Rejoice!

imageRejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.
Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV)

Read: Philippians 4

Consider: It might seem strange that Paul tells the Philippians to rejoice. Here was a man who had suffered much at the hands of those who opposed the message of Christ. Despite all these hardships he encouraged the Philippians to ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’. The key here isn’t rejoicing, as if your frame of mind could be altered for the better just by emulating happiness. Paul knows that true rejoicing can only be found ‘… in the Lord …’ This is because only ‘in the Lord’ do all the hardships and oppositions we face take real meaning.

Are you a ‘half full’ or a ‘half empty’ person? How do you see life? I think Paul must have been a ‘half full’ person, because he concentrated on the positive outcomes that came about even from things which others might have seen as negative. Paul seems to have had no time for sitting around feeling sorry for himself. Instead he looked for the hand of God in all situations (good and bad) that he faced.

In the verses above from Philippians 4 Paul links rejoicing with two other things:

  • not being anxious;
  • experiencing the peace of God.

Paul tells the Philippians not to be anxious about anything, but instead to bring all their prayers and petitions to God.. Paul knew that God, as the source of everything, is able to take the weight of our anxieties and to relieve us of this burden.

Having told the Philippians to rejoice and not to be anxious, Paul tells them that this will lead to them experiencing the peace of God. He tells them that this peace ‘transcends all understanding’. In other words, it is difficult to explain God’s peace because in purely human terms a person should not be experiencing peace when their circumstances are difficult. Yet time and again it is evident in Christians’ lives that somehow they are at peace in the face of great adversity. There is a mighty work of God going on in their lives.

In this reading I have always found encouragement in the words ‘Let your gentleness be evident to all’. In a world that values loud, confident individuals, God tells us to be gentle and to allow this to pervade our character. True gentleness of character cannot be emulated by us, we must be moulded by God on a day-to-day basis.

So the message for you today is to Rejoice!

Pray: Father, help us to lay all our concerns and anxieties before you in prayer. May your peace be evident in our lives, whatever circumstances we are facing. May we truly rejoice in your salvation. Amen

Every blessing

Author: profsloan

The purpose of this blog is to encourage others to read the Bible daily and to grow in Christ. Each day I will generally publish a devotional or a reading for the day, together with a prayer.

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