Philippians 2:17-18 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.
In chapter 2 Paul is saying “listen up everyone, I know serving the Lord is not always easy. I know this more than anyone – I’m chained up in prison, I’m being poured out on the altar of sacrifice like a drink offering – but I’m still rejoicing”.
In other words – you too can rejoice in the midst of any difficult circumstances you are going through.
Our joy is not a circumstantial joy built on the ‘fault-line of our feelings’ – but a joy that is ‘securely fixed’ to our faith in Christ.”
And the evidence of joy in your life is the real evidence of faith.
To illustrate, children are not good at handling discomfort. They complain almost immediately. But the evidence that children are maturing is seen through their ability to endure “discomfort” – or things they do not want to do like eating vegetables; cleaning their teeth; homework; cleaning up one’s room and later in life: difficult teachers and circumstances.
And it is exactly the same when it comes to your faith. Maturing and handling discomfort is an evidence that you are maturing in faith.
Philippians 2 is a “keynote” chapter when it comes to joy because Paul gives you three powerful things about possessing joy in your life of faith – he gives you a powerful “principle”; a powerful “practice” and a powerful “perspective” in life.
Life principle – You can only work joy out if God has worked joy in.
The Spirit of God is the source of joy in your life (Galatians 5:22). To truly experience this joy you need to be in God’s presence. One reason Christians might be spiritually dry is that their encounters with God are non-existent or inconsistent. Unless you are spending time in God’s presence – you cannot experience His joy.
Life practice – Thankfulness sustains joy in your life.
Paul says, “do everything without complaining or arguing…” (Philippians 2:14). “Give thanks” or “Complain” are your two options in life. Israel missed God in the wilderness because of a complaining spirit. The way to overcome this spirit – is to learn to give thanks.
Life perspective – Joy is a product of perspective, not circumstances.
Paul is speaking about the purifying work of trials in your life. Trials have a purpose – they will either purify and perfect your faith (James 1:3) or pollute and deprave your faith, depending on your perspective.
Become the type of person who learns to rejoice even in the midst of trials and allow your faith to mature and become pure.