March 19, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.”—Philippians 4:4–5 (NKJV)
When you pull back and view Philippians in its entirety, you find it can really be boiled down to one single word: rejoice. If there’s an over-arching theme for this epistle, it’s finding joy and rejoicing despite one’s circumstances. So, the call to rejoice in the Lord is a sort of cliff notes version of the whole Book of Philippians.
But if you’re a normal, reasoning human being, you’re probably calling a “time out” as you read this passage. If you’re like me, you may be thinking, “Okay, I get the importance of rejoicing, but not everything in life is joyful or fun. So, isn’t it just setting someone up for failure to expect them to rejoice at all times?”
I’ve thought these same words, and chances are you have, too. Deep down we know that neither Paul nor the Holy Spirit who’s inspiring him are setting us up for failure. But what are we to make of what’s being communicated here? How are we supposed to rejoice always?
The answer lies in the three words connecting “rejoice” and “always,” as the reconciliation of this apparent dilemma resides “in the Lord.” Apart from the Lord, it’s impossible to find joy in every circumstance. But in Him, all of that changes in two distinct ways.
First of all, we can always rejoice in the Lord when He is our object. The Lord is who He is, and He’s beyond any earthly description on our part to fully define Him. We use words like loving, patient, merciful, awesome, glorious and so on to convey a sense of His character. But in reality, He’s more wonderful than we can articulate or comprehend. And get this, He will always be this way! He doesn’t have ups or downs, nor does He waver in any way, which means no matter what we experience in this life, there’s always a basis for rejoicing in who the Lord is.
Secondly, we can always rejoice in the Lord when He is our resource. Once we’re brought into a relationship with the Lord by faith, we instantly possess an inheritance of spiritual riches greater than all worldly wealth (Ephesians 1:3). In the Lord, we have a spiritual account that’s eternally resourced by Him and totally independent of earthly factors! We need peace, we have sufficient funds! We need wisdom, we have sufficient funds! We need compassion, we have sufficient funds! We need joy, guess what, we have sufficient funds! The Lord, Himself, supplies all the spiritual needs we have (including joy), and we draw from these resources by simply asking God to fill us with them, which He does through His Holy Spirit.
Rejoicing isn’t contingent on what’s happening to us in this world. It’s far greater than that! As you go through life, remember that rejoicing is based on who the Lord is and what He provides for us in Him.
Pause: How is it possible to always rejoice?
Practice: Consider where this truth gets tested in your life and how this passage can help you to overcome those tests.
Pray: Lord, I choose to fix my focus not on the things of this world that are happening all around me, but on who You are and on all You have provided for me in You. Help me to maintain this perspective and to not get distracted by the things that would move me from rejoicing always. Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.