September 30, 2008

Stand Firm in His Joy

Philippians 1:3-11; 4:1

That is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
Philippians 4:1


A local TV station advertises that their news is uniquely prepared “for you.” In return, it requires a response “by you.”

Such a bold claim, however, is probably better reserved for the Bible. The good news that joy is Jesus’ gift for you invites a response by you.

Paul’s longing for his dear friends moves beyond social contact to spiritual impact. They are his “joy and crown” because they stand firm in the Lord. From Paul’s warm friendship flows his repeated encouragement that they find their strength in the joy of the Lord (see Nehemiah 8:10). Since this good news is for them, it calls for a response by them.

It’s far too easy to forget the main message of grace and revert to old, deadly patterns—like trying to earn God’s favor or carelessly putting our hope in the riches of the world.

But what can be seen and touched can also be easily lost or stolen. Believers, therefore, must be vigilant. “What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). In the gospel, joy always remains the gift of God’s eternal grace!

God’s good news of joy in Jesus Christ is uniquely prepared for you! What is your response? Will you allow his eternal joy to enter and define your heart?

Dear Lord, I know Satan seeks to take away what you give. Yet I praise you that I already have victory in Jesus. Give me courage to stand firm in his strength. Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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