Experience God’s Joy

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Today’s Scripture: Philippians 3

After a two-week missions trip in Honduras, my friend Karen and I showed up to the San Pedro Sula airport with suitcases full of clothes, gifts, and several dozen bags of delectable Honduran coffee and velvet-textured refried beans. (Trust me, those beans are amazing!)

Unfortunately, our checked bags were significantly overweight. So, in a high stakes game of “What’s gotta go?” Karen and I ruthlessly eliminated the stuff that would cost us too much to carry into the next leg of our journey.

In life, we often carry around bad memories or difficult life experiences that weigh us down. Since the theme of Philippians is joy, Paul teaches essential wisdom on how we can overcome a common joy-stealer in our lives. First, he focuses on one specific thing:

Philippians 3:13-14
13 Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Is some memory from your past stealing your joy today? We’ve all felt disappointment, failure, or loss. However, when you replay those painful memories over and over again, you end up tethering yourself to the past. Imagine that every time you replay a bad experience in your mind, it adds one pound of emotional or mental weight. Relaying three bad memories each day would equal almost a 1000 pounds of weight a year. All that weight would likely crush any joy in your life!

What’s the remedy? Paul tells you to look forward. Stop looking back. But how do you look forward? One significant step is remembering God’s promises. One of my favorite promises is Jeremiah 29:11, where God says that he has a plan for us and his plan is for good, not evil. Each step you take forward toward embracing God’s promises for your life is like a spiritual workout that helps you shed the weight of your past. When you drop the weight, you’ll be free to experience God’s joy!

What bad memories of the past do you keep replaying in your mind?

How is the weight of those memories stealing joy from your life and your relationship with God and others?

Next Steps:
For today, if you encounter painful or difficult memories from your past, consider saying out loud, “That happened in my past, but I choose to look forward to the future.” Then say it one more time with gusto!

God, I trust that you have a plan that is good for me, even if I can’t see it right now. I choose to let go of my past and pursue the joy of living each day for you. Amen.

This post was written by Barb Roose. Barb’s main passion in life is to be a shining light for Jesus! She worked on staff at CedarCreek Church for 14 years. Since 2016, Barb travels as a full-time speaker and author, but she’s at the Creek every weekend with her family and periodically serves as a Growth Track host. She loves traveling, reading and all things chocolate peanut-butter.

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1 reply
  1. Cathy Thibodeau
    Cathy Thibodeau says:

    Barb, it’s great to see you sharing your wisdom in a LIO post again! Thanks for this reminder to “check our baggage at the door” and not carry it with us day after day. It’s a joy stealer for sure, and Philippians 3: 13-14 is a great reminder to let it go. Thanks.

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