Rejoice in the Lord

In Philippians 4:4, we hear one of the Apostle Paul’s greatest declarations in all of the New Testament. That is saying a lot, because Paul wrote a bunch of the New Testament, and Paul is the greatest theologian and missionary in the history of the Christian church.

The first century church faces opposition within and without just at the church does in 2022. Yet, Paul is writing a letter about joy and telling the Philippians to rejoice. From a human perspective, it doesn’t make sense. How can we possible experience celebration in our life when there is so much in the world not worth celebrating? The path to joy is to actually choose to rejoice, so Paul tells them to rejoice in the Lord always. And to drive home the point, Paul says it again: I will say it again: Rejoice!

The happiness of this world is not the same as God’s understanding of happiness. God’s happiness is called joy. Throughout the Bible, the word “joy” is a celebration term. Paul is calling for celebration. The difference between joy and happiness is that the latter depends on what happens. Happiness is determined by our circumstances. If things are doing well, we are happy. If things are in the toilet, we are sad. This keeps us  on a never-ending emotional rollercoaster. Frankly, it sounds pretty exhausting to me

The joy that Paul is describing here has to do with stability and celebration on the inside regardless of circumstances on the outside. We must choose to rejoice in order to experience the joy God promises us. The path of joy will lead us to considerate of others and not spreading unhappiness to others. Embracing an attitude rooted in joy will help us experience more of God’s presence in our lives.

As Lent continues, let us commit to some soul cleaning. Sweep the unhappiness out of your heart. This is not a one and done activity. Whether your circumstances are not good, remember to rejoice in the Lord always. Say again if needed!

In His Grip,
Mike Toluba

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