Philippians 4:4-23, Psalm 92
Rejoicing in the Lord isn’t an option for the believer. For emphasis, Paul tells the Philippian church to “rejoice” twice (Philippians 4:4). If you think joy is an option in following Jesus, then you are quite mistaken. But how can we have joy when life is awful? We learn in another Biblical book that joy drove Jesus in the worst of circumstances. For our Lord could endure even for the cross with willingness because of the joy set before Him (Hebrews 12:2). Joy isn’t circumstantial, but it is glad. Paul also declares that he had learned in both “plenty” and “need” how to be “content”. Certainly joy is more than being content, but it is never less. Paul knew that both having joy and its necessary companion, contentment, in all circumstances is humanly impossible, for “The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing.” (Ecclesiastes 1:8) Our sinful disposition is mired in discontentment and dissatisfaction. So how then does one attain such joy? For Paul the answer is simple, “I can do all this through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) I would argue that the reason that we are commanded to rejoice is because Jesus is joyful to the core. Additionally, to genuinely rejoice demands constant dependence on our Lord and Savior. So Paul commands such joy because it is the same as commanding us to remain true to Jesus. Likewise, remaining true to Jesus is reflected in our joy. Lest we think this is simply positive thinking, Paul is writing from a prison. Let that sink in and remember this when you think joy is impossible in your circumstances. Wherever Jesus is worshipped, whether in prison, trial, hardship, peace, success, or any situation in life; there joy will be found.