The Joy of the Lord

Samuel Rindlisbacher

Paul begins Philippians 3:1 with, “Finally, my brethren.” He wants to draw their attention to something new. He wants to hammer in a further nail. Paul had many nails in his bag. He wrote in one of his letters, “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). Or, “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before” (Philippians 3:13). These are verses we should take note of. Paul does the same in Philippians 3:1. He hammers a nail in. He wants to say something to us.

Notice first the environment of Paul. We read in Philippians 2:25-30, “…he that ministered to my wants…was full of heaviness…was sick nigh unto death…lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.”

Paul describes here troubles that we all have, whether we are Christians or not. Everyone is sick sometimes; everyone is close to death one day; everyone is sorrowful at times. These are trials that come from outside. We all know these, some of us more and some less. In Philippians 3:2, Paul writes of trials that come from within the church, “Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.” These are the churchgoers who bite and devour one another. These are the evildoers who destroy things, instead of building them up. They also do this in the church. A further point is circumcision. The English Standard Version says here, “…look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we [Christians] are the [true] circumcision.”

What should we do? In view of this trial, we could feel sorry for ourselves, but Paul takes a nail and hammers it right in. He says in Philippians 3:1 that he does not let all the trials he describes get him down, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.” Paul does not let himself be robbed of his joy. He rejoices in the Lord.

How is it possible for Paul to rejoice, when there are “dogs” in the church who destroy and bite one another? And then there is trouble, trials and sickness. Paul had a great example: the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. For us too Jesus can be an example. We read in John 17:13, “And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” Here

Jesus speaks of the joy that the members of the Church have in their hearts. He means abiding joy, a joy that is independent of circumstances; after all, Jesus was on His way to Calvary. For Jesus, joy meant being in the center of God’s will. In Hebrews 10:7 it says, “Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” And in John 4:34 it says, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.”

Paul could rejoice, because he had the mind of Christ. The Lord Jesus wants us to rejoice, and not go through the world looking grouchy. He wants our testimony to be attractive, so that God is glorified through us. For this reason, Paul wrote that we should rejoice in the Lord, even if the circumstances are adverse. I must cling to Jesus by getting down on my knees, becoming still, and seeking Him in prayer. We should rejoice when sickness, trouble and testing arise from the outside. We should rejoice when false brothers, evil workers, or people from within bite us. I can only do this when I know that there is One who is over all, the Lord Jesus Himself. He has everything in His hands, and never comes too late. When Jesus hung on the cross, He could say to His Father that He commended His spirit into the Father’s hands. He could leave everything to His Father in complete trust. We may also do the same in our situation, by telling the Lord Jesus everything. When people in all their weakness cast themselves on

Jesus, He will never come too late. Those who do this will experience that the Lord is faithful and stands by His Word. When we experience how the Lord stands by us in all the situations of life, then our hearts become full of joy. It is a joy that this world does not know. It is the joy that Jesus gives, again and again, in the everyday circumstances of our lives. It is the joy that remains when all else fails. It is the joy that is still there, even when our eyes are wet from tears.

There is a wonderful song which says, “Take the name of Jesus with you, Child of sorrow and of woe; It will joy and comfort give you, Take it then where’er you go…” When we have learned to follow Jesus, we will have joy. Again and again, we can keep this name, the name of joy, in mind. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe” (Philippians 3:1). Take this name of joy with you, even it is not always easy. We have the goal before our eyes. We will see Him one day, as He is, and then it will be joy upon joy.

Midnight Call - 02/2018

ContactAbout UsPrivacy and Safety