The Bible tells us to “rejoice” (Phil.4:4). While that may be expected, what comes next in that little verse is astounding—the Apostle Paul tells Christians that we are to rejoice “always.” If we didn’t know better, we’d think this seemingly unrealistic command was coming from some pampered optimist who had been blessed to live an idyllic life.
Of course, the history behind the letter to the Philippians tells a different story. Paul, as he writes this letter, is actually sitting in a Roman prison, unjustly chained up for doing the right thing (1:13; 4:22). And the Philippians knew full well that this wasn’t Paul’s pitiful wish for everyone else to rejoice while he himself wallowed in his pain. They could remember when Paul was beaten and imprisoned in their own city; he was heard in the middle of the night singing to the Lord and rejoicing in the transcendent realities that are always more important than our present discomfort (Ac.16:23-25).
So regardless of what we feel or how our circumstances are playing out these days, let’s determine to be grateful, and purpose to intentionally rejoice for the good things that God has done in the past (Phil.2:5-8), the good things he is doing through our present trial (1:12-18), and the good things he will accomplish in the years and centuries that lie ahead (3:20-21).
-- Pastor Mike Fabarez
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