by Debbie W. Wilson
Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Philippians. 3:1 NIV
How can you safeguard what’s precious to you? In the above Scripture, Paul offers a surprising form of protection—rejoice in the Lord!
I find it ironic that a letter written from prison would talk about rejoicing. Maybe you’ve felt like you’ve been in a prison this past year. COVID restrictions restrained us from gathering with friends and family. We couldn’t participate in activities we’d taken for granted. Without warning, many of life’s securities and pleasures were yanked away.
Paul didn’t have Zoom to keep in touch with the churches or Amazon Prime to deliver groceries. At one point, he asked Timothy to bring him the basic necessities of a cloak and writing paper. Yet, he says, “Rejoice in the Lord!”
Why Should We Rejoice in the Lord?
Paul says, “it is a safeguard to you.” A safeguard is a form of protection. It provides firm footing in uncertain times. The only absolute certainty we have is knowing the One who never changes (Heb. 13:8).
When Do We Rejoice?
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NIV).
Always! Even during COVID and political unrest. Even when we’re sick, weary, broke, or lonely. Rejoicing in the Lord should be a constant attitude no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in.
In What Do We Rejoice?
Imagine being on death row. You’ve said goodbye to your loved ones, your reputation, and your dreams of a future. You await lethal injection. The fateful day arrives. The guard, accompanied by a cohort of officials, comes at the appointed time. A man steps forward and reads from an official-looking document. The President of the United States has pardoned you. They haven’t come to escort you to your death, but to return your life!
Now imagine a month later you scorch the shirt you’re ironing for a job interview and get a parking ticket the same day. How long would the wonder of being pardoned last before you allowed lesser things to rob you of the joy of being alive?
Jesus understood the folly of basing our joy on our circumstances. Even phenomenal wins are transient.
“The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name’” (Lk. 10:17 NIV). What a high the seventy-two followers of Christ must have felt watching demons submit to them. Jesus rejoiced with them. But notice His warning.
“He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’” (Lk. 10:18-20 NIV).
The seventy-two who rejoiced in that victory would soon be disillusioned when Jesus was crucified. Circumstances change. There will be days when we see great victories. But no matter how amazing those highs are, they can’t compare with the unshakable fact our names are written in the Book of Life!
It’s good to rejoice over our blessings. But we must be careful not to let the setbacks in life tarnish the joy that comes from knowing Jesus and having eternal life.
How? David danced before the Lord. Mary washed Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment. The woman who’d been forgiven much washed His feet with her tears. Deborah and Miriam led Israel in song.
How you rejoice may depend on your personality and situation. The admonition to rejoice in Philippians 4 was in the context of worry and prayer. The point is, do it! Make a habit of recalling God’s character and counting your eternal blessings. This practice will safeguard you through whatever life brings.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).
About the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big Godand Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, was released in February 2020.
She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.
Join the conversation: How do you rejoice over your blessings?