“The modern philosopher had told me again and again that I was in the right place, and I still felt depressed even in acquiescence. But I had heard that I was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy like a bird in spring.” (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy). Believing the gospel gets us in the right place — and that should be a place of JOY! As we continue our study of the term JOY in Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, we are looking at his fifteenth use of that term this morning.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (ch. 4)
We saw in our previous post that sometimes we simply need to be told what to do. The fourteenth use of the term JOY in this epistle is at the beginning of verse 4- “REJOICE in the Lord always.” But there is often a need that a simple command be repeated, as Paul does here. Apparently, REJOICING in the Lord isn’t always easy — and we need to be challenged twice to take that step and practice that habit of finding our deepest JOY in Him!
They say that repetition is a key to learning — and Paul knows we need to be told more than once that our JOY must be in the Lord! Please notice that there is an immediate effect of our REJOICING in the Lord — such REJOICING impacts our gentleness as we relate to others. Harsh, hard people are tough to live with. A believer who is continually REJOICING in the Lord is, in some sense, softened by the practice. And others will sit up and notice!
Someone named Ernest Dimnet once said, “The happiness of most people is not ruined by great catastrophes or fatal errors, but by the repetition of slowly destructive little things.” How true! How much truer is the value of the repetition of REJOICING in the Lord! It is no little thing.