Philippians 3:20-4:1 – But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
In writing to the church family in his letter to the Philippians, Paul is functioning as the spiritual father who started the church. His hope is to have the culture of the Kingdom of God live in the church family and extend into all the families in the church. Jesus tells us that the Kingdom is the “Father’s House”, imagery that is all about family.
There are 10 things that can help fathers on earth invite the joy of the Father into their family:
- Most people wrongly view God. God relates completely differently to unbelievers versus believers. God is not angry at His kids.
- God the Father’s default mood is happiness. There is a little word in the Greek New Testament that appears frequently and is translated as “happy” in reference to people. But, when referencing God, that same word is oddly translated “blessed” (e.g. 1 Timothy 1:11, 6:15). Sadly, this causes many to not see God as a happy God.
- God’s happiness is constant, God’s anger/sorrow is not. God had only joy before creation, will have only joy after the new creation, and has constant joy in the meantime. Yes, our sin does grieve God, but we are not the center of His emotional life and His joy is bigger than our sin.
- God the Father’s home culture is honor and happiness. No one in the Kingdom will be talking trash, gossiping, or shaming others. No one in the Kingdom will be sad to be there and wishing they could leave.
- We don’t have to choose between God and happiness. If we are with God forever, then we are happy. If we are not with God forever, then we are not happy. God and happiness go together forever.
- We don’t have to make ourselves happy, we can share in God’s happiness. This is why Paul told us to “rejoice in the Lord”.
- God wants the culture of His Kingdom Family in our church family and families. Christian families and church families should seek to welcome the fun culture of the Father’s house.
- Church family is supposed to be a culture of honor and joy lead by the father. This is exactly what Paul says in writing about joy some 19 times in 104 verses. This is exactly what Paul models, honoring people like Timothy and Epaphroditus.
- Families in the church should follow this culture of honor and joy led by a father. A Christian father should seek to welcome the culture of the Kingdom by honoring each family member and planning and having family fun. The opposite of this is teasing, mocking, name-calling, shaming, and yelling which creates a cheerless environment.
- God the Father wants to help fathers set a culture of honor and fun. Families flourish and friends come together to enjoy one another when the culture of the Father’s Kingdom is present. Practically, your family will spend more time together, build more memories together, and share more laughs together, which is all practicing for eternity.
Is the culture of your family and church family honoring and joyful? If not, how can you help change that?