“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” (Henri J.M. Nouwen) Believers in Jesus have every reason to be JOYFUL! We are studying the use of this term JOY in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians and are looking at his thirteenth use of that term this morning. What a wonderful statement Paul makes in chapter 4! There we read:
1 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends! (ch. 4)
Wow! Can you say of another believer or group of believers, “You are my JOY and crown”? What a statement! Just because we aren’t to find our ultimate JOY in other fallible, fallen, finite people doesn’t mean that we can’t find serious and true JOY in them.
Please notice that Paul’s affection for these believers involves both love and longing. He doesn’t just love them; he longs for their spiritual growth and even commands them to “stand firm in the Lord.” The JOY that we find in other members of God’s family should not be primarily based on similar political issues or athletic loyalty or avocational likes, but on a recognition of their connectedness to Christ. And that kind of JOY doesn’t fluctuate with the wind. It motivates us to long for and pray for their standing firm in the things of the Lord!