Philippians is a book of joy. The key verse of the book is Philippians 4:4. In addition, throughout the book, joy is the theme. The Greek word for joy is used 9 times and various related words (with prefixes, etc.) are used approximately another 7 times. Christmas is a season that should activate joy in our lives. But, our question is “Why joy?” Or “How joy?”
The Apostle Paul’s life is “Exhibit A” on how to have joy. Paul had a remarkable outlook on life. Consider his circumstances as he wrote Philippians. He is under house arrest.
But his present circumstances were not the only threat to his joy. Here’s what he wrote to the Corinthians.
Are they servants of Christ?
I’m talking like a madman—I’m a better one:
with far more labors,
many more imprisonments,
far worse beatings, near death many times.
24 Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans.
Once I was stoned by my enemies.
Three times I was shipwrecked.
I have spent a night and a day
in the open sea.
26 On frequent journeys, I faced
dangers from rivers,
dangers from robbers,
dangers from my own people,
dangers from the Gentiles,
dangers in the city,
dangers in the open country,
dangers on the sea,
and dangers among false brothers;
27 labor and hardship,
many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst,
often without food, cold, and lacking clothing.
28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
So from Paul’s testimony, we can draw several conclusions about joy.
1. Joy is not dependent on our circumstances.
2. Joy is a choice.
3. Joy is a gift from God.
4. Joy, like peace and hope, is ultimately found in a relationship with Jesus.
We are days now away from Christmas. Choose today to be a person of joy, not only for this Christmas season, but for life.