Philippians is a book that is typically handled in a religious way, as if it is Paul’s advise on how to have a “good attitude.” We need to approach this book from a fresh perspective taking Christ as the center and focus. Paul’s intention is to reveal Christ as our joy. Knowing Christ in this way saves us from religion!
Paul is full of joy in Philippians, but we need to understand that this is the effect, not the cause or the source. The source is Life. When I say Life, I mean Christ as Life. We just got out of John and we have seen that Christ is the Christian life, and is specifically available to be enjoyed as our satisfaction, even our food and drink (John 4:14; John 7:37-39, John 6:55-56). Philippians also presents Christ as satisfaction. Paul is presented not as a person who is just “thinking happy thoughts” or having a “good attitude” but someone who has been supplied and filled with Christ as satisfaction so that Christ as life is on display in Paul. While John focuses on Christ as the source of satisfaction, Philippians shows us Paul as the pattern of someone who is filled with the enjoyment of Christ.
If you read this book and do not focus on Christ, it will just be “ethical encouragement” to have a good attitude. That is not what this book is about at all! It’s about the supply of the Spirit for the magnification of Christ in my body to save me from myself and even bring me into an enjoyment that’s likened to a drink offering, because it comes “wine” in me.
This book is the closest, I believe, that Paul comes to the kind of language we see in John. John takes this and runs with this idea that Christ is my satisfaction, Christ is our supply, Christ is the fountain, Christ is the wine at the wedding feast, Christ is the living water, Christ is the bread. He is everything for our enjoyment in us. Where did John get this language from? That is the “mystery of Christ” that God gave Paul to reveal (Col 1:26-27). John wrote 30 years after Paul’s death. His writing is the maturity of a ministry that is based on this kind of revelation. Philippians seems to really have this emphasis of Christ as satisfaction.