The book of Philippians is called the epistle of joy. It carries a theme about how to be a joyful, happy person. Its author, Paul, was an amazing man and servant of God who wrote many New Testament books. Guess where Paul was when he composed this letter? In a dark, dingy prison cell; he was confined. We all agree that prison life is tough, but it was probably ten times worse 2,000 years ago. And yet, Paul was there, talking about his joy. Why was he so happy?
The scripture illustrates that joy was set before him because he had a goal. Paul had not attained his goal, but because of his plan, was determined “to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Paul paid a huge price; even beyond prison. He was shipwrecked, beaten, rejected, lied to, and the churches he invested in and planted were stolen from him. People also betrayed him. And yet, despite all these trials and setbacks, he is full of joy. Paul knew he had to relinquish control of the past by forgetting what was behind him.
Friend, what did Paul have that we need today? He had a goal and a vision centered on Christ. He knew he couldn’t change the past, so he forged on. His motivation for getting up in the morning was clear. If the prize is clear, the price is worth it. Ask God for a clear vision and direction. This is the power of a goal-oriented life — it comes with joy!