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 There are times that there are things and circumstances that could rob us of the joy God wants us to experience. From the text, Paul commended Euodia and Syntyche by saying “for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News” (Philippians 4:3). But it seemed that they cannot go along well and this was causing a rift between them. Paul’s admonition was for them to refocus their thinking. The disagreement has been causing the two women to be anxious and this has affected relating to one another. He called on them to rejoice instead. This was not the first time that he challenged Christians at Philippi to rejoice. In Chapter 1, he described a kind of joy that Christians experience in the midst of suffering. In Chapter 2, joy comes from a life of service. In Chapter 3, there is joy when we persevere as we trust God by faith. It is interesting that the admonition to rejoice is always in the context of our relationship with the Lord. This attitude defies our thankless and complaining nature. The difference now is that we have the capacity to obey the command to rejoice because of our relationship with God. When Paul urged the believers to rejoice, he was in prison because of false accusations. He was suffering tremendous persecution and was facing an imminent execution (see 2 Corinthians 11:23-29). Yet Paul can rejoice because there is no upsetting crisis that God could not bring the peace that surpasses all understanding. God is not promising that He will take away the problems that we are facing but what He promises is to be there and help us carry the load. Can we really rejoice in times of trials? God’s response through Paul, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” There is no loophole or exception to whatever humiliating or painful experience we are dealing with for the ability to rejoice come from the living presence of God within. When we grow understanding the joy of the Lord, all the more we become open to what God could do through us. Let the peace of God work its miracle in our lives so we could rejoice no matter what circumstances we are in.
Noel De Guzman