“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.” (Phil. 4:4)
I can vividly recall a final Word—a note—being given at a retiring Ministers’s gathering, concerning one particular Uniting Church minister’s lifetime urging of others, to cultivate joy in their life. He had often said, ‘Joy is the primary mark of the Christian life’.
This is not the first time the Philippians have been exhorted to rejoice. It is important to allow a joyful spirit to prevail in our lives. Sometimes Christians let unnecessary tiffs, and disagreements linger. This seems to have been the case for Euodia and Syntyche (Philippians 4:2). Do your best folks to resolve your small differences.
At times, people just need some simple directives as to what they should do as Christians. In chapter 4, the Philippians were certainly given some helpful directives:
- 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
- 5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
- 6 Do not worry 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, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
- 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
Paul clearly loved this congregation, and deeply appreciated their support at an earlier time in his gospel ministry there (Phil. 4:15).
He encouraged them to set their priorities in knowing Christ’s resurrection power in their sufferings.
He encouraged them to see the resurrection of Jesus, as the key to true living. He exhorted them to express together the ‘mind of Christ’, and to recognise the vicarious ministry of Jesus, being exercised through them. He encouraged them to press on, in the race set before them. He kept the physical hope of the resurrection of Jesus, and of their own future, before their eyes.
Prayers: Thank you Father, for this church in Philippi, and for Paul’s kind ministry to them. May we be strengthened by the Holy Spirit, to press on in the calling God has for each one of us. May we embrace our opposition, and our sufferings with rejoicing. In the name of Jesus we pray.