Joy- As Christians Joy is a huge part of our faith. We memorize verses, sing songs and talk all about Joy.
But sometimes as Christians we think happiness and Joy are one in the same. And maybe for the rest of the world that is true. But happiness is circumstantial. Joy on the other hand is eternal. Our world can be crashing down around us and our hearts can leap with Joy at the thought of our HOPE- knowing with confidence tat Jesus died for us and we know he WILL fulfill his promises. Specifically the Hope of eternal life in Heaven.
Joy in the middle
We as Christians also get something else VERY WRONG. We think that Joy equals outward expression of happiness. (aka a smile) If someone is hurting and has an outward expression of such, THAT makes us very uncomfortable. So when they have a smile. on their face it is SUPER easy to pass by and we can feel comfortable that they are ok and that I don’t have to get involved.
But I am here to tell ou can still have JOY in the middle of whatever is going on. It doesn’t require a smile on your face either. Paul from the New Testament faced many hardships, he talked about his sorrow and his tears- life is hard. Paul knew that, Jesus knew that- Jesus Himself hand deep sorrow. He shared that too. He didn’t hide it.
Building On Love
Yesterday we learned all about Love and as we grow in our love the next step we take is built on top. of it- IT’S JOY When you have unconditional love- the same love Jesus gives us, You experience true Joy. Joy that is completely unexplainable.
Philippians: A Lesson in Joy
I have been studying Philippians for a while now and I am amazed at Pau’ls Joy despite his sorrow- (2:27). Paul is telling the Philippians that he God spared him (Paul ) from having sorrow upon sorrow when Epaphroditus almost died from an illness. This indicated that Paul was already dealing with sorrow. But you cannot read the book of Philippians with seeing that despite the sorrow he was still filled with great Joy.
But over what?
Well Right off the bat in Chapter 1 He prays for the Phlippian Christians with great Joy because of their partnership in the Gospel from the very beginning AND he is confident that God will complete the good work the God started in them.
Then later in Chapter one we see a HUGE indicator of Paul’s Joy . In heres prior to 18 Paul talks about how some believers are taking advantage of him being in prison . They are sharing Christ out of selfish ambition but instead of being over taken by “righteous indignation” Paul’s perspective is Different In verse 18 he asks
But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or True, CHRIST IS PREACHED. And because of this I REJOICE YES I WILL CONTINUE TO REJOICE! (NIV- Emphasis mine)
Wow! We can get so wrapped up into what people think of us or what people are saying about us- but in this example Paul gives us a very healthy dose of perspective!
Chapter2 starts with what will bring Paul even more- or maybe continued Joy.
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Paul’s Joy would be made complete by UNITY. Yes UNITY.
- having the same love (remember yesterday’s post?)
- being one in spirit
- and of one mind (the mind of Christ)
So then he goes on to give what exactly this looks like:
- DO NOTHING out of selfish ambition (aka don’t seek your own way)
- OR vain Conceit ( seeking your own glory)
- IN Humility
- value others above yourselves
- not looking to your own interests but
- to the interests of others
Then we goes on to explain even more (in case we couldn’t get the picture) That in our relationships with each other we should have the mindset of Jesus Christ : (verses5-8)
- Even though Jesus was in the very nature of God had humility to not think himself equal with God (he could have used this rightly to his own advantage BUT didn’t)
- But instead he made himself NOTHING taking on the very nature of a servant- he was made in Human likeness
- in taking human form he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death (People he didn’t have to die He choose to die)
And because of THAT kind of humility he was exalted!
My own experience- Positive
I can honestly tell you that when serving with people who have this kind of humility it sparks HUGE JOY! Why? Well because it is a picture of what heaven is going to be like! We were all working together for a common purpose- wWe all had the same heartbeat for that ministry. We gave our all and I loved working on that conference team. We hit road blocks and struggles and sorrows and exhaustion. BUT what Joy!
I know that people say quite often that such and such a thing is “a little piece of heaven on earth”. BUT in reality we can’t really know that because this world is so flawed with sin. We cannot begin to imagine what heaven in all of it physical beauty will be like (physical beauty is usually what’s being referred to in those statements).
However I do believe when you are in the middle of serving Jesus with people who have the unity spoken about in this passage THAT is the closest thing to heaven ion this earth you will bget to heaven AND THAT kind of Joy that is sparked is and will be one of your greatest influences.
My Experience- Negative
What if there is no unity? Well that becomes our negative influence and unfortunately it becomes very obvious very quickly.
The reason….. is mentioned in just a few verses after this. And we will visit THAT in about a week or so! We will spend a LOT of time hashing this out because it is a huge problem and is rooted in entitlement the antithesis of what Paul talks about above.
The rest of Philippians
I know there are two more Chapters left in Philippians and there are still more reasons for Joy found in them but I want you yo dive into them and seek them out for yourselves. Part of this journey is seeking the treasure hidden within God’s wordAnd then I want to discuss them in the comments bellow.
Thank you so much for Doing me on this Journey Through the power of our influence!
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