Paul uses 70 expressions of joy in his short letter to the Philippians! Seventy! Reading them infects us with his “good virus” of devotion to Jesus.
To joy in Jesus is the best way to start our day and our New Year.
It’s a surprising joy that Paul exudes. Outwardly, he has no reason to be happy. We learn from his letter that his circumstances are terrible:
- He’d been abused badly and thrown in jail by a mob in Philippi (1:7)
- He writes from a Roman prison — on death row for preaching the gospel of Christ (1:13).
- Some Christian preachers were glad to have him out of the way and were trying to take over his ministry (1:15-17).
- He was tired from working so hard at his ministry (1:19-23).
- His helper got homesick and abandoned him (2:25-26).
- Religious people were judging and criticizing him (3:2).
- Two of his ministry colleagues in Philippi were at odds and he was caught in the crossfire (4:2).
Increasingly in our world today, Christians are being abused and imprisoned for their faith like Paul was. Hopefully, that’s not you. But maybe you relate to some of Paul’s other problems like being put down by a competitor, rejected, judged, or stressed by conflict with loved ones.
What hardship or stress are you dealing with today? Let’s take a moment in quiet prayer to name that…
Now, let’s stand in the spray of Paul’s surging fountain of enthusiasm and let his happy words/phrases (from the MSG Bible) in Philippians wash over us!
Grace and peace. Exclamations of thanks. Glad heart. So pleased. Flourishing. Flourish. Bountiful in fruits from the soul. Prospered. Cheer. Celebration. More life! I can’t lose. Joy. Praising Christ. Enjoying each other. Good news. Honored. Glorious honor. Energetic. Energy. God’s energy. Energy. The most pleasure. Cheerfully. A breath of fresh air. Good living. Rejoice. Your rejoicing. My rejoicing. Delighted. Hale and hearty. Rejoice. Grand welcome. Joyful embrace. Glad in God. Filling the air with Christ’s praise. High privilege. Embrace Christ. Embraced by Christ. Robust. Resurrection power. Resurrection. Wondrous. To Jesus I’m off and running. We’re citizens of high heaven! Glorious bodies. Beautiful and whole. Joy. Celebrate God. Revel. God’s wholeness. Wonderful. Gracious. Beautiful. Most excellent harmonies. Glad in God. Far happier. Happy. Quite content. Happy. Happy. Beautiful. Blessing. Sweet-smelling. Fragrance. Pleasing. Generosity exceeding. Abounds in glory.
Amazing Grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, deep, deep within yourselves!!!
Clearly, the hidden source of Paul’s triumphant joy in suffering is the amazing grace of Christ.
Consider how Christ-centered Paul was. If his letter to the Philippians were a sermon it’d be a 14 ½ minutes. (Long-winded preachers take note!) In that time span he mentions Jesus 70 times!* Seventy again! He’s praising the Lord Jesus Christ five times every minute!
Sadly, many Christian sermons and books today rarely even mention Jesus.
We lose joy and power if we’re not Christ-centered. That’s why I’ve drawn the connection between Paul’s 70 happy words and his 70 references to Christ.
Enthralling our mind and heart with Jesus Christ as Paul did is our source of joy and power!
Lord God, we ask you to help us in all situations to keep beholding your beauty and goodness in Jesus Christ so that we smile and sing with joy!
*Sometimes Paul refers to Jesus by other terms like “Christ”, “Lord”, or “him”.
Joy in Jesus!
Join in on the conversation between Bill and Kristi as they share on joy and delighting in Jesus and one another!
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