Paul’s Hallelujah Anyway Life
Last week we started a new series on the book of Philippians and the idea of a Hallelujah Anyway faith, attitude and lifestyle that says, God is good no matter what! He is mine; I am His. I’m not leaving, and He’s not leaving me—for eternity. Hallelujah Anyway faith means that we praise the Lord anyway—in spite of the circumstances that we are facing.
In today’s post I want to unpack seven observations from Paul’s Hallelujah Anyway lifestyle. We’ll be focusing on Philippians 1:1–8.
He’s a blesser. In verse two he wrote, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. He’s not merely stating a fact—this is a pronouncement of a blessing upon the people. This is his will and his desire, joined with God’s heart, for the people in Philippi—to experience the grace, the divine contentment and peace of God in the midst of their own circumstances. Paul, despite being in prison when he wrote these words, had a Hallelujah Anyway attitude, and is blessing other people.
He’s thankful. Paul wrote in verse three, I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. The language of praise and thanksgiving was not stolen from Paul’s life as he sat in a dark, dank dungeon awaiting judgment to be beheaded.
Paul is a thankful man. He didn’t allow circumstances to steal his gratitude in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18) or for all things (Ephesians 5:20). He sincerely believed God does all things well and that he could trust Him even in his darkest hour.
He’s prayerful. He wrote in verse four, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy. Paul is a prayerful man and he remains prayerful when some prayers aren’t being answered in the way or in the timing that he might have liked. Prayer was not stolen from Paul because his most precious and desperate prayers went unanswered. Despite timing and outcome, Paul prayed continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
He’s joyful. We read this same verse and feel his joy. He’s not only praying, he is praying for them with joy. He’s happy to pray for them and lift them to the throne of grace. This is Hallelujah Anyway faith in prayer life. It’s continual, fervent and it’s joyful. Paul’s example of rejoicing through tough times (in this verse and in 2 Corinthians 7:4) should convict us and give us hope.
He’s affirming. In Philippians 1:6, he wrote, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Notice that the emphasis should not be on his confidence, but rather the emphasis is on the fact that he is affirming them. He is speaking well of them and encouraging them.
What might happen in people’s lives if we started affirming the faithfulness of God to them? It would lead to us having our own Hallelujah Anyway kind of faith and that would be incredible.
He’s a right thinker. Paul wrote in verse seven, just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. The “this” is everything we’ve unpacked in the previous six verses—to bless you and to be thankful for you, to pray for you, to be joyful for you and to affirm you. It’s right for Paul to think this way toward the Philippians. Why? Because he had them in his heart! What would happen if we started thinking “right” toward one another? Our thoughts would align with God’s will and His character for other’s lives—thoughts of blessing, affirmation, joy, prayer and our own Hallelujah Anyway faith.
He’s affectionate. In verse eight, he wrote, for God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. Paul sat in a Roman prison twelve years after the first time he met these Philippians. He wrote an endearing, encouraging, intimate, loving letter and he expressed his longing for them.
The love of Jesus for God’s people neither ran out nor grew cold in Paul’s horrific prison cell. The love of Jesus, through Paul, shined brightly and affectionately warmed every heart with which it came in contact. That, friends, is what a Hallelujah Anyway faith is. It doesn’t matter what is happening to us. Through Jesus, we are in command of what happens through us. And, what happens through us is going to be blessing. What happens through us is going to be gratitude and prayer and joy, affirmation, right thinking and affection. Paul’s words and life give us such great vision so we can live at a higher level than many of us have previously lived before.