Recently started reading Philippians. We are going through the book as a core team and going through it with one of our neighborhood gatherings. I have always thought of the theme revolving around joy and just quickly concluded the joy was in reference to Jesus. Kind of that whole “Jesus loves you, be happy” kind of thinking, but it seemed there was always a disconnection. I would read that Jesus loves me, but I didn’t always “feel” joy. I still believe Jesus is the focus, however, recently seeing the practical part of that joy is found in how we live through Jesus.
In verse 5 chapter 1 Paul praises the Philippians for their partnership in the gospel. Often times it seems this partnership is reduced simply to their spiritual growth, however, the Philippians not only grew spiritually (vs. 5), but also suffered for the gospel personally (1:30), sent people (2:17), and supported the gospel financially (4:17). Often times we tend to think we are partnering in the gospel if we participate in one of those areas, however, scriptures seems to teach us that we will find our greatest joy when we are partnering in the advancement of the gospel at every level; spiritual growth, suffering, sending people, and financial support.
Perhaps this is why Paul felt a kinship with the Philippians, because he knew when he was in jail, there were others who were just as passionate and committed to seeing the gospel advance; a message where creation is redeemed and humanity is reconciled to its creator through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!