“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, NASB95)
This has to be one of the most quoted verses by the apostle Paul. Countless churches have a banner with these words hanging on the wall. We know the verse by heart, even if we don’t know the book, chapter, and verse. With all that popularity you would think it was the most practiced verse as well. But I don’t think so. It’s that word “always.” It just seems to stand in judgment of me. I do not rejoice in the Lord at all times. More often than not, I am grumbling about the circumstances of my day. I moan and groan about the parts of my life that I wish were different. To tell you the truth, I sometimes blame God for the situation I find myself in. At those moments I am a long way from rejoicing. Can you relate? I think you can!
Nonetheless, Paul’s words are still before us. “Rejoice in the Lord always.” You might wonder, was Paul able to do it? I think the answer is yes! As Paul writes these words to the church in Philippi, he is in prison for preaching the Gospel. He has been arrested for sharing the love of God with his fellow Jews and any Gentiles who would listen. And from his jail cell he reminds the Philippians (and us) to rejoice in the Lord at all times. Why? Because He is the Lord and His will is being done even in our most difficult times. He uses our trials and tribulations as a witness to the world about God’s grace, love, mercy and providence. We rejoice because God is using us to further His kingdom. We don’t rejoice in the circumstances. We rejoice in the God who is working in and through those circumstances.
No matter what your circumstances are today, rejoice in the Lord!