I have always been moved and amazed at the words of the Apostle Paul about his life. He faced opposition of almost every kind. He faced persecution, shipwreck, beatings with whips and rods, imprisonment, and, last of all, execution.
In all of this he looked to Jesus. His one passion was “to know him and the power of resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death” (Philippians 3:10).
Paul even faced the jealousy, envy, and rivalry of others who preached Christ. Rather than reacting in anger, he reacted by putting the gospel above personal ambition. “What does it matter? Only that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed” (Philippians 1:18a)
This is how he concluded this section of Philippians, “And for this I rejoice. And I shall rejoice” (Philippians 1:18b).
This is a game-changing attitude!
Paul rejoiced and determined that he would continue to rejoice. If you have this attitude, you will experience joy. Paul chose to change the focus from his own personal circumstances to the work of Heaven. He chose to look at what God was doing to redeem the pain and suffering he experienced. In other words, Paul determined to look at Heaven instead of earth.
As long as we look at earth, we will see tragedy all around. When we look at heaven, we will see how God is working and moving to advance His kingdom.
Let’s not forget or overlook the tragedies on earth. Right now the people of Texas are experiencing great tragedy, pain, and suffering. We should–we must–be right in the middle of helping hurting people, but we must never take our eyes off heaven.
Our joy and rejoicing comes from seeing how God is at work and keeping our eyes on Him.
Let us determine to rejoice as we look confidently toward Heaven.
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