Saturday, 21 May 2022
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” -Philippians 4:4
The Epistle to the Philippians was written by the Apostle Paul while in prison. Despite his chains, suffering and imprisonment, Paul experienced tremendous joy in the Lord, which is a predominant theme of Philippians. Through this letter, Paul exhorts the church in Philippi and us today to ‘Rejoice in the Lord!’
What is the joy in the Lord? As we see in the life of Paul, true joy in the Lord is a confident assurance and indescribable delight we experience in the Lord’s presence, despite our outward circumstances and afflictions. It is possible for us to experience inner joy and a deep sense of contentment even during trials/persecution/difficulties in life, because this joy is rooted in the saving work of Christ in our lives and a growing in fellowship with the Lord. As we grow deeper in relationship with the Lord, the joy within us grows and we can like Paul say: But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him… (Philippians 3:7-9)
Such deep abiding joy in the Lord has a fourfold manifestation in a believer’s life.
A gentle spirit (Vs 5): While the joy within us may not be visible to others, our actions as a response to the inner joy is visible to others. Our gentle spirit – considerate, patient and merciful attitude towards others should be a natural expression of the divine joy that we experience. We are called to portray Christ-like character in all aspects of our life. “…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
A prayerful heart (Vs 6): True joy within us enables us to overcome worry and anxiety which is an outcome of the faith that no matter what the external circumstances, God is in control of every situation. Our focus will not be on the problems at hand, but on the Almighty God we serve. Our fellowship with the Lord will be a time of thanksgiving for His goodness and faithfulness. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess.5:16-18)
A surpassing peace (Vs 8): While God does not promise that we will not have troubles in this world, He does promise us peace. The divine peace of God – the peace which transcends all understanding will guard our hearts and minds. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled; do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
A focused mind (Vs 8): As we experience divine joy and peace, we will no longer dwell on the mundane and shallow things of the world, but our minds will be set on what is true, pure, and honorable, worthy of praise and excellence. Where there is strife; we will focus on bringing peace, where there is deceit; we will desire to establish the truth.
Let us look past the temporal trials of the present and allow His presence to fill our hearts with the joy of salvation and knowing Him.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)