“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation.” – Psalm 35:9
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I’m studying through the book of Philippians, and one of the major ideas throughout the book is having joy. The author of the book is the apostle Paul (Philippians 1:1). Traditionally, the book of Philippians is believed to have been written between A.D. 61 and 63 while Paul was imprisoned in Rome. Although he was in prison, Paul had a lot to say about joy.
He began his letter by reminding the Christians in Philippi that in all his prayers he made request for them all “with joy” (Php. 1:4). He encouraged them that although he wanted to depart and be with the Lord that he would remain and continue with them for their progress and “joy of faith” (Php. 1:25). Then Paul admonished the Philippian church writing, “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Php. 2:2). The Christians there were his “joy and crown” (Php. 4:1).
Paul also penned the word rejoice several times in his letter to the Philippians. He said that he rejoiced and will rejoice because Christ is preached (Php. 1:18). He exhorted the church to hold fast to the word of life so that he may rejoice in the day of Christ knowing that his labor was not in vain (Php. 2:16). Then Paul exclaimed, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Php. 4:4).
Where did Paul get all this joy? I mean, he was in prison, right? And this was the same Paul who was beaten three times with rods, stoned, and thrice shipwrecked (2 Cor. 11:24-26). In addition to that, he had a thorn in his flesh (2 Cor. 12:7).
But Paul still had joy.
In the midst of challenging circumstances, Paul was joyful and encouraged fellow members of the body of Christ to be joyful as well. He said that we should be like-minded and that we should imitate him (1 Cor. 4:6).
“Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1
We, too, can have joy like Paul and rejoice in the midst of our trials. No matter what we’re going through, we can have joy. It doesn’t mean we walk around with smiles all the time, but it means that we have inner comfort and gladness of soul because we know that we serve a risen Savior.
Do you have joy? You can have the joy that Paul talked about and you can rejoice in Christ. If you want that joy, all you have to do is obey him. Believe that Jesus is Lord (John 8:24). Repent of your sins (Luke 13:3). Confess the name of Jesus (Matthew 10:32-33). And be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins (Mark 16:16). Then you can have that inner gladness of heart – the joy of the Lord.
Let’s be like Paul and rejoice!
“[…] Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.'” – Nehemiah 8:10
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