It seems ironic that Paul’s letter from jail to the Philippians has the most occurrences of the words joy and rejoice. But on closer inspection, I see there were several reasons for his rejoicing – all having to do with him remembering!
- Remembering God’s Sovereignty!
Paul welcomed every circumstance from God equally, because he was confident God was in control, trustworthy, and good.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21 NIV)
In death, Paul would be present with the Lord – JOY! In life, Paul knew he would continue to preach Jesus Christ and serve believers – JOY! Even in his captivity, Paul recognized God’s hand at work – Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:18 NIV)
My friends, God is in control of our world! We can trust him with our health, with our safety, with our future. As we feel out of control, let us encourage one another remembering how God has been faithful to us in the past – healing, comforting, reviving us.
If you have not ever experienced the peace found in the hand of God, seek him in Jesus Christ and in his word (the Bible). He promises to respond to the sincere seeker.
But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29 NIV)
- Remembering God’s People!
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…It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart… (Philippians 1:3-4,7 NIV)
Paul had a long-standing relationship with the people in the church at Philippi. As he traveled, they prayed for him, sent him financial gifts, and even sent people to help him with the ministry. So, it’s not surprising Paul prays with joy when he remembers his friends.
It’s hard to feel joyful when we’re isolated, fearful, and divided. But, Paul reminds me in these verses, to remember those who are dear to my heart – friends and family who’ve encouraged me, supported me, loved me unconditionally, and introduced me to Jesus Christ.
Remember those people who God has placed in your life! Pray for them. Thank God for them. Reach out to them. Enjoy them!
- Remembering God’s Plan!
Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance…I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith…(Philippians 1:18-19 NIV)
God has a plan and it is for our good and for his glory! We too can confidently say, through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance!
Be encouraged my friends, God is working through the circumstances of our lives for our good!
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Remember and Rejoice!