4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9
What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord?
In Philippians, Paul is not saying, “don’t worry, be happy.” He’s talking about a supernatural joy that comes not from circumstances, but from a deep contentment in Christ.
Andy Stanley recently had a message titled “Living in the Land of Er.” So many times we feel that if we could just be rich-er or smart-er or funny-er or ____-er you get the point. These can feel good short-term, but for ourselves, our families, and our marriages, comparison is a game with no winners. We tend to place confidence in our circumstances to bring joy into our lives. The reality is that our circumstances are always changing. Think about that last new car you got, when you got into it the first time with that “new car smell.” The new job, or how about that last raise that you received. None of those things are long-lasting. Circumstances are shifting sand and you can’t stand on them—or find deep joy in them alone.
The starting point is finding joy in the person of Jesus Christ; not success, not people, not money, not status, not drugs and alcohol, not therapy, but in a deep, abiding relationship with the Lord. So the question is “How do I do that?” In Romans 12:2 we read: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Renewing our mind encompass’ all we do: what we read, watch, listen to, where we go… Cultivate a relationship with Jesus through prayer, where you both talk to Him and listen to Him. You know you are having a good relationship with someone when you are actively trying to hear what they have to say. Spend so much time with Him reading His Word and praying that talking to Him becomes natural. Joy will now come, and over time, you will see that no matter what the circumstance, your joy and peace, as long as it is found in Christ first, will remain.
Father, help me this day to walk with you, help me to be quiet and listen to what you have to say to me today. Help me keep my mind on you and to “think about such things.” Amen