Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:1-2
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter while in prison or house arrest, probably around 60 AD in Rome. This epistle to the Philippians was really a letter filled with joy and gratefulness, and Paul was encouraging the Christians in Philippi to serve with joy as Christ served and emptied Himself. If we would label this letter a type, it would be a missionary thank you letter to the Christians at Philippi for their generosity.
Paul is speaking for both himself and Timothy, so obviously, Timothy is with him when this was written. This is a standard Christian greeting, as Paul acknowledges all the believers, but he also highlights deacons and overseers. While this is not a difficult passage to study or understand, there are some attributes we can discuss. Paul was genuine, and he truly meant to impart both grace and peace to the readers of this letter. It is a good point to start all our interactions with joy, imparting grace and peace to those impacted by us.
Our pastor always refers to his sales days when he would have this card in the mirror that said, “I’m alive, I’m awake, and I feel great.” Further, he would repeat it louder and confidently until it set it in until he believed it. When I send emails throughout my day, I labor over the salutation(opening) and valediction (closing), because I strive to be genuine and not just do what everyone else does. When I tell someone that “I am praying for them”, I want them to believe me and for me to actually do it.
So many times we go through the motions of our lives, greeting people, interacting with people and we can lose our authenticity. We choose joy (one of our core values at Free Church) and we are responsible to God and man for our attitudes and it starts with a focus on our motivations, heart, and interactions. Difficult as it may be, our choice to start the day thankful, joyful and ready to impart that to others, is what Jesus expects of us. This is why I struggle with spending time in the Word, prayer, and worship after my day has fully started. I need Jesus, and I need the Holy Spirit to guide me and convince me of the attitude I need to carry each day.
Challenges (Answer these in your journal)
- Are you starting your day in worship, prayer, and the word?
- Are you actively “choosing joy” daily?
- What circumstances are the most devastating to your “choosing joy” each day? (finances, relationships, anxiety, worry, etc)