“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 every situation, 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.” [Philippians 4:4-7]
Understanding the verse
As we continue discussing the Fruits of the Spirit, it is so important to understand what joy is all about. We see in Philippians that Paul is encouraging us to find joy ALWAYS, meaning in every circumstance we find ourselves in. The thing that blows my mind about this verse is that when Paul wrote this he was sitting in prison, but he still had joy in his life. Paul’s life is a testimony that shows that our happiness does not have to reflect what our current circumstances are. Paul had joy in his life because he knew that no matter what happened to him, he had Jesus Christ living in him and with him.
How does this apply to me?
Most people like to be happy. We do things that will bring us joy, and we find ourselves happy when our life is going the way we want it to. So it isn’t too difficult to have joy when everything in life is good. But what about the times when our life takes a turn for the worse? When we don’t get the things we wanted. Or we experience heartbreak, pain or suffering? It is not as easy to find joy in those moments. But that is when we look back to Paul telling us to ALWAYS rejoice in the Lord. Notice he isn’t telling us to rejoice only if you make a good grade on your test or get your dream job… instead he simply to says ALWAYS, meaning rejoice whether your situation is good or bad.
I encourage you that no matter what you are going through in life to press in to the Lord to find joy that is rooted deeper than your circumstance. The thing about life is that we never know what is going to come next. No matter how much we plan and prepare, God is ultimately in control of our life. It is so important for us to place our joy in the Lord. Through God we receive a joy that will never change no matter our circumstances no matter how bad they are. When we put our joy in our circumstances, we will find ourselves never being satisfied but always wanting the next best thing. However God says in John 6:35 that “I am the bread of LIFE. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” He will fully satisfy our needs, and we can place our joy in that.
So what’s next?
Next time you find yourself down about life not going the way you hoped for, remember Paul. Remember the fact that as Paul sat in prison, he still had joy because he knew that nothing on earth could separate him from the LOVE of God. As the verse in Philippians 4 continues, Paul encourages to not be anxious for anything, but to instead go to God about those things that worry us; he says that as we do that, we will experience God’s peace that can surpass any trouble we may experience.
Lord, help me put my joy in You and not my circumstances. Thank You for being bigger than anything I will face in life and for Your peace that brings me comfort in anytime I may experience hardship. Amen.