In the concluding part of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he repeated the same command a few times: “Rejoice in the Lord!” (3:1, 4:4). He regarded the Philippian brothers his joy and crown (4:1) and he rejoiced in the Lord greatly as the Philippians had revived their concern for him. Paul did not only command, he set himself as an example of rejoicing in the Lord, urging the Philippians to follow.
If joy is a mere emotion, it is shallow and superficial. There are things that can make us happy but not for long. The “rejoicing” that Paul refers to is the joy in the Lord, not based on circumstances or people. This heavenly joy has been given to us and we need to access it for there is no joy outside of the Lord. Returning to the Lord in a close relationship is thus the only way to access it. However, there are many things that can potentially take away our joy, or take our eyes away from the Lord.
Disunity in the body is very discouraging. It is difficult to agree with one another even among co-laborers like Euodia and Syntyche. After a brief exhortation to these women, Paul went on to show them the way to deep joy, a joy with peace. Whenever peace is taken away through disagreements, joy is gone for we would drift away from God’s presence. God is not pleased with disunity, fighting and striving among His people. We must not only do things for the Lord, we must offer to Him a peace offering by getting along with one another. Paul urged them to show their reasonableness, true humility and gentleness to everyone. Only in peace can we have joy in the Lord.
Another potential loss of joy comes from our anxiety about things. Many are anxious and worrying about the future. Here Paul gave us another command: “Be anxious about nothing!” The antidote for anxiety is prayer, giving all of our worries to the Lord in requests, supplications and thanksgiving. Have faith that He has heard you and the answer is on the way. When you pray, you receive the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. As your hearts and minds are guarded against worries, joy will return to you immediately.
It is so important to guard our hearts and our thoughts. You must open up your mind only to what is true, honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, excellence and things that are worthy of praise. Dwell on these pleasant things for they remind you of the Lord and His character. If you dwell on negative things and the works of the devil, your joy will be taken away instantly for you are no longer in the Lord. The God of peace will be with you if you think “God thoughts” instead of “devilish thoughts”. Are you rejoicing in the Lord? What about your thought life, are you thinking His thoughts all the time? Get back the joy of the Lord now.
Ps 108:1-5 Jer 1:1-2:30 Phil 4:1-23 Prov 24:17-20