Daily Reading: (Philippians 1:3-6):
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Joy is a central theme in the book of Philippians. There are 15 explicit references to some form of either the noun “joy” (chara in Greek) or the verb “rejoice” (chairo) in this short letter.
In Hebrew, the number 15 signifies a new direction. The number 15 in Hebrew, is “Yod Hey,” is a symbol of the inspiration that comes from the Holy Spirit, and this inspiration gives a new meaning to life and makes way for a new direction. Joy is what has been given to every believer in Jesus Christ. The number five is the number for grace and with fifteen being a multiple of five, fifteen implies salvation, healing, redemption, ascending, and fullness. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Paul writes 15 explicit references to a form of joy in this letter as he would also list 15 spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ in Ephesians 1.
The world tells you to pursue happiness but the difference with happiness from joy is that happiness is dependent upon what happens to us. One minute you can be happy, but the next minute when something bad happens where did my happiness go? Joy is different from happiness because joy does not depend on what is happening in my world in order for me to be joyful. Joy says God is in control of my circumstances. Our joy comes from and flows out of our relationship with God. Joy is a choice with the by-product of joy being peace. As I look to and spend time with Jesus, I enter rest, as I trust and delight in Him, and I find that joy abounds, overflows, is given to me in super abundance.
“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:3-6).
When things are not going so well for Paul (he is in prison as he writes this), one of the things he does is he thinks about what God is doing through the lives of others and it causes Paul to thank God every time he does it. Thanksgiving in Paul’s prayers results in his prayers being full of joy (Philippians 1:3-4).
What is joy? The Hebrew word for joy is defined as cheerfulness, calm delight, and gladness.
Here in verses 12 and 14 of Philippians chapter one: “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the Gospel. When you see your trial as a future testimony, you can rejoice in knowing God can use it for the Kingdom. “And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the Gospel without fear.”
What is it that brings calm delight to your life? For Paul it was brothers and sisters in Christ, which is wonderful. For you it might be your family that leads you to give thanks and brings you to a place of joyful prayers. Think about Jesus. No matter what we go through we just need to be reminded of who we are in Christ, and what is ours in Christ. That is why later in the same letter Paul says the following: “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
If it were not for Paul’s prison time, we wouldn’t have much of the New Testament. His imprisonment had purpose and great value, it has been helping believers for centuries and many have been saved because of the things that Paul wrote in this letter to the Philippians that the Holy Spirit has used time and time again.
“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6). I believe that verse 6 is also key to bringing us calm delight. Often in my life when I feel pressure, stressed, and not very joyful it is because something has happened that has brought me to a place where I start to doubt whether I am going to be able to accomplish at I think I need to do. When you put your trust in God that nothing will stop the work of God in your life, this will lead you to rejoice always. The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. This is because you have put your confidence not in your ability, or in the apparent favorableness of your circumstances that are always changing. What you have done is you recognize He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. God has ordained special things in your life that you will get to be a part of that He will also complete. Sometimes we will experience some prison-like situations because the trials reveal the genuineness of our faith, which brings praise, honor, and glory to God. Our trials allow the testimonies to come forward and for others to hear and believe the Gospel message. So, rejoice that you are in Christ and He is doing a good work in your life.