“Most of all, friends, always rejoice in the Lord! I never tire of saying it: Rejoice! Keep your gentle nature so that all people will know what it looks like to walk in His footsteps. The Lord is ever present with us” – Philippians 4:4-5 (The Voice translation) is a passage of scripture most of us are familiar with. But, doesn’t it raise a few questions? Questions like, “Just how am I supposed to rejoice in all circumstances?”
I have a bookmark on “JOY” I keep in my Bible. I wish I could remember where I got it. It has been a great reminder through the years on ways to rejoice in the Lord always by way of a quick run through the main themes of the book of Philippians. Those four chapters are rich with detail on joy!
- Paul reminds us that joy is found in life giving relationships where he says, “…Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you. My spirit is lightened with joy whenever I pray for you (and I do constantly)” … and then he goes on to share just how he prays for others (1:1-11).
- He encourages us to always look for the silver linings every day as he shares about the amazing things God is doing even though he has been in shackles: “…Believe it or not, my imprisonment has actually helped spread the good news to new places and populations … [it has] instilled courage in most of our brothers and sisters, so they are trusting God more and more…” (1:12-20).
- Determine your one thing. Paul was quick to say his life was all about Jesus and Him alone… and shares that, even though he would rather leave the tough stuff of life and be with Jesus, he is willing to suffer to keep on sharing his passion for Christ with others (1:19-30).
- When you have personally experienced the joy of the Lord (through his comfort, encouragement, tenderness, mercy and love), share it unselfishly with others! Serve others and discover even more joy (2:1-11).
- Quit complaining and speak life! “…You are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation. Shine like stars across the land…” (2:12-18).
- Don’t try to do it all on your own; release and refocus. “…I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am charging on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus, has in store for me – and nothing will stand in my way because he has grabbed me and won’t let me go…” (3:4-14).
- Mind your own mind. Don’t get wrapped up in anxiety about life’s stuff. Bring all those concerns to the Lord in prayer and he will give you his peace. Then, “… Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy…” (4:4-13). – Judi Brandow, Communications Specialist