What chains are holding you back from joy?
Typically, the answer to this question is one that deals with our personal discomfort rather than Paul’s chains referenced in Philippians. Paul was imprisoned for advancing the kingdom of Christ. Our chains are often a result of advancing our own kingdoms. Paul’s paradigm shift links our circumstances with Christ in order to find joy amidst suffering. We are to link our passion, perspective, and priorities with Christ (Philippians 1:12-30). If any of these three links in our chain are broken, then we will not be able to experience chains of joy.
First, we link our passion with Christ.
Paul taught: “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly. It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Philippians 1:12-18a).
Paul was chained to a Roman solider for his passion for Christ. As a result of Paul’s passion, the gospel advanced through the entire palace guard. Passion flows from the heart.
What gets you up in the morning? What energizes you? What makes you cry? The answers to these three questions reveal your passion. Link your heart with Christ to experience joy amidst suffering.