SUNDAY, 19 NOVEMBER 2017
Joy is meant to be a hallmark of the Christian life. Paul’s life was filled with heavenly joy up to the brim, so he could share that joy to others even from inside the jail. The message of joy is the main theme of the letter to Philippians. Paul repeated it again and again, so the taste of real joy become very strong within those 4 chapters. We need to be thankful as we can learn lot aspects of real joy from this book and then challenge ourselves to practice all keys of joy found in it.
The first and biggest heavenly joy is happened when someone receive Jesus as the only Saviour in life and we called this as joy of salvation. This first joy need to be revived and celebrated day by day, so we can always experience that joy through our daily life. God called us to be forgiven and then He gives us the power to forgive others. Gospel is the good news when someone is forgiven, and that good news will also give us strength to forgive anyone surround us. We called this as joy of the gospel Phil1.4-5.
The next joy that Paul mentioned is joy of unity Phil2.1-4. We will get more heavenly joy whenever we can experience unity. This unity must be started within us! David said: “Unite my heart to fear Your name” Ps86.11. Jesus always teach us to love Him with ALL of our heart Mt22.37. The unity is started within our heart, we need to learn to do everything with our whole heart! The next step of unity is found within the marriage Mt19.6. Husband and wife are no more two but ONE flesh and what God has joined together let not man separate! Marriage is the place where God already designed and prepared for His children, so they can experience heavenly joy! The strong unity between husband and wife will give a great impact to create the unity within the family so they can declare as one family to always worship God just like what happened with Joshua and his family Jos24.15.
The last kind of joy that we are going to learn from the letter to Philippians is the joy of prayer!
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 NKJV
23 “And in that day, you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24 NKJV
LET’S PRAY! NO WORRIES!
The enemy of joy is worries! After Paul emphasized twice the importance of rejoice in the Lord, Paul said: don’t worry about anything, but PRAY and ask God! Everyone can be worry for everything because we have a very good brain to think about everything and good eyes to see and compare everything. But instead of overwhelmed with worries, God teach us to find ourselves inside the prayer room, so we can receive His joy and overcome the attack of anxiety!
We need to push ourselves to pray until we really receive that heavenly joy which able to destroy the sting of anxiety. People like to say that anxiety like an electrical surge while another may say that anxiety is like a spiky thorny ball which always bring hurts everywhere it may move. We cannot overcome the anxiety with our own strength since we aware that we cannot do everything. The only best answer is asking the Mighty God to stand in our side and hold our hands, and these things can only be happened when we submit ourselves quietly in His presence.
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. Matthew 6:5-8 NKJV
Prayer is an ultimate and most intimate moment that we need to create with God! Prayer is not meant to be seen by men just like what the hypocrites did! Jesus encouraged us to have a personal relationship with Him alone, so we can grab that real joy! Indeed, God already prepared the best joy we can ever received within our prayer room. Father God who sees in secret will reward us openly! Even though God already knew everything, but God always like to wait patiently until we humble ourselves and come into His presence. God promised that He will reward us. The word “reward” also has a definition as “conjugal duty”. Whenever we come to His presence in humbleness and start to lift our prayer, the process of conjugation is happening, we can let all of our requests be made known to God and He will make it all come right. God will help us to discern between what does we really need and which one only ambition for our prestige. God will help us to put our priority in the correct order, so we are not overwhelmed with all of our issues at the same time. Even God can help us to find out what is the real problem, solve it from the roots, so we can have the best solution and then rejoice in the Lord! Whenever this process of conjugation initiated, God promised that He will reward us, He will perform His conjugal duty! Jesus encouraged us to pray so our joy can be full, Jesus wait for us patiently and He is ready to comfort us whenever we ready to start that conjugation! Let’s pray because God is ready to throw our worries.
In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19 NKJV
THE GUARD OF PEACE
Paul wrote that we are able to rejoice more and more because the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ Phil4.6. We can always rejoice knowing that God Himself gives a guarantee for peace of mind.
Back to the life of Paul, it was happened when Paul came in the midst of storm, but he was able to overcome his worries with heavenly joy! As prisoner, the Romans soldier brought Paul chained in a big ship sailing to Rome. Somehow, a very strong wind called the Euroclydon came from across the island and caught the ship. Nothing could be done unless let the wind drive the ship!
18 And because we were exceedingly tempest-tossed, the next day they lightened the ship. 19 On the third day we threw the ship’s tackle overboard with our own hands. 20 Now when neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest beat on us, all hope that we would be saved was finally given up. 21 But after long abstinence from food, then Paul stood in the midst of them and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. 22 And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ 25 Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. 26 However, we must run aground on a certain island.” Acts 27:18-26 NKJV
Even without food and lived in uncertainty for many days, Paul decided not to be overwhelmed with anxiety but come to God in prayer! When the conjugation process between God and Paul had been initiated, God always promise us to fulfil His conjugal duty. God sent the angel to comfort Paul and gave a guarantee that Paul will meet Caesar. The peace of God gave an ultimate strength for Paul, so he can be a big blessing to all people in that ship! The joy from heaven will also help us to live in that abundant joy so we can give a good impact for others.
We may face another kind of Euroclydon in our life. No matter how big we already prepare our boat with our own strength, but still the wind always able to catch us and made something in our life going not right, so we become aware that only God can set us free from all anxiety! Never forget the urgency of prayer, never ignore that wonderful moment, and let’s come into agreement with God that He is more than able to fulfil His promise in our life! The peace of God is a true and strong evidence how God is able to answer and help us. The peace of God will help us, so we can still have a good appetite and a sound mind. The peace of God will guard us, so we can always look upon His promises and keep believing on it! Let’s keep our feet on this great journey knowing that we are reaching that great and real joy, the joy that will never be given by this world, the joy that not fragile at all but keep shining even in the midst of trouble. AMEN.