Philippians

Overview

THE WORD happiness evokes visions of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning, strolling hand in hand with the one you love, being surprised on your birthday, responding with unbridled laughter to a comedian, or vacationing in an exotic locale. Everyone wants to be happy; we make chasing this elusive ideal a lifelong pursuit: spending money, collecting things, and searching for new experiences. But if happiness depends on our circumstances, what happens when the toys rust, loved ones die, health deteriorates, money is stolen, and the party’s over? Often happiness flees and despair sets in. In contrast to happiness stands joy. Running deeper and stronger, joy is the quiet, confident assurance of God’s love and work in our life—that he will be there no matter what! Happiness depends on happenings, but joy depends on Christ.

Philippians is Paul’s joy letter. The church in that Macedonian city had been a great encouragement to Paul. The Philippian believers had enjoyed a very special relationship with Paul, so he wrote them a personal expression of his love and affection. They had brought him great joy (4:1). Philippians is also a joyful book because it emphasizes the real joy of the Christian life. The concept of rejoicing or joy appears sixteen times in four chapters, and the pages radiate this positive message, culminating in the exhortation to “always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (4:4).

In a life dedicated to serving Christ, Paul had faced excruciating poverty, abundant wealth, and everything in between. He even wrote this joyful letter from prison. Whatever the circumstances, Paul had learned to be content (4:11-12), finding real joy as he focused all of his attention and energy on knowing Christ (3:8) and obeying him (3:12-13).Paul’s desire to know Christ above all else is wonderfully expressed in the following words: “Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ and become one with him. . . . As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death” (3:8-10). May we share Paul’s aspiration and seek to know Jesus Christ more and more. Rejoice with Paul in Philippians, and rededicate yourself to finding joy in Christ.
Purpose
To thank the Philippians for the gift they had sent St Paul and to strengthen these believers by shown them that true joy comes from Jesus Christ alone.

 

Author: St Paul

Date Written: Approximately between A.D. 61 from Rome during St Paul’s imprisonment there. 

Key Verse: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again Rejoice Philippians 4:4

 

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