Philippians is known as the Epistle of Joy. Paul uses the words, “rejoice” and “joy” 16 times in this little letter.
Joy is an attitude we desire to possess. But in truth we often realize that we are anything but joyful. There are things that can rob us of our Joy. Paul refers to them in this letter and tells us how to overcome the “Joy Robbers.” The secret is found in “the way a man thinks.” (His attitude)
Proverbs 23:7— “As a man thinketh, so is he.”
In chapter 3 Paul evaluated all the “things”—the accomplishments that were dear to him—and decided that he was “bankrupt.” Apart from Christ, all he had ever lived for was rubbish, garbage, dung. Paul came to realize that he had enough morality to keep him out of trouble, but not enough to get him into heaven. It was not “bad” things in Paul’s life that had kept him from Jesus, it was “good things!” He had to lose his RELIGION to find Salvation.
In verses 7-8, those things that were supposed to SAVE Paul, he gave up for Jesus Christ. Paul had been sincere, but he had been sincerely wrong! He had been using the wrong measuring stick. As long as he compared himself by human standards, he was the BEST. But when he saw Christ (God’s standard) on the Damascus Road, he saw how his righteousness was dung compared to Christ. He could no longer have confidence in his works (flesh).
Paul wrote in Romans 7:18, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
In verse 9 Paul desires to be “found in Christ,” without his own righteousness. Paul must have been aware of what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matt. 5:20: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Paul saw only “one way” to God’s standard of Righteousness and that was by Grace and Faith, not by works.
Friends, the gospel is true! We can live everyday rejoicing. God is faithful and will keep his promises. God is eager to do a work of grace in our lives. All we must do is trust and obey.
The Lord we claim to love and worship wants us to walk close to Him each day. He will turn our weeping into joy. We will rejoice evermore as we think of God’s glorious grace that saves us when nothing else can.