I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things though him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13 ESV
The strength of which Paul is speaking is his JOY in the Lord. As spoken to the people in Nehemiah 8:10b The Joy of the Lord is your strength. Know that…. as it was for Paul and the people in Nehemiah’s day, so it is for us today. Joy in the Lord equals strength. This was more than just mere talk by Paul, for he was writing this letter from prison. He was hoping to come to the church at Philippi but did not know at the time whether he would live or die. Philippi was not a church to whom he was writing due to some issues they were having, but rather this was a letter of encouragement, thanksgiving, and council to continue to do well. There was only one reference to any problems in Philippi. In chapter four he addressed two women that had influence in the church who were having some conflict. He encouraged them to agree in the Lord. (vs 2) Paul in the letter made much of Jesus in his life and testified of the evidence of Jesus in the lives of others. In short, as he often does, Paul is making much of Jesus and the work He continues to do in his life and in the lives of others. Jesus was Paul’s reason for living, as it should be for every Christian, those who have been redeemed by the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus. When Jesus becomes your reason, then Jesus will control your life and make much of it to perpetuate the gospel of His good news. The good news is that God sent his only Son, Jesus, into the world to do for us what we could not do for ourselves…. redeem us from sin and its penalty.
I used the word JOY to make an acrostic to better understand how we might experience joy, which is not just a feeling but a position in life we choose to live out loud and on purpose.
When an individual lives for themselves they tend to be a miserable person, for nothing in life ever seems to satisfy. But Jesus lived on purpose as an example for us, that we might imitate his actions. That is, of course, if the person is in fact “in Christ Jesus” as referred to several times through out the letter of Philippians. Paul described Jesus’s example as follows.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not to his own interests, but to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by TAKING THE FORM OF A SERVANT, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:308 ESV
Jesus took us over when He came into our lives. We are no longer our own, for we have been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20&19-20 & 7:23)
Not that I have already reached the goal or am already perfect, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been TAKEN HOLD OF BY CHRIST JESUS. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 CSB I’ve heard it said, “live for something bigger than yourself,” and I cannot think of anything bigger than the love that God has for us. If we live our lives only for ourselves, then our life goals are way too small.
How you live should show evidence of Christ in you. Living in the Joy of the Lord will bring peace in your life for in truth nothing else really matters. All will burn, rust, or waste away in a landfill one day. Paul gave one final challenge to the church in Philippi, and it rings true for us today as if it were written yesterday.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the GOD OF PEACE WILL BE WITH YOU. Philippians 4:4-9 NIV
Joy is the address where the Christian lives. Joy many times is something the person experiences but cannot be duplicated for others. Joy comes from knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior. To know and experience true joy is truly knowing Jesus; for Jesus is our JOY.
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David