Summary: Thankfulness (vv. 3 & 8) and joy go hand in hand. But joy and suffering-that’s different.
:-) There is the word rejoice again. Thankfulness (vv. 3 & 8) and joy go hand in hand. But joy and suffering-that’s different.
Joy in suffering
Where does joy come from?
We’ve already talked about joy, especially in Philippians. The root word is xara, pronounced kara. That word is found in a variety of Greek words, like gift and grace, and is the root of the English word character. Maybe joy comes from all three-we have received gifts of Christ and through Him salvation by grace. He works in us by His Spirit to build our character. Remembering the first two and developing the third, surely, leads to joy.
Grace, Gifts, & Character
From our side, grace is getting the gift we don’t deserve. Think about a time that you got a gift from someone you love-& you were simultaneously grateful and humbled by the gift (if you don’t love someone who has given you a gift-well, pray about making a change in your life). God’s gifts are like that, and specially the gift He has given of Himself. He offers salvation and relationship with Him freely, and affirms that gift with the most precious Gift of His Spirit, which brings us to the Gifts.
In some Christian circles people don’t like talking about the gifts of the Spirit. In other Christian circles they talk too much about the gifts of the Spirit, especially healing & power and prophecy and the like. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthian church, said those gifts were subsidiary and secondary and would eventually fade. For him, the greatest gift is love. (1 Corinthians 12, 13 & 14). Love is also listed among the fruit of the Spirit. In fact, it may be called THE fruit of the Spirit
For the fruit of the Spirit is love-which results in joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faith and self-control (Galatians 5). These gifts, and foremost, love, result in a kind of character that results in joy, and that joy does not diminish when circumstances get rough.
You want to be miserable? Try to figure out why things go wrong and why people betray you and do evil things against you. Set your mind on things going wrong. Think about politics and the people in power. Think about those who tell lies about you and to you.
You want joy? Pursue the Spirit of God.
You want joy? Pursue the character of God’s Spirit.
You want joy? Pursue love.
Prayer for Today
Thank you for the gifts you’ve given-the gift of Yourself, of Your Son, of Your Spirit.
Thank you for reaching out and initiating this relationship with You.
Thank you, LORD, for your willingness to work with me and mold me and shape my future according to Your will. Thank you for the blessings You long to pour into and through my life.
I want Your joy. Give me, I pray, Your Spirit (Luke 11:13).
Teach me to love.
Teach me to be truly grateful in all things, to know Your joy at all times and in all circumstances. Teach me to live this life of faith.
In the name of the One who came that I might be filled with Your joy (John 15:11)