My high school English teacher pounded into my head that you should not use the same word over and over. “It’s redundant,” she said, “Think of another word.” Where was this verse when I needed a great example of repeating a word for emphasis! She must not have heard that repetition is the key to learning! Paul uses the word joy or a form of joy four times in two sentences. I think he was trying to tell us something!
Paul’s audience would have clearly understood his analogy of a drink offering. They were more than familiar with this final act as water, honey or wine was poured out on a burning sacrifice. The resulting smoke symbolized the rising of a soothing aroma into the nostrils of God. In other words, the drink offering sealed the deal that God was satisfied with the sacrifice.
Whether by his life or death, Paul was faithful to pour himself out in sacrifice to Jesus by serving others with the gospel and the Philippians got it! They received the good news of Jesus and were actually living it out! He was pouring himself out on the sacrifice and service of THIER faith. What a beautiful picture! Rejoicing comes naturally and abundantly when others get it and pass it on.
This catalyst for joy is only possible because of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Paul urges us as believers to present ourselves to God as a living sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God. In so doing, the candle of joy will not only demonstrate God’s perfect love and will to others but will also ignite unquenchable joy that will spread like wildfire!
Living It Out – Joy is to be shared, not hoarded or tucked away for a rainy day! Look around for someone who needs the encouraging truth of the gospel. Sow it into their life today. You may not see their joy grow immediately, but as you share your own story of how Jesus saved you, your own joy will blossom!