Everyone loves to be let in on an awesome secret sauce recipe, right? Those special ingredients that will give a delicious, knock-your-socks-off amazing result. Sometimes secret sauce recipes are passed down from generation to generation, keeping the joy alive to be shared with loved ones. Well we have a secret SOURCE that has been passed down to us, and it’s way, way better than Grandma’s crème brûlée recipe…

 

 

Food is fabulous—there’s no denying it. But the source I’m talking about is passed down to us from the Apostle Paul in the book of Philippians. This particular book of the Bible has a beauty of a theme: joy. Who doesn’t want a life full of joy? When we are brimming with the joy feelings, everything is glorious. I love this G.K. Chesterton quote:

 “Joy is the gigantic secret of the Christian.”

Okay… so we all want the joy, and Paul tells us throughout this book that we are to rejoice ALWAYS, but that might be pushing it a bit for most of us. Always? When life is rosy and our ducks are in a row so perfectly poised they are positively Pinterest-worthy—then we are pretty good with being joyful. Easy peasy.

And then there’s life… when we get that call from the doctor’s office or the boss gives us 2 weeks notice or our immaculately crafted plans implode before our very eyes—joy? Complications, frustrations, disappointments, bereavement, pain, sickness, fear—they all threaten to strip us raw and leave us floundering in despair.

But Paul doesn’t merely say “Rejoice always”—he says, “Rejoice in the Lord always” and there’s the difference. We can’t rejoice IN the devastating news, but we can rejoice IN Him; that the Lord is omniscient, loving, and has a plan. (He is very, very big.)

“There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth.” (Matthew Henry)

Ah yes. God IS enough. His joy fills us in good times and carries us through bad times. Paul knew all manner of hardships—he was shipwrecked, whipped, beaten with sticks, stoned and left for dead, imprisoned—stuff we read about and cringe; yet he knew the secret source of joy was found in one place only. In Christ.

 

 

“Christ was the source and secret of Paul’s continual joy…” (NIV Study Bible)

So now we know the secret source. Can we live it out? I don’t mean by plastering a Cheshire cat grin on our faces and going around blessing everyone who will stand still long enough. I’m talking about doing life with a joy that won’t be deflated with circumstances, because we know the source of that joy. It’s real, it’s deep-rooted, and it’s a secret we need to share.

Go out with joy, lovely friends!

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