Philippians 1:3-5 ESV I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, (4) always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, (5) because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
The Apostle Paul wrote some hard truths in the fourteen books he penned. However, when he wrote to the church of Philippi he spoke a lot about the joy of the Lord and the joy he had in them as a group of believers.
If there is one thing that is needed among the body of Christ today, it is true Biblical joy. When we speak about joy we are not speaking about an emotion although emotions can be involved. Joy is one of the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit more than an emotional feel good list. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the character of God. It is not just what God does but who God is. It is true that God loves us as an emotion, but the reality of love is that God is love an it is a love of action. We would say on our point of view that it is a love that feels good but from God's point of view it is a love that gives a lot. The same is true with joy, peace, faith and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23 ESV But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
I recommend that all believers read and reread the Book of Philippians. We are living in a day of discouragement when many believers are walking around with discouraged and offended hearts. If left unchecked these discouraged and offended hearts will become faithless hearts.
The Apostle Paul saw this in the troubled Christian groups at Corinth and Galatia as discouraged and offended hearts caused believers to stray away to false teachings and then walking away from the faith. I see it everyday in the ministry. Believers who once went to God and His Word for answers, now seek answers to their problems from lost ungodly public figures. The joy that once came from the Word and fellowship with God and other believers has been exchanged for false worldly joy that comes from medications, alcohol and worldly behavior.
As we look at the teachings of the Book of Philippians each day we will see that the key theme is “REJOICE”. To battle a discouraged and offended heart Paul saw that the best weapon was our learning to be a joyful people in the Lord. It is not the changing of our circumstances to bring about joy, but the changing of our heart and our mind in how we view and act in and through our circumstances.
In our church services things will never be perfect in our own eyes. The music will always be too loud or too soft, too long or too short, too fast or too slow. The preaching will always be too long or too short, too general or too personal. The church will always be too hot or too cold, to friendly and hugging or not friendly at all. The preacher will either be speaking to much about money and giving or never talk about money or giving. The sermons will never be right because they will either always be evangelistic or never evangelistic. The church will always pray too much or too many times or they don’t pray enough. I stated all this because if we have a discouraged heart or an offended heart we can ALWAYS find something to fault.
But the Father would want us to rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSI Ministry, RSI School of Ministry, and RSI Publishing L.L.C..