One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice.” When you consider that Paul wrote these words to the church of Philippi while he was imprisoned, it’s amazing to think that he was full of such joy. But why was he full of such great joy? I wanted to find the reasons, beyond the simple answer of his relationship with Christ, and I found at least 24 in this one letter alone. Consider the following reasons that to be a Christian is to have, just like Paul, access to tremendous joy here on earth.
Paul was full of great joy because:
- The church of Philippi partnered with him in the gospel (1:5).
- God brings all good works in His people to completion (1:6).
- His imprisonment meant that non-believers (the imperial guard) were hearing the gospel (1:13).
- Brothers in Christ were emboldened by Paul’s imprisonment to share the gospel without fear (1:14).
- Whether out of rivalry or love, the gospel was being proclaimed by others (1:18).
- Paul knows that through the prayers of the church of Phillipi and the help of Jesus, he will be delivered (1:19).
- He knows that to live is to labor for Christ, and to die is to be with Christ (1:21).
- He gets to increase the church of Philippi’s joy in Christ. (1:25).
- He derives joy from the unity in love of the church of Philippi (2:2).
- God works in His people to will and to work for His good pleasure (2:13).
- The Philippians’ faith is a sacrificial offering (2:17).
- God spared his friend Epaphroditus who was near death (2:27).
- He gets to increase the Philippians’ joy by sending Epaphroditus to them (2:28).
- He has the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus” (3:7).
- His righteousness is a gift from God; not a work of the law (3:9).
- He will attain the resurrection from the dead (3:11).
- God will transform his lowly body to be like His glorious body (3:21).
- The brothers and sisters of Philippi are his joy and crown (4:1).
- His fellow laborers in Christ are in the book of life (4:3).
- The peace of God guards believers’ hearts and minds in Christ (4:7).
- The Philippians’ concern for his well-being was revived (4:10).
- He has learned in whatever situation he is in to be content (4:11).
- He can do all things through Christ who gives him strength (4:13).
- God supplies all needs according to His riches in glory in Christ (4:19).
Does having great joy in Christ mean that we will always be comfortable and happy here on earth? Absolutely not. There will be times of great sorrow upon sorrow, but through it all we have communion with Jesus Christ who holds Infinite Joy in His hands and “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
* Gracias a mi amiga Zusset que creó el dibujo.