Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Rejoice Always!

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"  Philippians 4:4

It's very easy to rejoice when things are going great.  It's very easy to rejoice when there is an unexpected blessing, or when life, overall, is just in a happy place.

But what about when things aren't so rosy?  Then, it can be difficult to rejoice in the Lord, and yet, it could very well be the key to turning things around.  The thing is, when you are happy, it can actually physically affect the way you are feeling.  When you are in those moments of despair, wondering what is going to happen, it can cause depression and sadness, and cause you to shut down.  But choosing to rejoice in something can physically change that and drive away those thoughts of sadness that are trying to take over.

Sometimes, though, it's just hard to find something to be happy about.  The answer?  Rejoice in the Lord.  God is ALWAYS good, and He is ALWAYS there, ready to rejoice with us, so we might as well rejoice in the Lord, because only good will come of that. If the good that comes of our rejoicing is only a happy mood for a short while, that alone is worth it.  If the only good that comes of our rejoicing is that we pleased our Father in Heaven, well, what could be better than that?  When sadness tries to take over, reject it, put in a fun praise song and dance before the Lord- He will bless you for it!

I looked up that verse today because I've been reading about the rescued Chilean miners and their pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  These men and their families are just so full of joy towards the Lord for saving them from the bowels of the earth, and as I read about their travels, I can't help but swell up with great joy for them- that they are alive and well, and able to experience the wonders of traveling in the very places where Jesus walked.

But then as I read that verse, I read the small verse after it, and I don't know that I ever connected the dots and read the two together.

"Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand."  Philippians 4:5

When we're stressed and/or depressed, we tend to be crabby and short with those around us.  Gentleness really doesn't factor in, if I'm to be completely honest.  I mean, really, when I'm having a bad day, the last thing I am exhibiting to those around me is gentleness in any form.   But here... first we are told to rejoice in the Lord always- and admonished twice to do that as well.  And then we are told to let our gentleness be known to all.  They go together- like peas and carrots.  When we rejoice in the Lord, the gentleness is there, and will be exhibited to all who cross our paths, because by rejoicing, we will also taking steps towards bearing the fruit of the spirit- of which gentleness is a part.   When we rejoice in the Lord, we are laughing at the enemy who wishes to sideline us and our families.  By rejoicing, we're sending the devil packing, and we're watering the very soil upon which our fruit will grow!

But then look at that last line!  Just look at that- how wonderful!  The Lord IS at hand.  He's right there.  He's right here.  He knows the trials we go through.  He knows the issues we face and struggle with each and every day.  He IS at hand, and He is ready to hold our hand and let us know it will be all right, and that everything will work out for good.  God's good like that, and I just can't help but think about how much it delights Him when we set aside our troubles and instead, choose to delight ourselves in Him, and to rejoice in Him.   I am certain it makes Him exceedingly happy, and in return, He wants to share that exceeding happiness with us who caused it in the first place.  It's a wonderful cycle- rejoice in the Lord!!

Rejoice in the Lord, always!  This was such an important thing for Paul to share with the people, that he repeated himself!  I suggest we take heed!

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!"  Philippians 4:4

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