“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 1:3-6
A form of the word “joy,” “rejoice” or “glad” occurs 15 times in the letter Paul wrote to Christians at the church in Philippi, Greece. Paul first visited the city of Philippi during his second missionary journey (AD 49-51), and his account is recorded in Acts 16. Approximately 11 years later (AD 62), while imprisoned in Rome, Paul wrote to his fellow believers about living a life characterized by joy and where to find it.
Paul found joy in making the Gospel central to his life. Specifically, he rejoiced in the fellowship or “partnership in the Gospel” that he had with fellow Christians in the church at Philippi. These people were on his mind, in his heart and in his prayers. Close relationships with other Christians bring joy to our lives.
Additionally, Paul found joy in working “to advance the Gospel.” Even in his imprisonment and in the face of critics, Paul joyfully spoke about Jesus. For Paul, as well as for us, joy is found when we view opposition as opportunities to share Christ’s love with others.
Finally, joy is realized in living out “the faith of the Gospel.” Paul wrote about standing and striving to live a life in which our behavior accurately reflects our beliefs. Our actions should match our words. The starting point for joy is a life centered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
— Jeff Totten, Detroit Tigers chaplain
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