Thursday, March 8, 2018
Philippians 1:9-11 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Wristwatches have sure come a long way. They not only keep track of the time of day, but you can get them with stopwatches, calculators, and games. There is a watch that tracks the weather for you. It features a barometer, thermometer, time and date function, stopwatch, compass, altimeter, two daily alarms and an hourly chime. Its raised impeller fin is magnetized so it always points north, making it easy to determine wind direction. And now there are watches that track your physical fitness and medical condition, and are connected to the internet.
But I need a watch that does something even more phenomenal than that – I want it to chime with joybells. It will ring loudly every time God does something in my life that reveals He is working all things out for His glory and my good. I know if I had such a watch, I would be annoyed at first by the constant chiming. I would be tempted to turn it off so I could enjoy my moments of complaining about circumstances that aren’t working out according to my desires. But in the long run, if I endure the initial annoyance, it will be good for me to learn to look at things through God’s eyes and learn to celebrate the joybells, rather than be annoyed at them because I am looking at circumstances from my own skewed perspective.
God has given us such a watch – He is the Holy Spirit, and He dwells within us to constantly remind us that God is in the process of completing His work in each of us, and it is a work worthy of joyous celebration.
There is a term used in boxing to describe what happens when a punch lands squarely and makes the opponent unstable – it is called “getting your bell rung.” People who attempt to live life without Christ are constantly getting their bells rung. The situations of life make them unstable. But for those who are in Christ Jesus, every situation of life is used by the Holy Spirit to ring our bells – our joybells. We have been brought into an affectionate relationship with God through the blood of Jesus Christ and the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, and God is completing His work in each of us. Every circumstance is a part of that work, and we have a choice to either believe our bell has been rung or that the joybells are ringing.
The people in the church at Philippi understood this truth. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul says that he is justified in feeling the joy of the Lord for the people of the church. No matter how good or bad the circumstances of life, they stood by him. They shared an affectionate relationship that was not affected even by prison. They remained a constant support and encouragement to Paul through the good times and the bad. They had a perspective on life that looked beyond the immediate to the eternal. These people had discovered the freedom to ring the joybells, even when circumstances indicated that their bells had been rung.
What was it about their faith that brought them to this point of trust in God and love for one another? What had the Holy Spirit built into them that gave them such a positive attitude?
Paul’s prayer for the people in Philippians 1:9-11 gives us the 4 principles upon which a life of joy is to be built. Here they are:
- A growing love for God and for people, which will produce…
- …the pursuit of transparent excellence, which will produce…
- …a life of verifiable integrity, which will produce…
- …a life of good works pleasing and glorifying to God and filled with the fruits of righteousness.
Each day beginning tomorrow we will look at one of these principles and discover that God is ringing the joybells in our lives. Read today’s Scripture passage again, and then pray Paul’s prayer for the Philippians as your own – that God’s love would abound, producing excellence to the core, resulting in a life of visible integrity and good works that honor God.
Then let the joybells ring.