Philippians – The Joy of Knowing Christ
Up Close and Personal with the Apostle Paul Series
Philippians 1:20-21 (KJB) According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Never is there any shame in identifying with Christ. God harbors no condemnation for your past, no matter how dark and dismal it may seem. Even in the lowest of the lowest moments God offers mercy, joy, and hope. Often this can be when others might choose to wag a finger attempting to censure your life because it does not meet their standards. Others may take on look at your worst moment and turn their head swiftly in the other direction, not willing to get involved, but God remains at your side just waiting for you to turn your attention back to Him for He can handle any situation brewing in your life.
It is true, God’s spiritual eraser stands ready to wipe away any cumulating effect from the dirt and debris of this world as He continues to fill your heart to overflowing with the incessant joy of the Lord. This joy does not depend on immediate circumstances or fall away from your heart precipitously at the first sign of persecution when you make a wayward choice, or as you fall flat on your face in the midst of overwhelming trials and troubles. No, God can and will use every moment, bit, and crumb of your life to magnify Himself. Yes, He desires to shine brightly through any cracks and crevices found in your life.
It is true, the joy of the Lord is a permanent fixture in the life of a genuine child of God, even in discouraging moments of life. God can use your tears, your trials, and your personal testament to move you on to a better season of life. He can use your walk with Him to catch the attention of other spiritually hungry individuals full of questions about life and God and struggling in their circumstances.
The life of a child of God and his walk in this world is often a moment by moment journey. If a child of God had everything together and was perfect, there would be no need for Jesus Christ’s substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection, or for the continual presence of God to will and work in his life. Instead, a child of God is a fine mess but one who identifies personally with Christ, and is God’s mess.
Perhaps new professing Christians should wear a caution sign as they venture about in this world. There new spiritual life begins as an infant, goes to baby steps, and eventually progresses to a greater and greater spiritual maturity coupled with the wisdom of God and obedience to His direction and will for their life. However, from the outside, he or she may appear to be spiritually unkept and not “put together” by God.
Every child of God has supernatural hope and joy buried in their heart, flourishing in their mind, and an unconditional peace that reaches beyond any circumstance or situation at work in this world though it might not be visible from outside to mankind, God knows. This state of heart and mind is only possible through having the indwelling supernatural nature and power of God. This unending expectation and anticipation of every child of God is found only inside a spiritually thriving personal relationship with God.
The Apostle Paul counted everything he had gained in the past in this world (power, position, and earthly authority) as a loss in this world (Philippians 3:7-10) except the knowledge of the Lord at work in His life. He was willing and ready to serve and savor God, even unto death if that was necessary for following the will of God. He counted his life on this earth as dung when compared to retiring in eternal fellowship with God forever. Many people would be hard-pressed in attempting to live such a life wholly dedicated to the Lord as did the Apostle Paul (Galatians 2:20) but in eternity, doing so will be worth it all!
The joy of the Lord is personal, perpetual, palpable, and supernaturally peaceful; whether a soul is alive on this earth, entering physical death, or dwelling in fellowship with God in eternity His peace continually washes over a renewed soul and keeps a man standing as a bold reflection and testimony of Jesus Christ.
This lasting joy mirrors the sufficiency of God, His authority on heaven and earth, it exults Him; who He is and always will be. This supernatural joy acts as a glue promoting among believers, it encourages their rejoicing in Christ, to share in the shame and suffering of Christ unto death if that be God’s will. The joy of the Lord gives a regenerated man peace with Christ, self, his situation and with others in any circumstance of life.
**In the next devotion in this series Up Close and Personal with the Apostle Paul is titled Creator, Savior, and Sustainer
Please read other devotions previously released in this series below: