"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."
Philippians 1:6 KJV

Philippians is a book that is full of hope. It was written by Paul for the purpose of encouraging the believers in the church in their faith, and also to thank them for their continued support. The interesting thing is that Paul wrote the book while he was in prison, so he could very easily have felt sorry for himself. And yet, throughout the letter, what we read is full of joy! This is because his focus was not on himself but on God.

I don’t know if you watch ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!’, but my wife and I watched it this year. The winner, Sam Thompson, was so excited to be on the show. He said he’d watched it all his life and was a ball of energy and enthusiasm throughout. When he came out of the jungle, he was asked by Ant and Dec, “You seemed to be happy all the time, did you never get down and sad?” Sam replied, “Yes, but even during those times when I was sad, I looked around and thought, ‘I’m being sad, in the jungle!’, and it made me happy, as I was in the place I’ve never dreamed I would ever be”.

Sam’s joy was understandable, given his love for the show, but for the Christian, our joy is built on something infinitely more important than a popular but ultimately short television experience. Our joy is centered on Jesus Christ. Paul was able to be joyful in his letter, and in the above verse in particular, because he was encouraging the believers that, even during the times when you may be put in prison, or in other situations where you might feel down, distressed or alone, be joyful because you still have Jesus!

The Christian life is one of hope because God promises us that He is with us, He loves us, and ultimately, even in the times when we don’t see it, He is continuing to do a work in us. We are called to live in the light of that hope, and keep going forwards knowing that we don’t do it in our own strength but in the strength of God.

As our Youth & Schools Outreach Team continue to have the amazing privilege of going into schools and churches across the country, speaking to thousands of young people each year, I am so thankful for the hope that is found in this verse. That I don’t do it in my own ability but in the strength of God, who continues to speak through me and work in me.

‘Yet not I, but through Christ in me’
By DannyRoberts