Paul’s recipe for joy

First appeared as a Web Original on September 15, 2014

Paul’s letter to the Christians of the church he founded in Philippi is vibrant with deep, spiritual joy. He wants them to feel the same, sometimes hard-won, joy that he has, and so he admonishes them to “always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, New Living Translation). He tells these Philippian friends that they are his delight and the reward for his work. He loves them dearly and is grateful for their partnership in spreading the gospel of Christ, and for their generous financial aid. 

At the time the letter was written one of the church members, Epaphroditus, had brought the latest monetary gift, as well as news of the church, and stayed on to help Paul. This was welcome support since Paul was in prison awaiting trial before the Roman emperor. He didn’t know whether he would live or die. How then was it possible for him to feel joyful?

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