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 Philippians 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 can rejoice too in the midst of the 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.” (Pastor Steven Furtick)
And the evidence of joy in your life is the real evidence of spiritual growth.
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 their room and later in life: difficult bosses.
And it is exactly the same when it comes to your faith. Maturing and handling discomfort is evidence that you are spiritually maturing.
Philippians 2 is a keynote address 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) It’s not about you trying to produce it – let Christ produce it in you. This comes through fixing your eyes upon Him and meditating upon His words. Jesus said without Him we can produce nothing. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus and His joy will be in continual supply.
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. In Hebrew, the word "complain" means to "spend another night". Complaining will only delay everything in your life. One of the first evidence in a Believer’s life that they are surrendering to their fleshy nature, is they will complain. Make a decision to not give in to your flesh by complaining.
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 purify and perfect your faith (James 1:3) when you carry the right perspective. Abraham, against all hope, continued to hope. He didn’t give voice to his feelings, he continued in faith.
If you have lost your joy in life, it’s probably because you have taken your eyes and perspective off Christ. Go back to Christ and get Him back into His rightful position.