Philippians – Radical Joy
When we give every part of our being back to God, our Creator, and live in responsive obedience to Him, an everlasting, eternal, inner. undepletable joy us birthed! Joy doesn’t come from what is happening to us or around us. Joy comes from Jesus Christ, with Whom we do life with and during the journey called life here.
Living in the rhythm and flow of His grace, with our hearts beating in cadence with His heart, radical, inexplicable joy exudes from within us. We don’t create joy. Joy is part of knowing God through Jesus Christ and realizing the depth of love He has for us. Joy seeps into our being at the point of excepting His salvation and takes over every aspect of life as we begin to think more and more like Jesus who taught us to live in responsive obedience to God by His example.
I’m not sure joy is something we choose. (Bear with me while I think about this…) David cried out to God, “Restore the joy of YOUR salvation.” Salvation by Jesus Christ breeds joy that cannot be stolen or taken from us. If we are saved by God through Jesus Christ and believe and live as redeemed people, then joy is always there. The gift of salvation is wrapped in joy. Joy is not what we conjure up, or psyche ourselves up for in order to put a smile on our sadness in the bad times. Joy just is. Joy is always there no matter what. Eternal joy is not what we do, it’s what God’s salvation gives us as we follow Him in responsive obedience.
Other people can try to steal our happiness for a time, but they cannot rob us of our joy! We can choose to be happier when things go wrong, that is a perspective of attitude we can choose. But joy, everlasting joy, comes from God and it is part of God salvation to restore us to Himself. Can’t touch my joy!
Paul explains the joy of God’s salvation to us with clarity. He tells us how Jesus thinks and how we should respond which sustains and grows our joy. Read and be blessed…and responsive.
Philippians 2, The Message
He Took on the Status of a Slave
2 1-4 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
5-8 Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11 Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.
12-13 What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.
What do we learn?
–Joy comes with salvation. No one on earth can separate us from our salvation (and joy) that comes from God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
–We are redeemed to live in responsive obedience to God who bought us at a high price!
–Our new “status” as a redeemed believer is to follow Christ, learning to think and behave as He did. He laid down his status so that we can live with Him forever. “…he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave became human!” “It was an incredibly humbling process…he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death–the worst kind of death at that: a Crucifixion.” This is our status…to be more and more like Christ as we grow and mature in his love. Joy comes with the package of following Christ.
–“Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure.” That energy produces more and more joy! Joy produces more energy!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the joy of YOUR salvation in us which produces more of Your energy in us, giving us a desire to please You even more. It is a never ending circle of joy as You love us and we love you. Your joy produces energy and energy produces more joy! Thank you for restoring the Joy of YOUR salvation in us. We cannot do that for ourselves. Continue to transform me. Transform and restore the joy of Your salvation in your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen