Gratitude is a simple way to boost our joy.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

Paul exudes happiness in his letter to Christ-followers in Philippi. Filled with life and joy, he launches with the usual Greek style salutation. Paul begins with overwhelming thanks for them and ends with a heartfelt prayer, because he remembers the sweet fellowship he once had with these friends and sees what God has been doing through them while he sits in a Roman prison. It’s obvious that what matters the most to Paul is the spread of the Good News of Jesus Christ, and no circumstance or person can take away that joy. Paul’s happiness is rooted in the reality of God in his life and his experience of grace.

Paul’s story begins as he careens off his horse by the bright light of Christ Jesus. This dramatic conversion began his career in church planting. When he preached in the town of Philippi, the earthquake shook the prison doors open. As a result, the jailer, his family, and other town members launched the beginnings of a Christian church there. God saved Paul through persecution and used it to establish partnerships in the gospel with the believers in Philippi. That’s why Paul’s thankfulness overflows in remembrance of these life changing experiences. The more he suffered to make the love of the Lord known, the more Paul offers thanksgiving and overflows with joy.

In this salutation, Paul also prays fervently “to the glory, and praise of God!”  He is passionate about his friend’s perseverance in the faith, their good works, and the fruit of their righteousness. And, he deeply desires the Philippians to experience God’s grace and love – a love so divine, so pure, so perfect – and the joy of heaven on earth. With this perspective, Paul says “It is right for me to feel this way about you all. It is right for us to feel happiness and to praise God for the wonderful things we have in our life. Gratitude is a simple way to boost our joy. Make a list of the things you are most grateful for today.

By Donna Burns

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