Monday, November 29, 2010
In reading my study bible's introduction and some of my footnotes, this book seems to focus most on keeping our relationship with Christ no matter what. It is called the “joy letter”. Most of the main points seem to focus on being joyful in the Lord no matter what's going on around us, or in what situation we find ourselves. There is a difference between being happy, and being joyful. Happiness depends on happenings. Did work go well today. Did you get enough sleep last night. Did you get the promotion you wanted. Do you have a significant other. Is your family the best family to ever walk the planet. Everything's in working order. Life seems perfect. So we are happy.
Philippi was the first church established on the European continent. It was built in a trade route that joined the eastern empire of Rome with Italy. It was also a church made up entirely of Gentile believers. So in this book, Paul uses no references from the Old Testament... because they didn't know their old testament... it was unfamiliar to them and therefore, would have just been confusing. So Paul opted not to try and explain Christ from the Jewish perspective.
As Paul wrote this letter... he was locked away in a Roman prison. The verse that hit me when I was glancing through it this morning was 1:20. “For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ whether I live or die.” If only we could all have that mindset... If we as a church could speak without fear, without trepidation, without worrying about how we'll be perceived... If we could be willing to pay the price... even if it came down to life or death... Knowing that God's best will be done in us... and trusting Him to do it.
So... strive for a higher purpose... Yearn for heavenly purpose and let the world's desires for your life melt into the background... Make Jesus and the spreading of the gospel, your top priority. Your heart's one desire. And incomprehensible Joy will fill your soul.