While reading in the Bible, the other night, I became reacquainted with one of the most encouraging verses in the Scripture. It’s a short verse, but has a lot of wisdom packed into it to help us on our spiritual journey. The verse simply tells us, “rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again; rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Philippians 4:4
This is one of those amazing text that has the potential to become a life changer. Could you imagine your life if you were able to rejoice continually? Think about that for a moment, no matter what happens, you still rejoice. Someone is probably saying that’s easy to say but I’ve just lost my job or my wife has left. How do you rejoice when those kinds of tragedies hit home? It may seem impossible from where you and I are sitting, but it is possible when we understand what Paul is saying.
First of all, lets remember that Paul is writing this letter to the Philippians from a prison cell in Rome where he is awaiting trial. He’s not lying on some sunny beach, and whipping these letters off between drinks. He is suffering for his faith, and yet he can still rejoice in God and encourages us to do the same. And it isn’t just Paul who understands this concept,” the apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Acts 5: 41 For the early church, trials and hardships were not things to be feared, but instead, to be faced head on, and rejoiced in, because through these trials they were demonstrating their trust in God. I am not saying we should seek out troubles in life, but when they come along rejoice that God gives you the strength and courage to face those trials with his help. The key to this is, we can rejoice because we are not alone in our struggles with life.
There’s another great reason why we should rejoice found in the Gospel of Luke. “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” Luke 10:20 Jesus had sent seventy-two of His followers out to preach the gospel, cast out demons and heal the sick. Upon their return, they were elated with all that they had done and accomplished in the name of God. As they were sharing their successes and accomplishments, Jesus brings them up short. He reminds them that what is important to Him, and should be important to them, aren’t the miracles and healings, but that they are numbered with the saved.
In all that goes on in our lives, it is easy to forget that if we have accepted Christ we are numbered with the saved. What could possibly be more exciting than to have the security and promise that we have eternal life? “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 Now that’s something worth rejoicing about!
So, the next time life seems to be beating you up, don’t panic, God is with you and is more than willing to carry your burden. Paul gives some great wisdom to put troubles into perspective, “but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us. Romans 5: 3-5