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Philippians 1:3,4 – Thanksgiving and joy

07-12-2022 - Posted by Hans

I am thanking my God at every remembrance of you, always, in every petition of mine for you all making the petition with joy.

There is no letter in which ‘joy’ is mentioned so often as in this Philippi letter. When we add up all forms of the root word (=charis) we arrive at a total of 23 times. Paul may be a prisoner with many worries on his mind (as we shall see later), but he is always a happy man. How is that possible? What is the secret of Paul’s joy?

The first answer to this question is: Paul always thanks his God in his prayers. There is a direct linguistic connection between “thanks” (Gr. eu-charis) and “joy” (charis) or “grace” from the Greek language in which these words are recorded. Thanks, means something like ‘good grace’ from Greek! Joy or happiness is not an emotion in itself, but a logical ‘by-product’ of gratitude. While thanks in turn is an elaboration of awareness of grace. You receive something ‘for nothing’ and when you become aware of it, you say ’thank you’! The more a person gives thanks, the happier he becomes. And because Paul constantly gives thanks in all his prayers, he is always, in spite of everything, happy!

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