Today we begin the book of Philippians, a book centered around joy. This initially seems like a shocking central idea for a letter written by a man who is suffering in prison. Of all the circumstances that would seem to drain joy, being arrested, and placed in chains would seem to be one that would kill joy.
Yet Paul maintains throughout this letter that his joy remains. This can only be true if joy is derived from our relationship with God not our immediate physical circumstances. A helpful definition of joy is delighting in God and his good gifts. No matter the hardships we face, we can remain committed to delighting in God and his love and faithfulness to us despite our trials.
As Paul reflects on joy, he describes a life completely saturated by it. He prays with joy (v.4). He is filled with joy as he thinks about the gospel going out throughout the world (v.18). He has joy because he knows that God is faithful to his promises (v.19). Having Christ centered relationships fuel his joy (v.26). He takes all the good things that God has done in his life and around the world and uses them to fill up his joy.
As we continue through the rest of Philippians, I would encourage you to notice all the reasons that Paul finds to rejoice and learn to rejoice in your present circumstances.
Question of the day: What can you do today to experience greater joy?
God my Father, thank you for the joy which you make available to me today. Thank you that through your Spirit and the work of your Son I can experience joy in all situations. Help me to experience that reality today. Amen.