The Book of Joy
This week we finished reading the book of Philippians. Many people refer to this as "the book of joy" or the "Epistle of joy" because, even though Paul wrote it from prison, he exudes joy and thankfulness.
One pastor writes: "Philippians is the most joyful book in the Bible — the apostle Paul uses the Greek words for joy and rejoicing sixteen times in only 104 verses. And yet he writes from a dingy Roman prison, a place we would typically associate with misery and trial, which most people assume are the opposites of joy."
Roman prisons weren't a "three hots and a cot" situation. They often didn't provide food for the inmates. Either family or friends would bring them supplies or they would starve. The conditions were miserable. Paul, however, developed the ability to see beyond his circumstances.
We can share in Paul's secret to joy; that Jesus is enough. Jesus is more than our Savior, He is our treasure and reason to keep going.
Paul says in Philippians 3:8, “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Rejoicing in the Lord means that there is a new song in our hearts. It is an anthem that the din and distresses of life cannot drown out. He is the chief object of our joy.
Have you ever gotten a song or commercial jingle stuck in your head? These "earworms" travel with us through the day and we just can't get rid of them. Recently I made the mistake of listening to a "Power Ballad" playlist. For the next few days, I had songs from Air Supply running through my head. Running on the treadmill, changing diapers, reading commentaries, I had the music going through my head with the words, "I know just how to whisper, And I know just how to cry ..."
Joy is like that. It is the anthem of grace that is stuck in our heads. Prison and poverty can't drive the song away. It just keeps going. Filling our hearts with the fact that God loves us.
This week, take time to reintroduce your heart to the song of God's Word. Let the music of the Gospel fill your mind. May the joy of the Lord be your strength.
Resources for the Week
We've started the book of Jeremiah. Here are a few introduction videos:
- The Bible Project "Overview: Jeremiah"
- Mark Dever "The Message of Jeremiah" (Audio Only)
- John MacArthur "A Prophetic Message to an Ungodly Nation (Jeremiah)"
We are also reading the New Testament books of Colossians and 1 Thessalonians. These might help you unpack those letters:
Upcoming Daily Audio Bible Readings
October 5 Jeremiah 4:19-6:14, Colossians 1:21-2:7, Psalm 77:1-20, Proverbs 24:23-25
October 6 Jeremiah 6:15-8:7, Colossians 2:8-23, Psalm 78:1-31, Proverbs 24:26
October 7 Jeremiah 8:8-9:26, Colossians 3:1-17, Psalm 78:32-55, Proverbs 24:27
October 8 Jeremiah 10:1-11:23, Colossians 3:18-4:18, Psalm 78:56-72, Proverbs 24:28-29
October 9 Jeremiah 12:1:14-10, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2:9, Psalm 79:1-13, Proverbs 24:30-34
October10 Jeremiah 14:11-16:15, 1 Thessalonians 2:10-3:13, Psalm 80:1-19, Proverbs 25:1-5
October 11 Jeremiah 16:16-18:23, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5:3, Psalm 81:1-16, Proverbs 25:6-7
October 12 Jeremiah 19:1-21:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-28, Psalm 82:1-8, Proverbs 25:8-10
October 13 Jeremiah 22:1-23:20, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12, Psalm 83:1-18, Proverbs 25:11-14
October 14 Jeremiah 23:21-25:38, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17, Psalm 84:1-12, Proverbs 25:15