A devotional by Grace Seminary professor, Dr. Matthew Harmon, was published recently on Crosswalk.com.“How to Have Unshakeable Joy Like Paul,” looks at unshakable truths about joy. Harmon, a professor of New Testament studies, recently authored Philippians: A Mentor Commentary (Christian Focus, 2015), which was recognized in The Gospel Coalition’s Top Books of 2015 as the winning book in the Bible and Theology category. A portion of the devotional appears below. Click here for the complete article.
For many of us, life is hard. Our daily circumstances seem to conspire to rob us of our joy. Maybe you’re stuck in a job that you do not like and doesn’t pay enough to cover your bills. Maybe you’re in a difficult marriage or have a strained relationship with a family member. Maybe you’re trying to follow Jesus, but the people around you make fun of you for being so “religious.” Or maybe you’re struggling with a health problem that makes it difficult to do even the most basic everyday activities.
In the midst of these realities, experiencing constant, deep, and long lasting joy can seem unattainable. But the Bible repeatedly talks about experiencing a kind of joy that transcends our circumstances. Jesus told his disciples that he wanted them to experience the fullness of his joy in their lives (John 14:11; 16:24; 17:13). The apostle Paul calls believers to “Rejoice always” (1 Thes 5:16). But how is that possible?
Paul wrote a letter to the Philippians that is saturated with joy. Sixteen times in just four chapters Paul uses words like rejoice or joy to describe what our state of mind or general attitude should be as Christians. And he writes this joy-soaked letter in the midst of his own difficult circumstances. He was under house arrest in Rome, living in a rented apartment (at his own expense!) chained to a different Roman soldier every few hours. This on top of the three years he had spent in prison in Caesarea. So by the time he wrote to the Philippians, he had been in Roman custody for several years. Yet rather than allow his circumstances to drive him to despair, he experienced deep joy and pleaded with the Philippians to share in his joy.
So what was Paul’s secret to unshakable joy? From his letter to the Philippians, Paul teaches us two key truths about unshakable joy.
Click here for the complete article.