The call to rejoice in the Lord is an important theme in Paul’s letter to the Philippians, which he writes from a place of being held captive as a prisoner. He begins with the passionate exhortation, ‘Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord!’ (Philippians 3:1).
He warns them that ‘many live as enemies of the cross of Christ’, and then he contrasts that with our position as followers of Jesus. ‘But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in in the Lord, in this way, dear friends’ (Philippians 3:20-4:1).
Part of standing firm in the Lord is sorting out relationship difficulties in the Body of Christ and being in spiritual unity, so Paul pleads with two of the women to be reconciled. Then, Paul says, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I will say, rejoice’ (Philippians 4:4).
If we are going to rejoice in the Lord all the time, we need to sort out any worries we have, or the enemy will rob us of our joy. Paul urges the Philippians to bring all their concerns to the Lord in prayer, not forgetting to give thanks. They can then enter into ‘shalom’ (God’s peace) and guard their hearts and minds in Jesus. He finally exhorts them to focus their thoughts on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
Paul rejoiced greatly in the Lord that they had been concerned for him, stuck there under arrest and had sent him money for his needs. He was pleased that they were growing in their Christian life and expressing love and compassion so generously.
How challenging this is for us today! Can we capture those anxious thoughts and pray in faith about them? Can we focus on giving thanks to the Lord in all circumstances? Can we find spiritual unity with our brothers and sisters in the Lord? Can we give generously to those in need? Can we set our minds to rejoice in the Lord and occupy our minds with worthwhile, uplifting topics?
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for reminding me of your requirement of me to enter into joy in You. Please help me to keep taking back that joy You give to me and not let the enemy destroy my peace and joy. Thank You that Jesus died for me on the cross and is my Saviour for all eternity. I desire to follow Him as Lord of my life. Amen.
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