The apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians from prison near the end of his life. The first chapter gives us an intimate glimpse into an inner struggle he was having at the time. He seemed to know that his earthly life was nearing its end, and he was weighing the pros and cons of staying on this earth for a while longer versus leaving and going to be with the Lord. He was obviously torn because his heart longed for heaven, but he also understood the benefit he could have in the lives of his fellow Christians if he stuck around a little longer.
After sharing these candid thoughts, he came to the conclusion that it would be best for those around him if he stayed alive longer. In Philippians 1:25 he said:
"... I am convinced that I will remain alive so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith" (NLT).
I have read that passage numerous times over the years, but recently, the second part of that verse really captured my attention: the joy of your faith. That is a good reminder that we are supposed to be having fun. How often do we hear that from the pulpit on Sunday mornings? I have heard it taught some, and I'm sure you have, too, but I don't think this subject gets covered nearly enough! We hear about how wonderful heaven will be, but we should be having the time of our lives now!
I think it's important that Paul described this joy as being the joy our faith. He wasn't talking about the kind of temporary happiness this life offers - he was talking about joy that exists in the eternal realm that our walk with the Lord allows us to access and enjoy now! How many times have we considered our walk with the Lord and pictured a big, black, hard to understand Bible or a solemn old preacher in a three piece suit and an overly starched shirt? Unfortunately, images like those have become far too common.
I believe we should think about our walk with the Lord and images of laughter and dancing should spring into our heads. I really believe that. In too many cases we base our walk with the Lord on what we do, which leads to pressure. In reality, this is all about what He does and what He has done, and understanding that leads to freedom and joy. If this is not what we are experiencing, something is wrong somewhere. So, maybe we should stop and ask ourselves: "Are we having fun yet?"