Joy in Gospel Partnerships
How is it possible to have true and lasting joy? Biblical joy is not based on our circumstances but is experienced despite our trying circumstances. Joy is a fundamental characteristic of a follower of Christ.
In this passage, we can experience joy through gospel partnerships. Paul at the end of his life looks back and remembers the people in the Philippian church and is moved with affection, fond memories, gratitude and deep friendships. Don’t you want to have such authentic and deep relationships that produce joy every time you think about them?
Gospel partnerships are formed through a shared identity and this produces joy. Though the people at Philippi were from diverse backgrounds (Acts 16, Lydia, slave girl, roman jailer), they had a shared identity in Christ. Their identity was not based on money, status, position, tribe or language. It is a new identity formed through receiving forgiveness from Christ by faith. Christ’s love poured into our hearts forms the basis of such relationships.
Gospel partnerships are formed through a shared mission as well and this produces joy. Paul is describing their partnership in the gospel from the beginning till the present time. As we follow Jesus, His mission unites us on a common purpose. Being an enthusiastic part of Christ’s mission for the advancement of the gospel unites our hearts in deep relationships. The Philippian church was praying for one another, meeting one anothers needs, supporting one another financially and filled with genuine concern for each other. Are you on mission with Jesus and His people?
Gospel partnerships formed by shared identity and forged by shared mission result in true and lasting joy.
How can we be people having such gospel partnerships? It happens when we begin to understand that God partners with us to fulfil His purposes in our life. When we say yes to Jesus, He is on mission to transform us. When we put our hand up, He holds our hand. Jesus came on a rescue mission to seek and save the lost. Will you join Him on mission? This will bring about new friendships, partnerships and relationships with others who are also on a similar mission. The extent to which I am willing to be on mission, open my heart and hands for others, is the extent to which I enter into the joy of Christ.