How joy works

Joy is often cited as the dominant tone of Philippians. But the joy is not purely an emotional feeling. It is a reasonable response tethered to a profound truth. Joy is anchored to ultimate vindication. Christians will not escape assessment. Real joy doesn’t come from the thought of being let off, or never being called to give an account. Joy comes the fixed hope of future deliverance. Righteous ambition comes from the impending verdict. The two work together. One thing Paul didn’t want was to be shamed. There were two factors that protected him from that. In Philippians 2:19 Paul says deliverance stems from “your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”. Prayer was the direct participation of the church. God used those prayers to affect the outcome of Paul’s life. The help of the Spirit means the immediate and present source of support (used in ancient writing for a ligament). Here the Spirit is sent by Christ to aid those who testify about him. True joy in the Christian life comes from the knowledge that we work with the help of the Spirit when we live, and are vindicated by the righteousness of Christ when we die.