Rejoice: How to Safeguard Yourself

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.

Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]

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?

Are You Missing the Benefits of Joy and Play?

by Debbie Wilson

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

This quote struck me, because in many ways, I lost my sense play last year. 2020 was one of the hardest years I can remember. I lost one of my closest friends to cancer; several of my friends lost loved ones in unexpected tragedies; we were isolated, experienced national chaos, a worldwide pandemic, and an election like none I’ve ever witnessed.

Under such circumstances, to talk about fun may sound frivolous and out of touch. But I have good reason to believe joy is exactly what we need.

Research shows that fun can trigger the release of endorphins which promote an overall sense of well-being. And happy people have better relationships. The Bible supports turning on the joy even—or especially—in challenging circumstances.

Joy Is Biblical!

From prison the Apostle Paul wrote: “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4 NLT).

King Solomon, the wisest of kings, wrote: “A cheerful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22 NLT).

A Psalm addressing the injustice of the wicked getting away with their evil schemes includes this admonition. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires” (Psalm 37:4 NLT).

Considering these biblical admonitions, today is the perfect day to count our blessings—not our woes. God made us to celebrate and to enjoy Him. Paul said that rejoicing in the Lord is a safeguard for us (Philippians 3:1).

Oswald Chambers said, “I am ever playing in God’s Presence as well as praying in it.”

Considering this has helped me give myself permission to enjoy life’s daily blessings and carve time for activities I enjoy. I’ve been reminding myself throughout the day to “Rejoice in the Lord!” Just saying those words aloud helps me smile.

This year, I am working to put strong boundaries on my thought life and rejoice in the Lord always.

Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10 NLT

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.

Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]

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: What role do joy and play have in your life? How do you incorporate them into your day? If you are good at this, I hope you will share a tip to help the rest of us incorporate more joy and play into our daily lives.