Philippians – Radical Joy
Who do you want to hang out with most in life? Who is that person who smiles a lot, no matter what, and seems to exude unending inner joy, even when life around them seems to be falling apart. Describe them in your mind. Think about them right now. Praise God for them!
What traits do these joyful people have? I think of these characteristics immediately:
–Smiling eyes with the grin on their faces. Deep wrinkles have been formed because of their consistent smiles.
–Open arms, ready to offer a timely hug that is meaningful and appropriate.
–Listening ears intent on hearing and understanding without minds working on a answer. They just listen.
–They listen because they are learners. They love to learn about all kinds of things.
–They seem to be the one who will have an encouraging perspective to a difficult situation.
–They are problem solvers with “what if” instead of “but…”
–They are the first to volunteer to help out when needs arise.
–Their homes are open and inviting.
–They are humble and don’t know how much people want to be around them.
–They give life to those whose breath has been knocked out of them.
–They do more than trust in Christ, they know how to suffer for him. Trusting and suffering is considered a privileged joy.
–They are a delight, not a drain on the Kingdom of God.
I think of these character traits as I read Paul’s encouraging words to the church. He is a cheerleader as he suffers for Christ in jail. He is still a delight to the Kingdom work even though he sits in a dank dark hole chained to the wall of his jail cell. Wow.
“Live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ.”
“There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.”
Jesus told us there would be suffering. Paul positive perspective tells us to suffer for Christ is a gift! We become more and more like Christ in every one. Suffering is part of growing and maturing like Christ!
I have discovered that great people of endless joy God put in my path to help me grow, those whom I have admired and observed because they impressed me so much, all suffered great pain in hard circumstance in their past. They do not talk about the pain or the circumstance but give glory to God for helping them through it. Suffering made them greater in humility, joy, peace, gentleness, graciousness…all the fruits of God’s Holy Spirit. This is no coincidence. This is inner, inexplicable, unspeakable joy in Christ in the making while suffering in them imperfect world for Him!
Read and be blessed. See what you think….
Philippians 1, The Message
22-26 As long as I’m alive in this body, there is good work for me to do. If I had to choose right now, I hardly know which I’d choose. Hard choice! The desire to break camp here and be with Christ is powerful. Some days I can think of nothing better. But most days, because of what you are going through, I am sure that it’s better for me to stick it out here. So I plan to be around awhile, companion to you as your growth and joy in this life of trusting God continues. You can start looking forward to a great reunion when I come visit you again. We’ll be praising Christ, enjoying each other.
27-30 Meanwhile, live in such a way that you are a credit to the Message of Christ. Let nothing in your conduct hang on whether I come or not. Your conduct must be the same whether I show up to see things for myself or hear of it from a distance. Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition. Your courage and unity will show them what they’re up against: defeat for them, victory for you—and both because of God. There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. You’re involved in the same kind of struggle you saw me go through, on which you are now getting an updated report in this letter.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I do not want to be a drain on Your Kingdom work. Forgive me when I was. Thank you for teaching me about joy and encouragement. Thank you for not giving up on me and helping to see the importance of listening, learning and growing. Here I am. I’m Yours. Transform me. Transform Your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen