Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. – Phil. 4:4 KJV
Click the link above to download the full text of this Ministration.
Biblical historians have it on record that just like three order books of the new testament (Colossians, Philemon and Ephesians), the book of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians was written while he was in restriction in Rome. It is also on record that the book contains the highest number of times that the word “rejoice” or joy related word was used in any book in the bible ( fourteen times). It is thus interesting to note that a man who is in incarceration can still be preaching joy or be rejoicing but that is the great lesson of today’s scripture.
Just as the Apostle Paul was rejoicing in His own situation counting whatever he was going through, especially the negative ones as joy (Jms. 1:2) because according to him, his situation has further helped to propagate the name and message of Christ (Phil. 1:12-18), he was advising the Philippians who seemed to be depressed because of his physical state to rejoice as it was all gain – gain unto the Lord – Phil. 3:7-8. As far as Paul was concerned, to live is Christ and to die is gain – Phil. 1:21. He was very comfortable with both. There must be therefore another meaning to being joyful or to rejoice if with all that Paul was going through, he was still able to rejoice and encourage people who have openly showed that they love him to rejoice with him.
Of course, rejoice still mean what it means which is for one to show great joy or delight in something or a situation. How can a situation that brings pain and distress be of delight or put differently, be pleasing to any one. Paul answers that the rejoicing is pleasing because it is in the Lord. This is possibly because of the following reasons:
1. He is sure God knows about it and allowed it to happen for a purpose – 1Pet. 3:8-22.
2. He is happy to share in the suffering of Jesus Christ – 1Pet. 4:13
3. He is not suffering as a busy body – 1Pet. 4:15
4. He knows that there is a reward that is everlasting for such experience – Jms. 1:2-4;12.
Christians today should take a similar approach when going through the challenges of life as a follower of the most high. The Christian life is not all these sugar and honey picture that we are being presented with on a daily basis. He who plans to live the Christian life must prepare for real battle, not only spiritual but also physical. Not only will such a person face stiff opposition from the devil and his agents in furtherance of his plan to win more souls to himself, there will also be the opposition to the Christian life by the supporters of the world order whose ways cannot be in sync with the ways of God – Jms. 4:4.
The Christian life is not a bed of roses which was why Jesus Christ himself forewarned all those who plan to live such life, of the danger ahead, but with a consolation added to it. In the record of John the disciple, Chapter 16, verse 33 documents the statement of Jesus saying that His followers will face trials and tribulations in the world but they need not worry as He has overcome the world. The consolation is that their is a victory in the end irrespective of what they need to go through. Jesus’ victory over the world did not isolate the Christian from trials and tribulations of this world, if anything it is the signpost that welcomes a new convert into the Christian life.
The Christian is better off preparing for battle rather than living with the thought that the Christian life means freedom from trials and tribulations. The reverse as said earlier is the case as the trials may lead to victory as in the case of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Dan. 3:1-30), or may consume the life of the Christian like in the case of Stephen – Acts 7:54-60. Whichever is the case, the Christian is expected to prepare for the battle of faith following the advice of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians in Eph. 6:10-18. With the total armour fully on the Christian at all times, there is a very high likelihood of victory as long as the battle is not the result of being involved in issues that should not be of concern to one, for which the bible describes the personalities who gets involved in as busybodies – 1Pet. 4:12-19.
You reading this may be going through life’s trials and temptation right now. Just relax and do a quick check by answering the following questions honestly;
1. Are you going through it as a reward for your transgressions?
2. Are you going through it because you got involved in what is not your business?
3. Are you going through it because that is your destiny path in life?
If it is none of the above and it can be traced to your Christ-like disposition to life, then rejoice because you know like the Apostle Paul that the heavens are rejoicing with you. May God grant us the Grace to withstand all opposition to our living a Christian life in Jesus name. Amen.