Dear 5x5x5 readers, This week we move from Ephesians (a letter to the church at Ephesus) to Philippians (Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi).
Consider this as you read Philippians: My scholars believe that Paul is writing this letter from a jail cell in Rome, about the time Emperor Nero began tossing Christians to the lions. Perhaps Paul was remembering his first visit to Philippi (recorded in Acts 16) where there were many converts, a conflict with a slave girl, they were flogged and thrown in jail, and then an AMAZING jailbreak occurred!
Imprisonment did not seem to bother Paul too much. His letter to the Philippians is known for addressing the topic of joy – joy in all circumstances, joy through difficult times, joy because we have an eternal perspective on the sufferings of this present day. And by joy we mean a deep, heart peace independent of circumstances… something entirely different than happiness.
Oh that we might come to trust God and know Him well enough to find joy in difficult times! That we might finally understand, “to live is Christ and to die is gain”. (Phil 1:21)