Joy. Paul had it. He was in prison. He had opponents who wanted him dead. He had given years of travel and sweat and tears to spreading the Gospel. He was tired. But he had joy. This letter gives us a glimpse of joy that is not circumstantial and joy that can only be found in Jesus Christ. I love what Eugene Peterson writes about this book:

"Happiness is not a word we can understand by looking it up in the dictionary. in fact, none of the qualities of the Christian life can be learned out of a book. Something more like apprenticeship is required, being around someone who out of years of devoted discipline shows us, by his or her entire behavior, what it is. Moments of verbal instruction will certainly occur, but mostly an apprentice acquires skill by daily and intimate association with a 'master,' picking up subtle but absolutely essential things, such as timing and rhythm and 'touch.' When we read what Paul wrote to the Christian believers in the city of Philippi, we find ourselves in the company of just such a master. Paul doesn't tell us that we can be happy, or how to be happy. He simply and unmistakably is happy. None of his circumstances contribute to his joy: He wrote from a jail cell, his work was under attack by competitors, and after twenty years or so of hard traveling in the service of Jesus, he was tired and would have welcomed some relief."

May you and I grow from reading these words. May we see joy in a new light. May we know joy at a deeper level. May we move beyond circumstances. May we find joy in Christ alone.

1 comment:

  1. We can have joy amidst a storm and we can have a great life and still be miserable. I'm so thankful for my Jesus. He's the source of life. It's so nice to nestle safe in Him. I love how He cares for us in the intimate details of our life.
    What is my heart full of? In chapter 1 Paul talks about a heart full of joy, he wants our love for each other to overflow, and for us always to be filled with the fruit of our salvation. Sometimes I realize I can't control how things come across. It's so hard for me when I feel misunderstood.