Discussion Guide for Philippians 4:4-9

Nearly every person on earth wants to possess joy, but only a few ever truly find it. What’s worse is that many people no longer believe that possessing joy is even possible. 

Christianity is a faith that contains everything necessary to live in joy. Religious Christianity is characterized by people who intellectually know where to find joy, but refuse to embrace it.

JOY IS NOT OPTIONAL!!!! John Piper explains that committing to Christ without committing to joy is dishonoring to the God to whom we claim to be committed.

Philippians is often known as the epistle of joy. Beyond any and all circumstances a Christian is commanded to rejoice because she knows the true source of joy.

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 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.

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.

For most of us to live in joy will require that we cleanse our minds of things that are taking our joy. There are four basic ways in Philippians 4:4-9 that we are to guard our minds and our hearts so that we can live in the joy that has been given as our birthright.

  1. Act the way we want to feel and think.
  2. Pray as a person who has faith in God.
  3. Focus our minds on the virtues that you wish to adopt from Jesus.
  4. Practice to make habits.

Questions for Discussion

  • What is the connection between joy and reasonableness? (v. 4-5)
  • Why is prayer the cure for anxiety? (v. 6)
  • What do you believe about God that has helped you move beyond anxiety? (v. 6-7)
  • Why do we have to be commanded to think on good things instead of bad things? (v. 8)
  • What is the role of practice in living joyfully? (v. 9)
  • What is the greatest obstacle you have to rejoicing?
  • Is there something that you have a hard time including in “anything” of the things you should not be anxious about?
  • How can prayer help you to let go of the thing you are most anxious about?
  • What are some virtuous things that you intend to focus your mind toward this week?
Jonathan Pugh
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