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Vibrant: Joy

Philippians 4:1-5

Love and joy. Stand firm in the Lord in this way (Philippians 4:1). In this closing chapter of his letter, Paul is addressing an unspecified problem in the church which has something to do with Euodia and Syntyche being unable to sync their minds with the mind of our Lord. Here, Paul is implying strongly that joy has been sapped within the church at large as a result.

When we harbor grudges for someone it is always connected to unforgiveness. We cannot experience joy while guilty of unforgiveness and the Spirit within us testifies to this truth. The things that make forgiveness difficult are some powerful obstacles in our desire to return to joy. “He or she will get away with it.” “I look stupid or foolish if I forgive, because someone will believe I’m not smart enough to know I’ve just been done wrong.” “I’ll look like a doormat.” And, the one most often held as near and dear; “He or she doesn’t deserve it, they haven’t even apologized and certainly haven’t stopped the behavior. They simply don’t deserve forgiveness”.

When we get caught up in this thinking we’ve forgotten. We’ve forgotten that Jesus forgave us while we were completely absorbed in our sin (Romans 5:8). Jesus didn’t wait for us to apologize or change and he certainly didn’t wait until we deserved forgiveness. Dumping our grudges by eliminating all unforgiveness is the only way to experience the joy of the Lord. Forgiving those who keep offending us doesn’t make us a doormat, or stupid, or weak, it makes us like Jesus who is strong and smart.

Questions

  1. Do you struggle with ongoing anger? Can you identify the source or has so much time passed that you can’t even put your finger on it? Is it possible for one to issue a “universal” forgiveness?
  2. Unresolved differences can be like clutter or “dirt” in your mind, dulling its vibrance. If you could use a vacuum cleaner to eliminate the dirt, could you do so without plugging into a nearby power source? Consider v5 (NIV). How far can you be from the infinite power source of Jesus?