Friday, February 18, 2011

Philippians 1: The Joy of the Gospel

Phil. 1:3-6 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Paul's experience of joy in prayer was "because of your (Philippians') partnership in the gospel from the first day until now." He saw the Philippians' partnership as expression of God's "good work" that has begun in them and which will be completed when Jesus returns. Partnering in Gospel ministry always brings joy. This has been my experience and continue to be a source of joy among those who work for the common goal of reaching the lost. That is why Alpha is such a joyful experience for everyone because Alpha is "partnership in the gospel." In contrast, Christians who are self-focused usually end up becoming frustrated and grumpy.

Many people (including Christians) seek for happiness rather than the joy. They think of happiness in terms of what they can get out of this life, whether from their work, family or recreation. However, such happiness is ephemeral and elusive. In contrast,  joy is the fruit of giving back into this life. It flows out of a life committed to the partnership of the gospel and this joy is deep and inexplicable. I've seen those who went with me into prisons years ago and leaving the places overflowing with joy. I've also experienced joy working together with Alpha teams in reaching the lost for Christ and from seeing the "good work" of life transformation that God has done in the new converts. And such joy is addictive because it makes us want to go back and do the same thing over and over again! What a privilege to be partners with God in the mission of transforming lives and society because such ministry attracts the presence and power of the Spirit, the source of our joy!

Father, may Your Spirit continue to lead us to people and places where we can share the Good News about the Kingdom. We thank You for those You have called into our lives to be partners in the Gospel. Amen.

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