Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
In Philippians 4:4-9, Paul underscores the importance of fighting the schemes of the enemy through prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. He also reminds us to rejoice in the Lord always. (v. 4) Every time I read this verse; I underscore the word always. It doesn’t say “sometimes” or “when I feel like it.” I am supposed to praise God no matter what battles I face, no matter how discouraged I am, or even if my world seems to be falling apart. Paul was able to do it, but that was Paul, the saint of saints! Surely, I am not supposed to rejoice in all things. The truth is, when I do, things change.
Perhaps the circumstance doesn’t change; it may even get worse. Something changes, however, inside me when I am faithful to praise the Lord, rejoicing in all things! I become less self-centered and more God-centered.
Paul tells us not to be anxious, but always present our prayer requests to the Lord with thanksgiving. The remedy for taking our eyes off our problems is to remember God’s faithfulness and to be thankful. Again, in his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul says: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:16-17)
Be joyful in all things for this is the will of Christ. We rejoice because Christ has set us free from sin and death; He is setting us free from the things that oppress us – from our hurts, our past, our places of defeat. We have so much to be thankful for, and we have so much joy to share with people who do not have this hope. What differentiates believers from the rest of the world is the hope we have in Christ. Jesus never promised us that our lives would be easy; in fact, He says we will have trials and troubles. But He did promise us that in the midst of our trials, He will be there.
Are you overwhelmed with trials, sorrow, and circumstances of life?
Rejoice in the Lord because He is near, and He will see you through.
I turn to You in praise and thanksgiving for Your faithfulness. Instead of being anxious, I present my requests to You knowing that You will hear my prayer and care for my needs.
In Jesus’ name, Amen