When freedom’s lost and you are cornered, friends have become enemies, and life itself seems fragilely close to the precipice, Christians can still have joy.
That is the message Paul shared with the Philippian Church during his imprisonment in Rome in 62 AD. He encouraged his concerned friends, “It’s going to be okay.” How could he say this with a potential death sentence hanging over his head? And how can we ourselves find joy in difficult circumstances we face right now? Philippians 1:12-26 teaches us four truths about joy in adversity.
- Joy results despite our physical freedoms lost because the Gospel is bringing about great freedom in the lives of many others through our testimony. In Paul’s case, this happened among Caesar’s hardened Praetorian Guard.
- We are called to joy even if dealing with the pain of betrayal and animosity coming from so-called friends. Because the hope of the Gospel stills spreads whenever Jesus Christ is spoken of.
- Joy springs in adversity, too, because Christians have total confidence in a final deliverance—our forever life to come with Jesus Christ.
- Finally, joy may be had in the worst adversity because Death itself has lost its power and fear because God has overcome it in Jesus Christ.
He is with us, and brings believing friends into our lives to love us and pray us through! Adversity will come. Count on it. But know, friend, that God doesn’t work in your life despite adversity; he actually takes the adversity, regardless of its origins rooted in a fallen world of sin, using it to propel you to joy, the Gospel to wider embrace, and the purpose of your life to beautiful heights.