Philippians – Radical Joy
The beat goes on, the beat goes on
Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain
La de da de de, la de da de da
This popular song was introduced while I was in high school by Sonny and Cher. It was sung at his funeral. I don’t know why, but it popped into my head as I read Paul’s celebration and proclamation that, no matter what, The Message of Jesus Christ cannot and will not be squelched! Paul, in jail, celebrates how well the church is doing in proclaiming Christ. “I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered.” Prospered!! What an attitude! What a joyful perspective Paul has all because of knowing Jesus Christ intimately.
Even those who are “doing church” instead of being the church, to get what they can for themselves while Paul is in prison, does not phase him. He is celebrating that, no matter what, Jesus is more and more accurately known to all. Can you hear the exuberant enthusiasm in his words? “They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit!” Paul thanks the Philippian church for their prayers, “through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the spirit of Jesus Chris, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done.”
Do we get hung up in our circumstances? It is in those circumstance that we come closer to God and learn more about Him. Don’t miss that opportunity!
Do we stop being and living and telling the Truth of Christ just because of a few rough places in our lives? It is in the middle of difficulty where intimacy with God is felt and grows exponentially!
Do we compare our church with another and try to sarcastically bring them down with our comments? As long as Christ is proclaimed, celebrate! Don’t compete, pray for each other! Do what God wants you to do but above all, preach Jesus!
Do we live for Christ…no matter what? Do we have the attitude, “I can’t lose!”, like Paul? I pray we do. We really can’t lose with Jesus Christ as Lord!
Yes, no matter what, the Beat goes on and on and on…. The “beat” is Jesus Christ, the beat of our heart.
Philippians 1, The Message
They Can’t Imprison the Message
12-14 I want to report to you, friends, that my imprisonment here has had the opposite of its intended effect. Instead of being squelched, the Message has actually prospered. All the soldiers here, and everyone else, too, found out that I’m in jail because of this Messiah. That piqued their curiosity, and now they’ve learned all about him. Not only that, but most of the followers of Jesus here have become far more sure of themselves in the faith than ever, speaking out fearlessly about God, about the Messiah.
15-17 It’s true that some here preach Christ because with me out of the way, they think they’ll step right into the spotlight. But the others do it with the best heart in the world. One group is motivated by pure love, knowing that I am here defending the Message, wanting to help. The others, now that I’m out of the picture, are merely greedy, hoping to get something out of it for themselves. Their motives are bad. They see me as their competition, and so the worse it goes for me, the better—they think—for them.
18-21 So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!
And I’m going to keep that celebration going because I know how it’s going to turn out. Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. On the contrary, everything happening to me in this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately known, regardless of whether I live or die. They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a pulpit! Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Our hearts, minds and souls rejoice because of you this morning. You have reminded us how intimately you love us. You are the beat of my heart. You are God and i am not. No matter what, to live is Christ. To die is eternal life with You! I can’t lose. What joy to know you. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. Continue to transform me. Transform your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen