Philippians 1 & 2
“I got JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY down in my heart”, a song often sung by our kids but lost as they grow older. So often in our day we are bombarded by problems, stressors and crisis. Some are more credible than the others but often we make our own mole hills into mountains. In starting our reading of Philippians, we find the Apostle Paul in a serious situation as he has been imprisoned and is awaiting trial. He is aware that he could be waiting for his execution. So why this letter of being joyful in a time of peril?
The letter to the Philippians is a response to the believers providing aid and encouragement to Paul while incarcerated. Through the letter, the apostle desired to exemplify God’s sovereignty (1:12-13), Jesus’s faithfulness (2:6-8) and how Christians are supposed to respond to adversity (2:14-18).
So often we face the challenges in life as reasons to quit or complain about not accomplishing goals or dreams. So frequently we forget that in facing our problems in a particular way, we are actually building our relationship with God. In James, chap 1:3-4, we are told that when faith is tested through adversity it is an opportunity to grow endurance. But it’s not just about lasting through the trial; rather it’s about how we handle ourselves through the period. As stated, Paul wanted the Philippians to understand true joy even when a crisis arose. He pointed out actions and attitudes that would not only strengthen your faith but also display to others how Christians handle trouble.
In chapter 2:12-17, Paul outlines four ways for believers to be obedient to God during trials.
1) Do everything without complaining or arguing.
2) Live clean innocent lives.
3) Hold firm to God’s word.
4) Faithfully serve (make a sacrifice) as an offering to God.
Consider what joy really means to you. Tangible items and placing your happiness in earthly things will fail. True joy comes from knowing God and growing a relationship with Jesus Christ. God’s sovereignty and Jesus’s faithfulness is everlasting.