Joyful Memories

Read: Philippians 1:3-7

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. (v. 3)

Paul is grateful for his friends. Every time he thinks about them or prays for them he is thankful and joyful. No less than four times in verses 3 and 4, Paul uses the words “all,” “every,” or “always,” topping it all off with the word “joy” (v. 4).

Further, verse 4 marks just the first of 16 occurrences of the word “joy” in this epistle. Apart from references to Jesus Christ, joy is the most frequent word found in Philippians. This is indeed the most joy-filled letter of all of Paul’s writings. He goes out of his way to tell these people, in effect, “When I think back on my times with you, I have to tell you—I am only grateful and joyful.” Can we do that?

You may be thinking, “But you don’t understand. Some experiences were painful and very difficult for me. How can I be thankful, let alone joyful, whenever I think about them?”

The same way Paul was. His opening weeks in the city of Philippi were not exactly glory days. Several people embraced Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior for sure; but in addition to that, Paul was beaten by a city mob, arrested, imprisoned, stripped, tortured, and told to leave town (see Acts 16:20-24, 39-40).

So what is it with Paul’s “always thankful and joyful” memories? This was Paul’s chosen perspective, his selected attitude. Despite the pain, he chose to focus on the joy. How about us?

As you pray, ask God to renew your joy, even in the difficult times.

About the Author

David Walls is a pastor and writer who has served in ministry for more than 40 years.

This entry is part 2 of 31 in the series Philippians: To All the Saints