Finding Joy... - Part 1 [Devo]

Going Deeper with the Message:
Citizens of Heaven

This Sunday, we began our new series “Finding Joy in Uncertain Times” where we are looking at the Book of Philippians and how Paul was able to joyfully persevere through terrible circumstances. Not only were the events surrounding the inception of the church in Philippi difficult, but while Paul wrote this letter to the church there, he was facing more uncertainty than most of us will ever deal with. He was imprisoned and clearly unsure about what his situation would bring. Death was a more than plausible outcome.

Despite all of that, Paul was still able to have joy. Tim shared that the reason was because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel brings us peace with and from God. The Gospel makes us part of a community, a family. The Gospel brings a promise from God that what He has started in us, He will finish. And the Gospel gives us a purpose for living: Christ.

In Philippians 1:27, Paul gives the church one exhortation in light of the supreme excellence of the Gospel:
“Just one thing: As citizens of heaven, live your life worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, in one accord, contending together for the faith of the gospel.”

Now even though we may be West Virginians or Americans, when we place our faith in Christ, we have a higher citizenship; we become citizens of the Kingdom of God. Paul says that we are to live out of that identity. That’s incredible news because even if our state or country outlasts us, we know that they will one day cease to exist; however, the Kingdom of God is everlasting and we will be citizens of that kingdom forever.

Paul also wants the Philippians to be “standing firm in one spirit.” If you read most of his letters to churches he planted, unity is one of the recurring themes. Paul has many reasons for this, but I believe one reason is because persevering through tough times is easiest when united in community.

So this week I want to encourage you to do two things that will help you joyfully persevere through uncertain times:

1) Ask yourself, “In what ways can I live out of my identity as a citizen of heaven?
2) Lean into your church community. Don’t allow yourself to go through this life alone.
Author: Andrew Archer, Student Ministry Director
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