March 16, 2011 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Matthew Kim, Gracepoint Berkeley

What insight about joy can I learn from the fact that Apostle Paul is commanding them to “rejoice in the Lord always” from prison?

Insight about joy from Apostle Paul is the joy does not depend to circumstance.  Paul wrote this letter from a prison.  He has no reason to be joyful.  Ordinarily, you would not find too many joyful people in prison.  They are either blaming others for being there or stricken by guilt for what they had done. They are reminded by the reality that they imprisoned, that their freedom has been taken away, and that they are separated from the loved ones.  It’s a miserable circumstance and one cannot find joy from such surrounding.

However, Paul commands others to rejoice always because for Paul, the prison is only a temporary reality.  For Paul, his reality is peace of God that transcends all understanding, all circumstances, all surroundings, difficulties, setbacks, and disappointments that may be right in front of him.  And he commands others to think about what is noble, true, right, pure, admirable, etc.  It could be that Paul was doing the same thing while he was in prison.  He must have meditated on what is pure, what is right and praiseworthy when he was in prison and reminded himself the true reality and be comforted by God.

He must thought about Jesus dying on the cross, taking away our sins; he must thought about other brothers and sisters whom he calls “loyal yokefellow;” and he must thought about the church, the bride of Christ. He must have dreamt about what a church can be, how it can be used to show God’s love to others.  He must have thought about the heaven where everything will be made right.  For him, the dominate reality, no matter what his immediate surroundings were, was God, his church, brothers and sisters and the call he had received from God. When he thought about these things, he was able to truly rejoice in God.

For me, I find this to be true.  When life seems difficult, I remind myself to think about the gospel, the fact that Jesus took away all my sins and died on the cross for me. Whenever I explain the basic gospel to others, my heart is filled again with gratitude that I have somehow received this, understood and experienced his salvation. I think about the Acts 2 Church and our vision to build an Acts 2 Church in every college town. I get all pumped up and excited when I realize that I am participating in God’s grand vision and I find myself in it.  My hearts gets filled with gratitude whenever I think about that I have friends, brothers and sisters with whom I have journeyed and served God together for the past 20 years and whom I can call my loyal yokefellows.



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