Read Philippians 4:4-5 in your personal Bible or at the link provided.
Paul was no stranger to conflict. He wrote this letter in chains. He was persecuted by those within the church and those outside the church. He bore the scars of imprisonment. Yet he still wrote the words, “Always be full of joy in the Lord” (emphasis added). In the midst of hardship and persecution, injustice and conflict, joy was a lifestyle for Paul. And he did it through the ministry of reconciliation, letting God use him to reconcile people to each other and to God.
The only way Paul’s kind of joy is possible is because of Jesus, who went to great lengths to reconcile us to God. That same Jesus calls us to be reconciled with one another. Our vertical reconciliation with God empowers our horizontal reconciliation. This is how we have joy in conflict. Because we have Christ, we don’t need to be right, and we don’t have to be overwhelmed with shame. God can use conflict to form us into the image of Christ. In every circumstance, let’s choose to be full of the joy of the Lord.
• Make joy your lifestyle. Write down a list of reasons why you can be full of joy today. It might include attributes of God, things He has done, things He has given you, ways He has answered prayer, or ways you see evidence of Him in creation or through other people. Keep writing until you can’t think of anything else. Post your list in a spot where you’ll see it regularly, and add to it as more things come to mind. When conflict comes, look at this list to remember why joy is possible.
Use your Philippians Guidebook to reflect and respond. For a digital copy of the guidebook, visit tpcc.org/rebels-guide.
Want to go deeper? Look up the following verses for a reminder of the lengths Jesus went to so you could be reconciled to God. What reasons do you see for joy? Note what you observe and then continue with your time of response.
• Romans 5:6-11