Note: Today we’re reading Philippians 1! If you have been a little behind, this is a great time to jump in.
Philippians is a book that centers on joy. We’ll see the word “joy” show up over and over again in this book. The funny thing is, Paul didn’t write this book from an especially joy giving spot. He wrote it sitting in a jail cell. He had been imprisoned for sharing about Jesus, and yet even in that dark place he found joy. We’ll look at one thing he says about joy from each chapter, but I encourage you to read the chapters on your own too! Let the Spirit speak to YOU though God’s word as we see the joy we have in Jesus.
The joy we see today is the joy of knowing God’s everlasting love. Paul says this as he begins his letter to the Christians in Philippi:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
– Philippians 1:3–6 ESV
We could say a lot about these verses, but I want to highlight just one thing. One of the reasons Paul can sit in a jail cell and still have joy is that he’s sure that the work that Jesus will do will be completed in each of our lives. In other words, no matter what happens in our lives, we can be sure of this: If you are in Christ, he’s still working on you. Jeremiah 3:13 says this really simply. God looks down at his people and says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” That’s a love that will never go anywhere. A love that will finish what it started.
God has saved us with a purpose. That purpose is what he’s working out in our lives day to day, that includes today. This sanctifying work in our lives isn’t easy. But we know that it is the work of God, and we know he’s not giving up on us. In light of this truth, Paul says these famous words:
“as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
– Philippians 1:20–22 ESV
We will not be ashamed. We live with the expectation that God will keep his promises and continue to work in us. So we join Paul and say, “To live is Christ!” This is our response to his everlasting love. We have joy, not because our circumstances are always perfect, but because our King is always on the throne working all things together for the good of those who love him.