“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 (NASB)
Chained to a Roman guard seemed like the least likely place for Paul to pen a letter about joy. The case against him was looming, yet in the midst of his ordeal he wrote to the Philippians. His message was simple: Rejoice! But he taught them so much more–essentially, that they, too, could rejoice in any situation with a joy that could stand the test of their circumstances, relationships, needs, and fears.
Paul acknowledged his circumstances were dire, but he filtered every situation through a single mindset, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil.1:21). He knew His imprisonment was simply an avenue to further the Gospel message.
Paul found joy in the love he had for the Philippians but not everyone loved Paul. The Christians in Philippi were divided in their feelings for him and some even tried to make life more difficult for him when he was in prison (Phil.1: 15-16). Knowing that people should be a source of joy and not sorrow, Paul shared that the Philippians could experience joy by having the right motive and humbly serving others like Christ Jesus (Phil 2:7-8). He shared that through prayer they could give over their fears to God and allow His peace to rule their hearts. (Phil. 4:6-8). He reminded them that they should be content because God would supply all their needs (Phil. 4; 12, 13, 19). No matter what trial or circumstance, they could say, “Rejoice!”
Are you bogged down with your circumstances, relationships, needs, and fears? What have you set your mind on? Set it on the Lord and Rejoice!
By Karen Aker