Philippians part 1
Part 1 There’s Joy for the Grateful
Paul’s letter to the members of the church in Philippi is full of joy.
You wouldn’t think he was writing to them from prison for there’s no complaining or self-pity.
Rather we find an overflow of gratitude and joy that flows from his pen.
Just dip into this letter at any point and you will find gratitude and its partner joy.
Here are a few examples:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with JOY. 1: 3,4
Yes, and I will REJOICE, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance 1:18,19
I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and JOY in the faith 1: 25
Complete my JOY by being of the same mind, having the same love 2:2
Finally, my brothers, REJOICE in the Lord. 3:1
My brothers, whom I love and long for, my JOY and crown 4:1
REJOICE in the Lord always; again I will say, REJOICE. 4:4
He tells them to ‘do all things without grumbling or questioning’ [2:14] whatever the circumstances because he knows the harm this can bring. Oh, the negative affect moaning and complaining have on our lives and relationships! Such people who indulge in this are ministers of the ‘wet blanket’, dampening fires of vision, enthusiasm and joy. They can be a drain on the church. Their complaining exposes a lack of trust in God.
Being grateful, however, reveals a humble attitude and makes way for a person to be able to receive from God and others. Thankful people are joyful people because they appreciate the simple things in life which they value as gifts from God. They help build up a church.
Regardless of a person’s temperament, being grateful is an attitude that can be learnt and developed. Indeed it is a command to obey! [4:4] At our staff meetings in the church, as we gather to pray each week, we spend the first period thanking God for who He is and for His many blessings, before we ask Him for anything. We find this a joyful and faith building exercise. It positions us to be in the place of receiving and hearing from God. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. 4: 6
The key to Paul’s joy and confidence is found in verse 7:
It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel.
There it is: the key is receiving God’s unmerited grace. We don’t deserve a thing – except to be left to our own devices of selfishness, sin and death.
God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us Rom 5:8
So then, will you cultivate a grateful heart? Before you ask for anything, first give thanks and let God’s joy fill you. I guarantee that as you practice the habit of expressing thanks to God you will be a better ‘receiver’ of all that he has to give you and faith will grow in your heart!.
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