Joy Stealers — Aaron Klein
There’s an old joke that perhaps you have heard: “Church would be great if you could just do without the people.” How many of us sometimes feel that way? Church can be an incredible place filled with uplifting people and numerous blessings, yet it can also be a place of hurtful words and painful rejection. But that’s not all! The Christian life can often be filled with heartache, suffering, health issues, financial woes, emotional trauma, and tears. Christians sometimes lose their grip and fall into worrying and complaining (even I can do this too).
So how in the world can Paul write a letter with a central theme of joy?! How can he say, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (Phil. 1:27)? It’s because he sees that “What has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.” (Phil. 1:12)
While human beings can often struggle to find happiness, Paul found it and triumphantly lived it - whether people partnered with him or not, whether people preached out of envy or not, or whether he lived or not. What could lead him to take such a view? His joy in Jesus! And that allowed him to claim the eternal goodness of the Lord, whatever happened.
As we begin a new sermon series together that has us studying the book of Philippians, I pray that our faith and joy may increase, no matter what the things are that may seek to steal it away. And may our “love abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that we may be able to discern what is best and may be pure through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:9-10).