As I prayed into the New Year, I wondered what my word for the year would be. I knew that I would find it in the Word, so I listened to the Spirit as I read. I landed in Philippians and felt stuck there as if my feet had stepped into molasses. In a good way, I was held there long enough to know that there were many treasures for this coming year within this precious encouraging letter that Paul had written to the beloved church at Philippi. It is from those treasures I will blog over the next few weeks. Every page that I read was filled with joy, joy, and more joy. I knew the word He was giving. But there was a surprise!
I was about to write the word JOY as beautifully as I could on the index card, but suddenly my eyes were drawn to the opening comments in my study Bible. And there it seemed to glare at me...”ALTHOUGH”.
“Although Paul was imprisoned,
the predominant theme of this book is JOY.”
Imprisoned and joy in the same sentence seem impossible. But according to Paul, it is not impossible at all. He had my attention. There was something powerful about that word, “Although”. I saw it like never before that I really do have the opportunity to “choose joy”, no matter what is going on. Joy doesn’t come just because everything is working out the way I want it or when there are no overwhelming problems, but I can have joy “Although”.
Quickly I flipped over to another set of verses found in Habakkuk 3:17-19:
Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
He enables me to tread on the heights.
You can make this your own.
“I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Paul let his circumstances shape him and make him into God’s vessel. He was determined to know Christ more intimately through his imprisonment. Not only to know Him, but also to make Him known.
It can be true of you and me also...if we choose.
Although, I have suffered an identity theft______
Although, my heart is greatly troubled__________
Although, my dear friend is moving away____________
Although, my heart breaks for my children____________
Although, our world turns more evil every day_____________
Although, many desires of my heart are not yet fulfilled_________
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord.
WE can see the same process in the natural. Coal is turned to a diamond; a grain of sand into a pearl; an olive into pure olive oil; a grape into new wine; metal into pure gold. Likewise, through the very circumstances of this life here on earth, He is making us into something so valuable to His kingdom.
Don’t wait for your life to turn around to enjoy JOY. Let the character of God fill and flood you as you journey through.
“LORD, make yourself known within me and through me.
I choose to rejoice in you, my Savior. You are making me into your vessel.
Express yourself through me today.”