Philippians 4:4-8 has long been a favorite of mine and admittedly because I used to deal with crippling anxiety. This was the first resource God gave me to overcome it. Actually He gave it to me quite a few years before I even began to deal with anxiety. Today’s focus verse (4:4) reminded me that I have through the years become so enamored with the peace of God that I lost sight of the first part of Paul’s instruction – “Rejoice in the Lord Always”. This is a necessary and great reminder that if our joy and delight are not found firmly grounded in the Lord we will be wishy washy with our emotions – anxiety, anger, bitterness, disappointments, fears and more will overwhelm us and we will miss out on the blessing of what God’s doing and the peace He wants to give us in Christ. The peace of God that passes all understanding and guards our hearts and minds, as we live in Christ, will elude us – when our joys and delights are rooted in the circumstances of life rather than in the Lord. So my friends – let’s rejoice in the Lord always and let’s remind each other as Paul did –
So what exactly does this mean? Well, first of all rejoice is a verb, an action word. It isn’t something we simply ‘feel’ but something we do – either by experiencing or by showing our joy and delight in something or someone. In others words we will either actively experience joy and delight or we will actively express joy and delight. We must understand this to fully grasp and apply the instructions Paul gave to the believers at Philippi. Those instructions were to
- Rejoice “in the Lord”
- Rejoice “always”
- Paul emphasizes the importance of the instruction by “saying it again” – REJOICE.
In life we will find many things to rejoice in – such as sporting victories, a new job, a good time with friends, good grades, and so much more. These things will come and go having us on a mountaintop one day and a plateau or even a valley the next … But Paul’s message – to those “in Christ Jesus” is to – “rejoice always in the Lord”. Keep in mind Paul wrote these words while he was a prisoner – which is not exactly a situation to rejoice in. Yet, his example and his words teach us that when we find our joy and hope in God they will not fluctuate according to circumstances. Life may not always seem good but God is always good. If He given us a job He is good, and if He withholds the job He is still good.
Father you are Good – always good, help my joy and delight be in who You are and not simply the circumstances of my life – so that I will rejoice in You always.