jan3 2023 rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord

Philippians 4:4 (ESV) -- Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.

It is easy to rejoice and celebrate when things are good in life. The world rejoices this way. The winners of an athletic competition rejoice when they win, not when they lose. Politicians rejoice when they win. Businesses rejoice when they succeed. This is common and natural for most people. Rejoicing follows favorable circumstances. But Christians have an ability to rejoice in all circumstances. Christians are the kind of people that have the capacity to find joy even in the midst of pain. 

This is why Paul writes to the church in Philippi about joy. He says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” This is a command, not a suggestion. Paul knows that in Christ, Christians have a deeper source of joy than their current circumstances.

The key phrase in this passage is “always.” When you read this verse in the middle of trials, it tests the depths of your trust in God and confidence in His promises. For years, I had to learn what it meant to obey this command. My son dealt with so many health issues. I had to manage fear of the future, pain from my inability to fix or help him, and grief when we lost him. This passage has always been a reminder to fix my eyes on the greater promises of the Lord and not just my circumstances. 

Knowing that God is in control, and not chance circumstances, helps me rejoice. Remembering that this life will give way to glory and eternal life without sin or suffering, helps me rejoice. Trusting that God is working all things together for our good, helps me rejoice. In other words, rejoicing isn’t about getting things I want or living the circumstances I prefer. It is anchoring my life to the hope that is found in Christ alone. That is why I can rejoice. That is why you can rejoice. Your circumstances will change throughout life, but God’s Word never changes. We have wonderful promises in Christ that can keep us rejoicing always.

In order to rejoice in your life, look past what you’re currently facing, and look to everything you have in Christ. Your sins are forgiven. He holds your life in His hands, every second of it. Heaven awaits you. Christ will provide you grace to sustain you through any circumstances. Rejoice!

Reflection & Journal:
- What does it mean to rejoice?
- Why is it so hard to “rejoice always” in this life?
- How does Christianity help people to rejoice always and not rely on their circumstances alone?

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