Philippians 2:14-17 presents joy in several ways. My joy is increased:
- godly character leads to joy in my life because of Christ’s work in me.
- sharing the gospel and investing in others brings joy.
- mutual joy is to be had for both you and me over what Christ is doing and will do in/through us both individually and as a group of believers.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all.” Paul is continuing in these verses with the conclusions he made about our lives due to Christ’s power, sovereignty and sacrifice in Philippians 2:5-11. Ours is to be a life filled with integrity and humility as we strive to live together peacefully, in harmony, and shine as a light in the darkness for those who do no know Jesus. The gospel we offer, sometimes at great personal sacrifice, is a light holding promise of eternity for others. Paul says he receives joy as he looks at their lives and his own in light of eternity and work done in Christ’s name. He also claims joy that knowing other believers, working with them in ministry as he sees the work of Christ in his own life and in their lives. This brings mutual joy and gives him cause for rejoicing.
What about you? Do you rejoice in the growth you see in your own life as you strive daily to be more and more like Jesus? Do you feel joy when you share the gospel of Christ with others or take advantage of the opportunities God provides to praise and glorify His name? Do you have joy when you work with others in ministry for both yourself and those you are working with? Paul says all of these circumstances should bring us joy. I pray that you will see each of these in your own life and praise Him for the joy He brings!
In today’s passage Paul exhorts believers to be wise, make the most of every opportunity to witness for Christ, be thoughtful, temperate with our drinking, filled with the Holy Spirit and always have an attitude of thankfulness. Does that describe you?
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:15-20
Do you look for opportunities to tell others about Jesus? Are you prone to overindulgence or letting addictions control your actions? Or do you rejoice with other Christians in singing, worship and studying together to bring praise and honor to God. Are you thankful in all circumstances? The pressures of life pile upon us each day, and it is how we handle those pressures that counts. Do you turn to God for help, assurance or courage? Or do you try to go it alone with an ‘I can do it attitude’? Dependence upon God is not weakness but an opportunity for His grace to abound even more. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “But he (Jesus) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Our weaknesses allow Him to show His strength through us. His grace, his undeserved favor, is enough to cover all situations.
Paul is serious about how we live our lives and the impact we have upon those around us for both believers and non- believers. It matters to God how we live and work in the world. It matters to Him as He desires the best for us which is only available through Christ. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, how I live my life for Him matters.
Let His grace abound in your life today as you strive to glorify Him in all you say and do.