[I offer] prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all.
If you are over thirty years of age, you may remember a time before email, cell phones, or text messaging. Back then, even long-distance phone calls were expensive. So if you were separated by a great distance from someone you cared about and you wanted to communicate with that person, you would write a letter. Remember those?
My wife, Amy, and I have been together since our teenage years. While we were dating, there were times we would be separated. In high school we’d sometimes be apart from each other on family vacations, and in college we were separated by that great gulf between Austin and Waco. During those times, we would write letters to each other. Somewhere in our garage there are boxes filled with love letters that Amy and I wrote to each other over the years.
Love letters can express powerful emotions from the sender to the recipient. Did you know there are love letters in the Bible? The book of Philippians is a love letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Philippi. In these four chapters, Paul expressed his deep love for these Christians, whom he had met ten years earlier. He also gave them guidance about some problems they were facing in their church. But above all, in his love letter to the Philippians, the apostle Paul revealed how to experience outrageous joy and live above our circumstances. His love letter to the Philippians is overflowing with joy.
Now, Paul didn’t write this love letter from the comfort of a pastor’s study but from the confines of a Roman prison. There he was fastened in chains, tied to a Roman soldier. Nevertheless, Paul had learned how to live above his circumstances and experience joy no matter what he was going through. Over and over in this letter, he talked about rejoicing in the Lord always.
How can we, too, have that kind of joy? How can we rejoice in the Lord no matter what our circumstances? In Paul’s love letter to the Philippians, he showed us how to experience lasting joy no matter what is happening around us.
Take note of this: the same God who is working in the world is also working in your life right now. God has a plan for you. And God’s plan, everything He is working together in your life, is to accomplish one purpose. What is that purpose? We’re going to look at Paul’s love letter to the Philippians to learn how to have outrageous joy despite difficult circumstances.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Outrageous Joy” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2007.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.