The next several posts will be focusing on joy from the book of Philippians.
Christians can have extraordinary joy because we aren’t overly concerned with self.
Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
Selfish people are not joyful, it takes developing a servant heart to be joyful.
The world says that joy is found in self-indulgence. This idea assumes that sin doesn’t really exist. If it feels good, do it! Whatever feels right must be right, anything goes, just be happy! This excuse is used to justify anything and everything.
Paul mentions 4 personal examples of having a servant attitude in Philippians chapter 2.
If we continue reading there in Philippians 2:5 we see “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Jesus was a servant – “who, being in the form of God did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.”
As Christians, we are working by learning from God’s word how to bring our lives and our minds as close to and equal to the life and mind of Christ. That is the goal for us in Bible study, sermons, etc. We want to act like Jesus acted and do the things He did. At every opportunity, Jesus sought to serve other people, despite the fact that He is the creator! Jesus didn’t die on the cross because He was looking out for #1, but because he was looking out for the billions of people that weren’t even alive yet! In John 13 we read the account of washing the apostle’s feet. Jesus was teaching the lesson of service and self-sacrifice. The more Christ-like your actions become the more joy will show.
Paul himself is an example in service. 2:2 – “fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” Paul wanted the Philippian brethren to share that mind of service with him and with Christ. Paul was concerned about the Philippians. He said – if you want to make me joyful, be like minded, be of one accord, be of one love.
In vs. 19 we read of Timothy. “But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state for I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the thing which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character.” Paul wanted Timothy to go and report back to him about how Philippians were doing. Timothy was a servant – his job was to minister to the needs of his brethren.
Finally in vs. 25-29 Paul mentions yet another servant – Epaphroditus, his brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier who ministered to my need. Epaphroditus wanted to go to Philippi because he was concerned for the brethren, he wanted to show that he wasn’t sick any longer and that they could be joyful.
Christians find joy in not being self-centered, but being servants.