Sunday Devotional: Joy in Darkness

Joy in Darkness

 Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advance of the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is in the cause of Christ. Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly. To be sure, some preach Christ out of envy and strife, but others out of good will. These do so out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; the others proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely, seeking to cause me anxiety in my imprisonment. What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed. And in this, I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice because I know this will lead to my deliverance through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ. My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

For me, living is Christ and dying is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am pressured by both. I have the desire to depart and be with Christ—which is far better— but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you. Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.

Philippians 1:12-26

Philippians is a book about joy. Finding joy in our service to others, finding joy in our daily routines, and finding joy even in our darkest moments.

God never promises a safe or uneventful life. Many times Jesus promised that those who follow Him will face trials and persecution. We will know loss and we will feel pain.

Even in the Darkness We Can Find Joy

But even in our pain and loss, our trials and tribulations we can have joy. While writing to the Philippians Paul is in prison. He has been beaten multiple times, questioned, criticized, chased out of towns, and suffered tremendous pain that God did not alleviate.

When we suffer the easiest thing for us is to hide, we hide our anxieties, our depressions, and our pain. We convince ourselves that we are failures, unworthy of love, or even begin to question God’s goodness. But Paul is not ashamed of his suffering, he explains that his suffering advances the message of the Gospel.

Paul teaches that the peace and love and acceptance we yearn for in this life will never be found in the trappings and successes of this world. Instead, true peace and love can only be found in Jesus Christ.

The Christmas season will be hard for many this year. Some face sickness, the loss of loved ones, and changed circumstances due to the current events we face in the world today. There are even those still isolated from friends and loved ones. The world is full of fear to pass around and too many of us live with such emotions daily.

But even in the darkness of this season light can be found. Jesus is the reason we celebrate this time of year and it is Jesus who gives us hope as we face each day.

You, dear friend, are not alone in your suffering. The chains that weigh you down are a heavy burden but there is one who calls out to you. The perfect sacrifice, the blameless lamb, who knows that your burdens are heavy. He asks you to lay them down at His feet and pick up His yoke, which is light.

He comforts the grieving and brings peace beyond our understanding. He is the source of all joy and if you will allow Him to, He will use your darkest of times for good.


Oh Lord, I am burdened by the weight of hardship and grief. I am chained by my anxiety and fear. Lord, I pray that you lift this burden from my shoulders and surround me with your peace that goes beyond my understanding. O Lord give me the endurance to run the race you have set before me. Fill my heart with joy in the knowledge of your Son. Please, Father God, open my eyes to see your hand at work that I may see this pain and darkness I feel be used for the good of your kingdom. In Jesus’ precious and holy name I pray. Amen.

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