For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.
In tales of magical genies, when the genie is released from his lamp, he must grant any wish his rescuer desires. When the genie is told what this wish is, his usual reply is, “Your wish is my command!” Instantly the wish is granted by the magical powers of the genie. Pretty cool stuff if that could really happen! We do not have genies but we do have a Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. A life with God is a life filled with granted wishes, but not always as we expect.
In this passage from Philippians, the Apostle Paul is rejoicing that his fellow believers have been counted amongst those who not only believe in Jesus Christ, but may also suffer for His sake. Paul wrote this epistle from prison. He was cold, hungry, and beaten; many of his supporters had deserted him. Yet, he remained confident and encouraged that all of his circumstances were in God’s control and that everything would turn out for the glory of God. How many of us can truly rejoice when we suffer doing the work of God? God’s command was for Paul to suffer for His sake.
It was God’s command and it was Paul’s wish.
Paul did not look for shortcuts in his life when serving Jesus Christ. He readily acknowledged that a life serving God is a life that is filled with joy. But joy does not simply mean happiness and external smiles and laughter. Joy is the contentment and confidence to know if we are obeying God, then everything that happens to you is in God’s will and will work together for good. How else could Paul rejoice when he was imprisoned? How else could he have confidence that his circumstances would turn out for the furtherance of the gospel?
We may think that a genie, that can grant all of our wishes, would eliminate all of our problems and make us happy. But God has given us the true answer to joy. He commands that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. And only through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ, will we be saved.
His command should be our wish.
Love and respect the Lord; seek His will in your life.