Rejoicing In The Sufficiency Of God

July 5th, 2023 – Early Wednesday Evening

“For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.” ~Philippians 2:18

It can be difficult enough to rejoice in the midst of trouble and hardship, but how much more difficult to rejoice in the midst of someone else’s suffering on our own behalf! This, however, is the mature and eternal perspective that Paul had and that he encouraged the Philippians to adopt as their own. He owned the suffering he endured on behalf of the Philippians as his own – considering it a privilege and joy – and he expected them to rejoice with him. As mentioned in the last devotional, Paul’s attitude is especially significant due to his instructions regarding complaining and disputing in the preceding verses.

We must understand that the heart of grumbling and arguing is rooted in much deeper soil than a simple bad attitude or bad day; rather, it is found in a fundamentally flawed perspective of God and His kingdom agenda. As stated previously, when our eyes are on ourselves and our problems, grumbling is natural; when we are focused on the cost and the pain of our situation or expected circumstances, arguing with God’s plan is a piece of cake. However, if our perspective is founded on the unchanging nature of God and we are feasting our hearts on His goodness, faithfulness, grace, and glory, we cannot help but obey without hesitation or complaint. We will be energized to live a life of purpose for His glory when His glory is constantly on our minds.

Back to our passage: Paul’s command to the Philippians hearkens them back to the purpose and plan of God; Paul’s suffering is an act of worship, so to speak, on behalf of the Philippian church. Not only does he encourage their joyful obedience, but he embodies it for them (and all the world) to see; Paul was looking at the eternal joy that he would experience over the fruit of his labors and over God’s glorification through his labor. It is only natural, then, that Paul would call the Philippians to rejoice along with him; it didn’t matter that Paul was uncomfortable and in bondage – God was being glorified and the Philippians were benefitting spiritually. God’s agenda was more important to Paul than his own well-being, and God’s authority, faithfulness, grace, and glory were enough for him.

How about you and I? If Paul were beckoning to us (which God is, I believe) to rejoice and be glad with him – in the midst of suffering – would we do it? Are we cultivating the heart that underlies such a perspective? Is God’s agenda more important to us than anything else? Is He sufficient for us?