Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
Pastor Cal introduced to us a new song a couple of weeks ago called Rejoice. If you have not done so, I will encourage you to read the lyrics and play the song. Towards the end of the song, we find the following verses,
“All our sickness, all our sorrow Jesus carried up the hill, He has walked this path before us He is walking with us still. Turning tragedy to triumph Turning agony to praise. There is blessing in the battle So take heart and stand amazed. Rejoice. When you cry to Him He hears your voice. He will wipe away your tears, Rejoice. In the midst of suffering He will help you sing”
Paul writes to the Philippians and to us to rejoice in the Lord always. You might be thinking that God can’t really mean that I am to rejoice when I am suffering or hurting or when things don’t go as expected. That is precisely what He commands us to do. Our circumstances and feelings should never stop us from rejoicing, praying, giving thanks, showing respect, or acting kindly.
Paul practiced what he preached. When he wrote to the Philippians, he was in prison in Rome, and he didn’t allow his circumstances to dictate his obedience to Christ. Even though he was shackled, Paul rejoiced in the Lord. Paul wrote this letter nearly 30 years after he came to Christ. During those thirty years, he had experienced the following:
“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 2 Corinthians 11:24-28
If anyone had a reason not to rejoice always, it was Paul. However, he did not allow his circumstances to control his rejoicing in the Lord. Everyone who belongs to Christ can rejoice in all situations because the same Holy Spirit that lived in Paul lives in you. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). If we yield our wants and desires to God, if we are obedient to His commands, the Holy Spirit of God will strengthen you to be able to rejoice always.