LifeLink Devotions (Click for Audio Blog)

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Many of us find it emotionally challenging to find joy in the midst of deteriorating circumstances. We base our joy on what’s happening to us instead of Who’s working in us.  But according to the Apostle Paul in his letter named Philippians, our joy is not a product of our circumstances, but rather it is the product, or fruit, of the Holy Spirit in us. Joy is experienced to the fullest when there is intimacy of relationship with God. That intimacy will then flourish in our relationships with people, so that even when circumstances are ugly, our spirits are filled with joy.

Paul had a student whom he was mentoring and molding for ministry. His name was Timothy, and he brought Paul great joy. Paul had discovered that true joy is based on  intimacy.

Philippians 2:20-22  “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. But you know that Timothy has proved himself, because as a son with his father he has served with me in the work of the gospel.”

Look at how Paul describes his relationship with Timothy: he has no one else like him who takes a genuine concern for the people he serves. Timothy is described as a humble, compassionate, caring, loving and sacrificial servant of God and a servant of God’s people. He has proved himself worthy of leadership because he has put the work of Jesus Christ ahead of all else. We can hear in Paul’s words the joy in his heart to have a partner in the work like Timothy.

Here are some challenging principles for us from this passage:

  1. Are we being a Timothy to each other by showing genuine concern for the welfare of others? Our compassion and concern for others should never be an obligation. When we are expressing our spiritual gifts it is with love and grace that that considers others ahead of ourselves.
  2. Are we being a Timothy to each other by sacrificing anything and everything for the sake of God’s work? This is a huge struggle. We are being blessed by God with sufficiency and abundance of resources, yet we have the desire to give it all up to see people saved and the church flourish. Do others see in us the willingness to give anything up for the cause of Christ?
  3. Are we being a Timothy to each other by being open and approachable at the level of intimacy needed for spiritual growth and development? I hope you know that there is nothing more important to me than being able to listen to what God is doing in your life and to connect with your heart on a spiritual level of intimacy. I also hope you know that you have the incredible privilege of giving that gift of intimacy to each other.

These 3 points are emphasized by Paul in the rest of Philippians 2, where he tells the story of Epaphroditus, another of Paul’s intimate joy producers. Read the rest of the story below. It is obvious from the story that the church at Philippi understood intimacy because of their relationship with Epaphroditus, and that intimacy brought them great joy. There was genuine concern from both sides of the relationship. This was a shared intimacy, not a one-way giving and taking. Like Timothy, Epaphroditus was a sacrificing servant of Jesus Christ who was willing to die for the cause of Christ and the love of Christ’s people. He went beyond the call of the average and became a man worthy of our honor.

I pray our legacies will be like that. May it be said of us that we went beyond the call of the average and genuinely loved others. Genuine joy overflows from that kind of intimacy. 

Pastor John

Philippians 2:25-30 But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. Welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor men like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ, risking his life to make up for the help you could not give me.

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