"I rejoice and share my joy with you all" (Philippians 2:17)
True joy is directly related to godly living
Philippians is often called the epistle of joy, and rightly so because the believer's joy is its major theme. Paul loved the Philippine Christians, and they loved him. When they learned that he had been imprisoned for preaching the gospel, they were deeply concerned.
Paul wrote to alleviate their fears and to encourage their joy. Of his own circumstances he said, "Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. And you too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me" (Phil. 2:17-18).
Often a Jewish animal sacrifice was accompanied by a libation of drink offering (Num. 15:1-10). The animal was the greater sacrifice, the libation the lesser. Drawing from that picture, Paul placed greater significance on the faith and spiritual well-being of his readers than on his own life. To suffer for Christ's sake brought him joy, and he wanted the Philippians to understand that perspective and to rejoice with him.
He also wanted them to understand that joy doesn't operate in a vacuum. It's directly related to godly living. Christ is its source, obedience its sustenance. We see this in David's cry of repentance: "Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation" (Psalm 51:12). Paul knew the joy of the Lord because he trusted Christ and obeyed His will.
The scarcity of joy and godliness in the world today makes it imperative that Christians manifest those characteristics. As we do, others will see our good works and will glorify our Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16).
Read Philippians 1:1-11 and Colossians 1:9-12. I pray that you will learn from God's Word and will willingly obey what you learn, for therein is "joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8).
Suggestions for Prayer: Ask the Holy Spirit to use our daily studies to strengthen your joy and to increase your godliness. Seek to emulate Paul's attitude of preferring others to yourself - a key element in joyful living.
For Further Study: Read the book of Philippians, noting each reference to joy. What brought joy to Paul? On what or whom do you rely for joy?