Robert Griffith | 22 May 2024
Robert Griffith
22 May 2024

 

Philippians 4:4-5  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

Paul’s words to the church in Philippi don’t appear plausible. It seems that in order to complete the work of celebrating in every situation, we would need to take a mental or cognitive rest. Most of us can manage happiness, thankfulness, and compliments on occasion or even frequently. Our lives are filled with wonderful experiences, both large and small, that allow us to rejoice in God’s goodness. However, there are far too many instances of “un-joicing” (a term coined to describe problems, suffering, hurts, etc.) that divert us from rejoicing all the time.

If Paul had instructed us to “try” and rejoice constantly, or “rejoice as often as you can,” we could have handled this verse far better. These look far more achievable. However, Paul says “ALWAYS” with the help of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. There is no room for us to stop rejoicing because of this. Therefore, how can we rejoice always, particularly when we feel like whining or becoming resentful?

The first thing to point out is that God doesn’t say we cannot feel saddened or mourn. On the contrary, we see Jesus weeping over the death of his friend and also anxious and nervous leading up to his betrayal and crucifixion. We see in scripture that it is okay to feel great sorrow and pain when life brings us tragedy. As Christians, we are encouraged to ‘mourn with those who mourn’ (Romans 12:15), and I believe it is ok to grieve when we experience loss or suffering.

Secondly, let me just say that it’s good to rejoice when things are going well. It is easy to overlook this, but it is crucial to do. Our hearts must be consistently trained to turn to the Lord in everything. This implies that since we are aware that “Every good and perfect gift is from above,” we should give thanks and praise to God whenever something good occurs in our lives (James 1:17).

Perhaps you could establish the practice of compiling a list of all the blessings you have received throughout the day and thanking God for them at the end of the day. Our hearts and brains need to be trained to recognise God at work in every gift. Most people usually find this easy to do, but it’s also easy to forget to thank God for our blessings when we’re overcome with strong emotions.

So, how can we rejoice in the Lord always? When adversity, trials, or pains hit us, we must keep them in perspective of who God is. After mourning and grieving for the loss or pain we feel, it is important at some point to begin walking our hearts toward choosing joy. When referring to other believers who have passed away, Paul writes to fellow believers, reminding them that “you do not grieve like the rest of mankind who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Rejoicing always begins by having the hope of Jesus.

All other things lose significance when Christ is the focus of your existence and the ultimate first and greatest treasure of your heart. This implies that neither our highs nor our lows will cause us to lose sight of God in the midst of joy or grief. It helps us to offer God joy despite our suffering when we remember that our hope is with us no matter what. Though we will continue to face difficulties, our hearts are with the One Who has triumphed over the world.