Paul takes great joy in the growth and development of the Christians at Philippi. One of the greatest, most joyful experiences in life is seeing someone come to personal faith in Jesus and then watch them grow in their faith 28 sheilaand in their love for God and for other believers. Believers have a common bond and take joy in being together and sharing life and doing life together. Everything in life is better together! Philippians is a book about joy! But it’s not just joy for fun’s sake. It’s joy that’s shared with others. A love for God must work out into love for others. There is an intimate connection between love and joy. Love is a self-sacrificial action of care and concern for others that is the first command that Jesus’ taught us. We are to love God and let that love work out in our lives in expression it to others. The first two fruits of God’s spirit in our lives are love and joy (See Galatians 5:22).

In Philippians 1:26, Paul picks up on the theme of Joy. There’s joy in progress in the Christian life as we meld our lives together in loving God, learning about God, and living for God. It’s a sweet smelling savor to the Lord when brothers and sisters in Christ make progress in their faith, worshipping, learning God’s word, growing together, serving each other and sharing our faith in our own sphere of influence. God loves to see this, Himself! This is the point of Psalm 133! It’s like the anointing oil on Aaron’s head to God; a sweet smelling aroma. Everything we do is better together. In brings “more abundant joy.” Paul wants the Philippian’s joy to grow. He writes, “That your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again.” The Philippians visited Paul in Prison. Timothy was there as he wrote his letter. They sent gifts to Paul in prison and constantly prayed for his release. He couldn’t wait to get back to them because of their great expression of love. Caring for one another, especially in times of need, can bring great joy! Imagine their joy when Paul was released from prison and a potential death sentence and was able to get back to them again!

A member of our church, according to the local paper, several years ago “lay in a coma last November, on full life support, and doctors told her family and friends she would not be able to see, talk or maybe even move again. Now, after lots of prayers and rehabilitation, she is wanting to go back to work again.” One of her friends is quoted in the paper as saying, “Country Bible (Our Church) rallied around her and knocked the socks off of her family with love, support and prayers.” Her church friends set up a fund to help her get back on her feet. They stepped out in love for her and I saw her walking around the church at our services shortly after with a huge smile on her face. I know she was very happy (Joyful) to be back and I was ecstatic to see her! The Philippians “knocked Paul’s socks off” with their love and concern and he couldn’t wait to get to them also.