To be in prison would be depressing, especially being surrounded by other men guilty of all kinds of crimes. Some prisoners take their lives in prison because they are so depressed or fearful and tired of what other prisoners do to them daily. It would be hard to find joy in such a place, but Paul found joy in the first century even though he was a prisoner because he was proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. From prison, he wrote:
Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
Philippians 4:10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity.
Though Paul was in chains, several things allowed him to find joy in his confinement.
1. He had been forgiven of his sins and knew that he was right with God.
2. He was able to use his imprisonment to strengthen other Christians to proclaim the gospel, and he was about to spread the Good News from his confinement.
Philippians 1:12 But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, 13 so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; 14 and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
3. Since he knew he was doing the will of God, it brought him great joy, which was why he could write:
Romans 14:16 Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.
Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Since Paul knew that he could draw strength from Christ and be counted worthy to suffer shame for the cause of Christ, it caused Him to find joy even in prison. By following Paul’s example and his way of thinking, we can all find a glimpse of joy and be able to rejoice in the Lord no matter what dire situation we find ourselves in because our God is an awesome God, and He will never let us down nor forsake us.