I Repeat: Rejoice!
Read Philippians 4:4 (ESV)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Where do you try to find joy in your life? Where does Paul say joy can always be found?
There are so many things to enjoy in this life. God has blessed us to be sure! But have you ever noticed how some of our very favorite things let us down? For example, I really enjoy watching Husker football. But if I looked solely to Husker wins for the source of my joy, I’d be depressed right about now. I also really enjoy a nice steak dinner. But all it takes is for the chef to overcook it and I’m disappointed. I enjoy my family more than any other earthly thing but sometimes my wife and I get in disagreements or my kids don’t obey. I can’t count on other people, even my family, to be a constant source of joy.
But in today’s verse, Paul repeats one the most important themes of his letter to Philippians. He reminds the Philippians to rejoice! But not in just anything. He reminds them to rejoice in the Lord. Not just when things are going well for them either. He says to rejoice in the Lord always. It was so important for him to get his point across that he even repeated it again!
Paul knew that in order for the Philippians to stand firm in their faith, they needed to have their joy rooted in the right place. Otherwise, once they faced trials and tribulations, they would fall away. And they would face trials. Paul knew this firsthand. And yet, Paul remained full of joy. This joy wasn’t a superficial happiness. He wasn’t slapping on a fake smile throughout his imprisonment. This was a deep abiding joy that enabled him to endure even the worst suffering because his joy was in the Lord and his hope was in the promises He had made.
In Romans 12:12, Paul said: “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” How could he say this? “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). He had set his eyes on Jesus Christ and compared to Him and His glory, the troubles of this world seemed small in comparison.
Friends, all of the good things on earth are still just that—earthly things. They are temporary and imperfect. If you are counting on your health, wealth, family, friends, possessions, career, etc. to be the source of your joy, you are setting yourself up for disappointment and heartache. But if your joy is rooted in the Lord and the future hope of His promises, you will remain steadfast. So rejoice! I repeat: rejoice! But not in the things of this earth. Rejoice only and always in Him.
Lord, You alone are my constant source of joy. I know that everything else I enjoy will eventually let me down. But if my hope is in You and Your promises, I will always have a reason to rejoice. Amen.