When Paul wrote to the Philippians he was in prison. Over the years he had been mobbed, beaten, stoned, and in general sorely abused. And now he is in prison. Not house arrest or time in a country club kind of prison with private rooms and clean sheets, and showers and TV’s and phones. There was no exercise room or garden, and no chef prepared good food in abundance. Just a dirty cell with no room service. Yet, he told the believers then, and now us today;
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice.
If we found ourselves in Paul’s position would we write these words? Would we be able to encourage others in spite of our situation? Can we have the fortitude of Paul? Yes, we can, if we listen closely to what Paul said.
When Paul tells us to rejoice he does not mean to simply be happy or glad. He wants us to be in high spirits and most importantly to be triumphant. The key to rejoicing triumphantly is in the phrase that follows; in the Lord.
“In the Lord” is where we find joy. He is our joy. His joy is not dependent on circumstances or people. It is not found in any outward expression but in His indwelling Spirit and our sensitivity to Him. When we seek the Lord and His will, desiring and endeavoring to live within the boundaries of His will we are sure to be joy-filled.
Paul adds the word “always” to his encouragement. He wants us to know rejoicing does not have a pick and choose option. It is an all the time response. Why always? Because the Lord is “always”. He is eternal and omnipresent. He is never absent from our lives and we are to honor Him with full awareness of His presence at all times.
Paul wrote ten words of encouragement and comfort filled with wisdom and life to the Philippians and to us. Just ten words that can change a life.
We are to always remember,
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.