In his letter to the Philippians, Paul gives an exhortation to “Rejoice in the Lord always – and again I say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). Paul had been arrested and sent to Rome to await trial. He spent his days and nights under house arrest, chained to a Roman soldier, but was still able to say, rejoice…always!
When we begin to understand the life changing gift of forgiveness through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus – when we truly grasp the concept of eternity and, through faith, believe we will spend all eternity in the presence of God – we have more than enough reason to rejoice, regardless of our present circumstances. We have more than enough reason…but do we rejoice?
If we are unable to rejoice, we have allowed our eyes to become too fixed on the present. Our attention has become focused on our earthly desires, goals and ambitions, and we have lost sight of the blessings of a life in Christ. Either that, or we don’t really believe!
The verses which immediately follow Paul’s call to rejoice list some real benefits of a life of rejoicing.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Gentleness and a lack of anxiety result from rejoicing in a risen Savior. If Jesus Christ can be raised from the dead and sit down “at the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:12), then our Heavenly Father can certainly take care of problems with our job, health, kids, finances or relationships – so rejoice! When we rejoice and focus on an eternity in Heaven and a Savior who walks by our side, our anxiety fades – our present trials become “light and momentary” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
When we live a life filled with rejoicing, we are able to focus on the solutions we know God can provide. We develop a heart of thanksgiving – a heart which naturally presents everything to God in prayer and waits with grateful expectation for His reply. We begin to trust in God’s plan for our life and His desire for us to be with Him forever. The result, which admittedly takes time and patience, is “the peace of God which transcends all understanding.”
These words written by Paul are not the deluded ramblings of an old man in Roman confinement, they are the true promises of God! They represent a promised life we all can live. Our Father offers us a life of gentleness, contentment, and peace; a life free of anxiety and worry. But this life can only happen if we love and trust Him with all our heart, and if we are determined to always rejoice.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Jul 24 2 Chronicles 11:1-13:22; Romans 8:24-39; Psalm 18:35-50; Proverbs 19:27-29