|One of the recurring themes of Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians is that of true Christian joy. This joy is not an emotion that is dependent upon favorable circumstances, but a joy which is rooted in an abiding, intimate fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Out of this relationship, a trust develops that God is able to work in our life circumstances, whether pleasant or adverse, to bring about good for us and glory for Him.
The counter approach is to place our trust in anything or anyone else but God. We might trust only in ourselves, or in another person whom we admire. We might place our trust in an institution – a church, a school, a job, the government. But the only place we will find lasting joy is in trusting God.
Paul understood this secret which Nehemiah proclaimed, “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10b) Through imprisonments, shipwrecks, beatings, sickness, being stoned and left for dead, Paul continually lived out the joyful Christian life. As we navigate through life’s challenges this week, I pray, too, that we will discover and experience this same truth. The Joy of the Lord is Our Strength!