President Barack Obama gives his annual State of the Union message this week. People are pessimistic about the state of affairs today. Forget what's happening nationally, what's the state of your union?
[Darris McNeely] President Barack Obama will be giving his annual State of the Union address this week. And looking at some of the press coverage about that, the thought came across my mind, what's the state of my union? What's the state of my personal life? I don't have a lot of control over the big political issues that dominate the affairs of our country, but I do have control over my own life.
I was looking at an article that was talking about a survey done of a number of Americans in anticipation of the President's address to exactly gauge their view of what America is right now and where we are, very pessimistic. The majority, the overwhelming majority of respondents indicated negative responses. In fact, about 80% when polled about various questions as to how they viewed the state of the union: jobs, employment, healthcare, other major issues, all high negatives. Some of the highest I've ever seen.
In thinking about this and looking at where people are I had to stop and think, what's my responsibility? I can't do too much about the political efforts and the larger political scene, but I can do something about my own life, my own state of the union.
So I ask, what's the state of your union? What's the state of your life? How would you address it? How would you label it today? That thought took me to the book of Philippians where the Apostle Paul writes this very encouraging letter to the church at Philippi, and what it makes it unique is that Paul wrote Philippians while he was in prison.
And you can read that beautiful letter, the most positive in all of the New Testament really, as Paul addresses this group of people from the depths of a Roman prison. Let me read you a few verses to show how Paul was and his state of mind at that time. There's a lesson for us. Beginning in verse 3 Paul says to the church, "I thank God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy." The Apostle Paul here in Philippians 1 is expressing his joy in their lives, their remembrance, their fellowship with him. He's praying for them at all times. Again remember, this letter's written from prison. He goes on, "For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident," he says, "of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:3-6 Philippians 1:3-6  I thank my God on every remembrance of you,
 Always in every prayer of my for you all making request with joy,
 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
 Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×).
Paul was ever confident of the faith, encouraged determination of those members that what God had started in them through His holy spirit would be accomplished. But he's telling them this, and Paul has control over what he says and how he interacts through a letter to the members of the church.
When you and I stop and think about our life and what's facing us at any given time or point in our life: our health, our jobs, our mental condition, how we're viewing people, and how we're viewing things, take a page out of what the Apostle Paul said here. Examine the state of our union. Sometimes we just need to back away from even the larger political issues that dominate the headlines and our news today, and recognize that we do have control over our own life. Look for something positive. Recognize that people need to be encouraged.
There's always someone else who is also going through trials sometimes worse than what we may be going through, maybe sometimes not so bad. But to focus our attention on them is the first step toward getting control of our life and pulling ourselves out of depression, out of despondency and out of what we call the doldrums, especially at the time, certain times of the year in the winter months, especially when it may be very cold, lots of snow, dark days. We tend to drift into a bit of depression and melancholy in times like that, and if we focus on things that are totally beyond our control like the economy and the state of the United States union, it can be very depressing.
Take a page from what Paul did. Focus on others. Adopt a positive tone. See what you can do to begin to take that step forward in your life.
That's BT Daily. Join us next time.