Rejoice in the Lord

by | Feb 24, 2020 | Philippians, Featured | 0 comments

Philippians 3:1, “Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.”

“I choose joy.”

My friend spoke these words through tears as she relayed the story of her husband leaving her—and their three children—for another woman. It sounded like an implausible choice given her circumstances, but my friend knew what the Apostle Paul also knew: the source of true joy is Christ.

Rejoice in the Lord!

It’s not a helpful suggestion but a command. Paul is not telling the Philippian believers that they can rejoice if they feel like it. He’s saying they must rejoice—whether they feel like it or not. And we must rejoice too. But what does this mean? What will it look like to “rejoice in the Lord?”

Think about some of the things that cause you to rejoice. Maybe your sports team winning a match or your political party winning an election. A family member’s academic achievements or your own successes and accomplishments. Encouragements in your church ministries or stories of people becoming followers of Jesus. All of these things—and many more—give us reason to rejoice. But, because so many of these things are temporary and changeable, the joy we derive from them is inconsistent—it ebbs and flows like an ocean tide.

Joy that endures is found in Christ alone. He is the source of true and lasting joy. Unlike our ever-changing circumstances, he is unchangeable, unshakable, and unfailing. This is why Paul commands the Philippian believers—and us—to rejoice in him.

We rejoice in who Christ is and what he has done for us. We rejoice in his love, his compassion, his grace, his presence with us by his Spirit. We rejoice in his perfect life and death on our behalf, his resurrection and triumph over death, his ascension to the right hand of the Father, his eternal rule and reign. We rejoice that he intercedes in heaven on our behalf, that he is coming again to judge the world in righteousness, and that we will live and reign with him for eternity in the New Creation.

All Christ is, and all he has done on our behalf should thrill our hearts so that they overflow with joy in him. He is worthy of the unending delight of our souls. What’s amazing is that, as we rejoice in the Lord, he also delights in us! (Zephaniah 3:17)

So we rejoice in the Lord because he is worthy of our rejoicing. But Paul gives the Philippians another reason to keep rejoicing in the Lord—he says it is a safeguard for them. Why do followers of Jesus need a safeguard?

The believers in Philippi were under attack from false teachers who were adding to the gospel—we’ll see in the next few verses how their false teaching might lead the Philippians astray if they do not guard themselves from it. We are just as vulnerable as the Philippians. We are easily distracted from the gospel by the dazzling attractions of the world. Our hearts are divided—between God’s glory and our own. Our idols of comfort, status, respectability, and power pull us away from living solely for Christ and his Kingdom. Like the Philippians, we are in danger of falling away from grace—and experiencing the suffering that ensues. So we need a safeguard.

Paul says our safeguard is to rejoice in the Lord. This is something we must actively do—not something that will just happen to us. Christ is the source of joy, but we must direct our hearts and our minds to experience his joy. This is what my friend understood, even in her suffering—to rejoice in the Lord is an act of will. It is to declare our steadfast hope in him, our humble trust in his sovereignty, and our unwavering confidence in His goodness—regardless of our circumstances. It is to choose the deep, rich, secure, infinite joy offered to us in Christ over the fickle and fading promises of this world.

This doesn’t mean that life will always be full of laughter and lightness. One of the great paradoxes of the Christian life is that great sorrow and deep joy can co-exist. The presence of joy does not mean the absence of tears. But, even through tears, we rejoice in the one who will, one day, wipe every tear away. We rejoice that we are eternally united to the Triune God and that he is working things out for our good and his glory.

Related Posts

The Beauty of Humility Found in Isaiah 55:8

The Beauty of Humility Found in Isaiah 55:8

On today’s episode, a listener writes in and asks Dave, “What does it mean that "my thoughts are not your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8)?” What you’ll hear in this episode The Context of Isaiah 55:8 The Meaning of Isaiah 55:8 How are God's thoughts and ways different. What...

Dousing the Fire

Dousing the Fire

We all carry something around with us; it lurks in our hearts and follows us closer than our shadows. It is hungry and wants to devour our lives, consuming everything good and leaving nothing behind but destruction. There can only be one thing that matches this...

Cosmic Redemption

Cosmic Redemption

Romans 8:19-22, “19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage...

The Beauty of Divine Simplicity in Cultural Complexity

The Beauty of Divine Simplicity in Cultural Complexity

While “it’s complicated” may sum up your relational status, it also sums up your cultural moment. The current waves of cultural conflict come from every direction: health pandemics and systemic racism, and political unrest and calls for social reform and space...

A Glance at John Owen’s Theology of Sin

A Glance at John Owen’s Theology of Sin

The present-day is a day where two extremities straddle the life of Christian churches. The first extremity is an overbearing focus on sin. Living in Romania, I have seen countless cases where sin has been the heaviest focus in a church (primarily in Pentecostal...

The Glory To Be Revealed

The Glory To Be Revealed

Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” We return to Romans 8 today and pick up our expositional study in verse 18. To set up today’s devotional, let us recall verse...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Choosing joy – a better country - […] (This article was first published at Servants of Grace) […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share85
Tweet2
Reddit
Email
Buffer