This week, I like to share with you about Rejoicing in a study of Philippians 3 and 4. To rejoice according to the Meriam Webster dictionary simply means to give joy to or gladden or to feel joy or great delight. To have joy is to experience great pleasure or delight. As much as it is so nice to see all this definitions it is even sweeter to experience Joy. Even if you can’t define it in grammar, you know it when you feel it or experience it. The scripture encourages us to Rejoice always. Paul writing to the Philippians wrote;
…and Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3
Later again, he writes
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4
I believe when there are close repetitions in scriptures like this, then there is something for us to take note of. They are very important. A lot of times, we want to rejoice always but it seems the circumstances of life keeps our heads bowed and sad. The scriptures says
…In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Notice that Paul writes to us in Philippians 3:3 and 4:4 as though, Rejoicing lies completely within our hands and our rejoicing never depends on the happenings around us. I believe this is true. You know despite the roughness and pain in the world, as Christians we can still rejoice. The secret is clearly stated in Philippians 3:3 and Philippians 4:4. It says Rejoice in the Lord, Rejoicing in Christ Jesus. That’s the Secret of Rejoicing always. Yes, continuous Joy forever is in the Lord. Rejoicing is only in the Lord.
Paul gave a thorough explanation of this in Philippians chapter 3 up until chapter 4. Rejoicing in the Lord, is Rejoicing in knowing the things he has done for me and He is doing in me. Joy is in focusing on the change of life, person and character he has given us. Looking at who we used to be and who we are now in Christ Jesus and even the hope of who we would become in Him. Joy is in focusing on His plans, His thoughts and will for us. See what Paul says here
Circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ, Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord… (Phil. 3:5 – 8).
Paul, despite being in chains while writing this could rejoice and even implore others to rejoice because he was focusing his attention on what Christ was doing in Him. He could see the kind of Paul he was before, the kind of Paul he was now, and then could acknowledge Christ’s work in him. Paul wasn’t putting his attention on himself, the light was on Christ in him. So he could rejoice always. Rejoicing always is in Christ. Joy is in counting those things that makes us puffed up and proud and make us want to boast as dung and irrelevant. Rejoicing always is in pushing aside those things we always like to rely on outside of Christ, so that we can enjoy the true riches of rejoicing in Christ.
Joy is in giving up the things of this world that don’t matter and pursuing the spiritual matters that would bring life and peace to our souls and be beneficial till eternity. Joy is in the pursuit of Him. The knowledge of Him. See what Paul says later in that same chapter,
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3: 10 -11)
Rejoicing always is in seeking him. Joy is in worshiping in spirit and truth and not putting our confidence in the flesh. Rejoicing always can never depend on us. It’s about Him. And as our hearts yearn and pants for Him, the more His peace fills our hearts and minds. Paul must have experienced this, despite all the problems and challenges he said this,
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (2 Cor. 4: 8-9)”
You know the source of sorrows and sadness, is when we fill our minds with what we expect to happen to us or not happen to us. When our focus is outward and not in inward on Christ Jesus in us. Only Men of true joy can do what he said 2 Cor. 4:8 – 9 above, men who don’t bother about what is happening around them, their focus and pursuit is on Christ. Joy is keeping our gaze on Him. Joy is about Him and what he does, not what is happening to me. Rejoicing always is in Christ and in Christ alone. Philippians 4: 8 – 9 tells us the things we should focus our minds on that brings Joy.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
Another source of Joy, Paul mentions is helping other believers, and especially those who labour in the work of Christ.
Brethren, Jesus came to give us the spirit of joy. That spirit dwells in every believer. We only have to tune our focus on him. Isaiah prophesying about Jesus, said Jesus came to do this:
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. That he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)”
He commands us to rejoice. He gave us the spirit. We only have to keep our gaze on him. Pursue the knowledge of Him. Focus our attention on what He is doing in us, who He is making us to be like. Know that Rejoicing always is only possible in Him. Rejoice always IN CHRIST and once again I say Rejoice.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
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