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for,
my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.” (v1)
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand.” (vv4-5)
In the middle of all the lessons that Paul is teaching in this chapter are verses 4 and 5 which are the central passage to which everything gravitates. This is how we were able to conclude that the lessons that Paul is teaching here are those that kill our joy.
II. THE JOY KILLERS
A) Unresolved Conflict (v2-3)
“Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.” (NLT)
CONFLICT IS INEVITABLE. This is the truth that most people don’t realize. No matter what we do, we will always have conflicts in our relationships with other people. And sadly, this is true even for the church. In Philippians 4:2-3, Paul called for the reconciliation between Euodia and Syntyche, whom he acknowledged as true Christians (their names were written in the Book of Life).
We must learn that unresolved conflict is a joy killer because this makes us harbor anger and unforgiveness in our hearts. And when we do have those things in our hearts we can never have true joy. This is why Jesus and Paul taught us to reconcile and forgive our enemies, especially, our brothers and sisters in the faith. Because only when we forgive can we truly have joy and peace in our hearts.
B) Worry/Anxiety (vv6-7)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Worry and anxiety are true joy killers! how? Simple. They rob us of our joy and peace by making us focus on problems that are not even here yet or it pushes us to make our small problems big in our minds. Worst, worrying reveals that we are self-dependent instead of being dependent on God. This is a very ungodly trait that even Jesus taught against it (Matthew 6:25-34).
But to clarify, worrying is a normal human emotion or response. However, what’s wrong is when we let it consume or control us. That is what Jesus and Paul are teaching us. In this particular passage, Paul revealed that the solution to worry is prayer. Whenever we feel anxious, instead of panicking, we should remain calm and pray. And as Paul said, the peace of God will come to us and it will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. This is also why God told us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
C) Ungodly Thoughts (vv8-9)
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
This is simple logic. If you think about bad things, you will surely feel bad. Filling your mind with ungodly and worldly thoughts will corrupt your mind and therefore affect your emotions. This is why ungodly thoughts are true joy killers.
The Bible has taught us to guard not only our hearts but also our thought life (Colossian 3:2; Proverbs 23:7). If we fill our minds with joyful and godly thoughts, we will surely feel the joy and peace that comes from God.
D) Discontent (vv10-13)
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Discontentment is a heart revelation. It reveals that we are not satisfied with the blessings that God is giving us. A discontented person is someone who is always wanting more. And as observed, it’s hard to make a discontented person happy because his happiness is based on the fulfillment and satisfaction of his desires. And until that desires are met, this kind of person will never feel joy. This is why discontentment is such a true joy killer.
Biblical wisdom teaches us that happiness doesn’t come from having too many possessions in this world (Luke 12:15). Instead, true happiness comes from learning to appreciate what you have. As the teacher of Ecclesiastes taught:
“Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.”
– Ecclesiastes 6:9 NLT
E) Stingy (vv14-17)
“Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. As you know, you Philippians were the only ones who gave me financial help when I first brought you the Good News and then traveled on from Macedonia. No other church did this. Even when I was in Thessalonica you sent help more than once. I don’t say this because I want a gift from you. Rather, I want you to receive a reward for your kindness.” (NLT)
Indirectly, Paul is teaching us that being stingy is a joy killer. Stingy means “unwilling to give or spend, ungenerous.” Not that we are saying that the other churches are stingy, but as it was implied, being stingy robs us of our joy and peace because it is a symptom of being selfish and unsympathetic towards others who are in need (which is an un-Christian trait). And as we all could tell, this kind of attitude will truly prevent a person from experiencing true joy, the joy that comes from helping others.
F) Lack of Trust in God (vv18-20)
“I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.”
In this passage, Paul is assuring the Philippians that they don’t need to worry about his needs because it is God who will supply both his and their needs. And in this passage specifically, Paul is teaching everyone to trust God for their needs. In a way, Paul is teaching them not to worry about their daily needs because God is here to supply them. So trusting God gives one joy, peace, and confidence. So the opposite is also true, lacking trust in God will make one worried, frustrated, and hopeless.
This is why lack of trust in God is the ultimate joy killer. Like Paul is teaching us, we should learn to trust God completely. We will truly experience God’s joy and peace if we stop trying to do everything by ourselves and surrender it all to God.
III. Final Greetings (vv21-23)
“Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brothers who are with me greet you. All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.”
Even though short and typical, this closing greeting reveals important information about how the Philippian church conducts its meetings. The saints that meet in Caesar’s household reveal that the setup of the Philippian church was a house church. Ceasar’s household is perhaps only one of the many house churches in Philippi.
This concludes our Bible study on the Book of Philippians. As always, we hope that this Bible study series has helped you understand God’s words in this book. Most of all, we are hoping that God has spoken to you in this study series, and may you apply all the learnings that you had in this book so that God will be glorified through us. Until our next Bible study!
God Bless!! 🙂