Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice. Phil 4:4
This is an injunction from Paul, reminding us of the importance of rejoicing in the life of a believer.
Part of a larger passage
The whole passage reads as follows
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
So just as we are not to be anxious about anything, and JUST as we are let God, with an attitude of thankfulness, make our requests known to him through prayer and supplication. And JUST AS we are supposed to think about the true, the honourable, the just, the pure, the lovely and so on and forth… Just as we do all those things we are to rejoice ALWAYS.
It is so important that Paul repeats himself. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice. It starts off his list of things a believer should be doing. Rejoicing is the first mentioned, and it’s mentioned twice. Means it rather important eh? To rejoice in the Lord.
Now it’s not always easy to do so I find. It’s hard when things are tough to remember that God’s got our back and we can rejoice even in those hard times. It could always be worse right? But whether it could be worse or not, the reason we rejoice is not because of our circumstances. We rejoice because of who the Lord is. It’s a good thing to remember that The Lord is God and he has done so much for us.
Saving us from our sins, calling us sons and daughters, his constance love of us, the refusal to be separated from us and how he watches over us so much. THIS THIS is the one we rejoice in.
Creator, sustainer, protector, saviour, redeemer, Lord of lords, King of kings, Father, the I Am, THIS is the God, the God that we rejoice in.
Let us then take this injunction to heart, just as we do with everything else in this list, considering what is pure, honourable, true and the like.
I was recently reading a “not recommended” book list, and some of the books were strongly recommended against and I was surprised at a lot of them. Some of them were books that I have enjoyed over the years, it had me thinking, am I just oblivious? Do I just not see the things in these books that this individual is seeing? It brought to mind this same passage in Phillippians. I was trying to formulate my words to a friend tonight and I think started to answer myself. One of the frequent comments by the author of this list was “the hero isn’t a good person” or “the hero does things a person of good moral character wouldn’t do”. And I suppose it’s just that, that attracts me sometimes to the books I read and enjoy. I see this broken person who has their faults (we all do since we aren’t God) who despite their faults does good. Despite their faults there are redemptive qualities about those heroes who don’t always exhibit good character.
What to keep in mind:
Do we need to keep in mind that we shouldn’t be engaging in things that aren’t honouring of God, that aren’t true , just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, or worthy of praise. We shouldn’t be. And it’s a hard field to navigate you know? I like watching cop shows… seeing bad guys come to justice, I don’t like watching shows were the bad guys get away, and sometimes the shows have bad guys as the stars who end up being good guys by the end of the show. Not perfect good guys, not guys I’d want my son being best friends with, but guys (or gals) with redeeming qualities. The question that faces me is this: Which qualities do I look at? Do I look at the redeeming qualities and say…this makes the show worth watching, or do I only see the death and mayhem or potential bad language, and say “nope, can’t watch this”. I don’t know.
I can remember to not be anxious about anything, and to prayer with an attitude of thankfulness and I can put my mind to rejoice always. I get that. I can be about the recalling to mind the goodness of the Lord. Can you?