Right relationship with God
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
When the Apostle Paul was used by God to start the church in Philippi, he was met with great opposition. Despite of the numbers of people coming to know Christ as Lord and Savior, the enemy was relentless in stopping the spread of the gospel. Until one day, he and Silas were thrown into jail. Luke wrote about this in Acts 16 for he was with Paul and Silas at that time. “A mob quickly formed against Paul and Silas, and the city officials ordered them stripped and beaten with wooden rods. They were severely beaten, and then they were thrown into prison. The jailer was ordered to make sure they didn’t escape. So the jailer put them into the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in the stocks. Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening” Acts 16:22-25). Paul chose to rejoice even in times of difficulty. He did not immediately give in to anxiety but rather allowed the joy of the Lord to fill his heart. He knew that this event was a desperate act by the enemy to silence him and the rest of his team so that the gospel will no longer be heard by others. Paul was aware that the enemy is not the people but the ruler of this world. “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). He was very much aware of the persistence of the enemy but he will not be restrained by being overcome with fear, anger or discouragement. This constancy was demonstrated when he and Silas sang in their prison cell. In spite of the physical wounds inflicted upon them, they rejoiced. It will be easy to sing songs of praise when everything is working well in our lives. Yet when trying times come that is when extra ordinary kind of joy should break out from our hearts. Life will not always be smooth and easy for none of us can avoid crushing blows of circumstances. Our Christian life was not given by God to shield us from such experiences. But what God does during those trying moments is to supply us with the faith that we need so that we can be strong and not get discouraged. No matter what our circumstances are, all the more that God will use our lives so that others will be encouraged. With Paul, the jailer realized his need to get saved and asked him how. After Paul explained to him how, “He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God” (Acts 16:34). Paul was able to rejoice even in the midst of crisis because his faith in God was real. Trials can cut through right into your core belief and if your relationship with God is real, you will choose to rejoice “in the Lord.” You will only be able to rejoice in your circumstances when you have the right relationship with God.