Rejoice In The Lord Always. Do I Need To Repeat It?
Parents may wonder why telling their children something more than once is necessary. At my age, I didn’t hear what you said the first time. I wrestle with my need to set my heart on obeying the Lord. I am old and stubborn and struggling to get a better attitude. My heart needs to do as God says rather than what I feel like doing. I get discouraged at church because others often give the impression that they never hesitate at God’s word or fail to obey what God says to do.
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, Rejoice!” Another translation says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again, rejoice!” I am better at complaining and grumbling than seeing everything from a heart full of joy in the Lord. I am not proud of my ease at readily belly-aching!
What is it that gives our lives meaning and purpose? Are we the product of blind, meaningless cosmic forces, or has God created us to fulfill some specific purpose? How much is human life to be about making a living and pursuing our own personal happiness? How much is our life about serving others and believing and obeying God through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord?
God has made us needy creatures constantly on the hunt for various goods—air, food, water, shelter, safety, health, love, and happiness. Should serving others and believing and obeying God be more important than meeting our personal needs?
I am in awe at the selfless life of Jesus and his willingness to obey His Father’s purpose for him here on earth. He suffered insults, ridicule, hatred, and even crucifixion in loving service to His Father and sinners. We speak of Jesus as God’s Suffering Servant.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus, wrote to the early Christians to encourage them as part of his leadership as an Apostle. They faced a challenge – how could they rejoice when they could often meet persecution? As witnesses of Jesus, those who dared to say that Jesus was the Savior or Messiah promised by God. Believing in Jesus could result in losing their property and rights; they might be jailed, fed to lions, or burnt at the stake. It often meant fleeing because of persecution towards them and their families.
Peter told them not to be surprised if trials came to test them. But rejoice insofar as they share Christ’s sufferings, that they may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If they were insulted for the name of Christ, they were blessed.
The devil encourages us to believe that suffering shouldn’t come our way. God should spare us trouble and pain if he cares for us. But God is there for us when the worst happens. His love is big enough to reach the entire world but small enough to be directed at just you and me. Our circumstances never determine God’s love, but His love transcends our circumstances. Therefore, we can rejoice in the Lord always because he died for our sins in love for us. No matter what, trust His love for you and rejoice.