Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:4-7
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to everyone. The Lord is near.” (Philippians 4:4,5)
When we rejoice in the Lord, we are able to experience the deep inward quality of joy. Joy is the deep contentment that is in the Lord based on trust in the sovereign, loving God, and that is always available, even in difficult times. Rejoicing in the Lord causes us to focus on God and not on circumstances. Paul was in prison facing a death sentence when he wrote these words. Yet, he was able to rejoice in the Lord, for He knew that “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:21). He had a deep contentment knowing that He could trust the Lord no matter what.
Rejoicing in the Lord enables us to face whatever comes our way. Let me say it again, rejoicing in the Lord causes us to focus on the Lord and not on our circumstances. Rejoicing in the Lord is so important that Paul says it twice — “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, Rejoice!” Notice that we are to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS, not just when things are going our way but also when we are facing hardships and trouble — “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith — more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire — may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (I Peter 1:6,7). When we have a deep abiding faith in our Lord, we know that He is in control of all things and that we are secure in His hands. We can rejoice because we know that He loves us and cares deeply for us.
Rejoicing in the Lord enables us to have a “forbearing spirit.” The Greek word that is translated “forbearing” doesn’t have a good English word to describe its meaning. Some words that help us gain the true idea of the meaning of this word are yieldedness, gentleness, kindliness, reasonableness and generosity. When we rejoice in the Lord, we are able to have a reasonable and gentle spirit. Having such a spirit prevents us from being overwhelmed when we face troubles and difficulties.
We must remember that “the Lord is near.” Certainly this refers to the second coming of Christ, but it also means that He is near us all the time. We are never alone. We can rejoice in the Lord always because He is always with us. His presence enables us to have a forbearing spirit no matter what we are facing. Remember that rejoicing in the Lord causes us to focus on the Lord and not on our circumstances. When we do so, we will find a deep contentment in Him and experience His joy.
Lord Jesus, I rejoice in You. I am so thankful that You are with me and that I have nothing to fear. I rejoice in the fact that You are in control of all things and that You hold me in the palm of Your hand. When I am rejoicing in You, I find deep joy myself. Let me keep my eyes on You and not on the circumstances I am facing. Enable me to have a forbearing spirit no matter what comes my way.
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