I love Philippians. I love how in this book, Paul’s joy and love for the Lord genuinely radiates. It is amazing how the Lord left us great examples of what our lives should reflect.
In this book, joy is truly defined.
It is defined by the undeniable joy of Paul amongst his imprisonment. His joy was grounded in the peace of God, the antidote to all anxiety (v.:4-7).
I used to think that joy and happiness were the same thing, until I fell in love with Jesus. Then I realized that happiness could often waver based on circumstances, feelings, or other people, but that joy was unshakeable. Joy is that feeling when you are able to sit in and enjoy the reality that a perfect God died for an imperfect you.
A circumstance does not contribute to joy, but a Savior does.
There is great reward to follow when we fully comprehend that joy and Jesus directly correlate.
The joy that Paul has is complete, even from a jail cell. The world has let us believe that our circumstances should dictate how we act and react, but Philippians shows us otherwise. Paul is in jail and still is radiating joy, even thanking God for his situation. He sees his imprisonment as an advancement for the Gospel of Christ. Should we not also choose joy when it’s difficult and see our circumstances, good or bad, as an opportunity to further His kingdom?
When we are living from the fullness that God has offered us, we are no longer acting in spite of the emptiness the world has attempted to fill us with.
Paul even says that his desire is to depart and be with Christ. But chooses to remain in the trial, for joy and progress in the faith will produce a more kingdom-building result than to take the easy way out.
When we boldly stand by joy, we make clear our salvation that is from God.
Paul’s main goal for the Christians of Philippi is that the fruit will be produced in full; mirroring a Christ-like spirit, full of kindness, joy, and compassion.
Choose to live outside of your circumstances and you will find yourself living in view of the cross and abounding in joy.
Even through Paul’s struggles, He is able to encourage others, informing them that all that matters is the cross of Jesus Christ. He is very clear about what a follower of Jesus looks like and what exactly should be modeled. He was not perfect, but he recognized that Jesus was.
In Philippians 3, Paul says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
He knows without a doubt that despite what he has or has not reached yet, he has the courage and hope to press on because Jesus has already made him His own and there’s nothing he can to do to separate himself from that.
That is great encouragement to not only the Christians of Philippi, but to you and I as well. Thankfully, our imperfection doesn’t hinder God’s perfection.
Paul’s joy ultimately abounds because of the promise he clings to of his citizenship in heaven that is to come.
One of my favorite things that the book of Philippians teaches is that though we have not fully experienced all of the benefits of redemption, for we are awaiting our glorification when we come into the presence of the Lord and He removes the presence of sin from our lives, the saving process has already begun.
I don’t know what your life looks like right now. I don’t know if you’re feeling weighed down by the world and how hard life can be. I don’t know if you know Jesus, but I do know that you can rest, knowing He knows you. I know that no matter who you are, Jesus doesn’t change. I know that knowing Jesus means knowing joy.
The Lord is at hand in your life whether you can see him or not.
I want to be more like Paul. Choosing joy, having no confidence in the flesh, but faith in Jesus that trumps all.