Philippians: Joy Suckers

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a letter of great encouragement. In it, Paul continually reminds the Philippian Christians to find their joy in the Lord. He does this with commands to rejoice (2:18, 3:1, 4:4). He highlights the ways in which he rejoices in God (1:18, 2:17, 4:10). He also encourages them with commands to avoid joy sucking attitudes.

First, in 2:3-5, he says:

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,

Joy is robbed by disunity. Paul’s command is that the Philippians put off attitudes of selfishness and embrace the mind of Christ, which looks always to the interests of others, thus preserving unity and joy.

Then, in 2:14:

14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of oa crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Nothing sucks joy out of life like grumbling and petty arguments, yet there are few things that we are more prone to do. Paul’s encouragement here comes with a reminder that a life free of grumbling is a powerful witness to the life changing power of the Gospel.

Lastly, in 4:6, Paul says:

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Anxiety is a true joy killer. While we sit and worry about life, joy slips further and further from us. Paul’s command here is that we replace anxiety with thankful, desperate prayer. In this way, we offer up our worries to the Lord and ask Him to lead us with His strength.

Disunity. Grumbling. Anxiety.

These are the joy suckers that Paul warns the Philippians against. How are you doing with them? Is your life marked by a fight against these subtle and dangerous attitudes? Do one or more of these attitudes have a hold in your life?

Paul’s command is to put the off, to fight against them, and in doing so, to fight for joy in Lord. It is a worthy fight, and one that we must win.

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