“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
This is a verse not often considered in its context. Paul was attempting to deal with disunity in the Philippian church. This verse addresses how to deal with broken relationships in a positive way. Paul sat in jail telling others to “rejoice.” Christian joy is independent of circumstance.
“Rejoice” is a command. Joy is a matter of the will. The word “rejoice” is in the present tense: “Keep on rejoicing in the Lord.” Their joy would advance the harmony of the church. Inner tranquility contributes to good relationships with other people. It is amazing how conflict with others often resolves by resolution within oneself. Those who rejoice in the Lord predispose toward harmony.
in the Lord
The Lord is the source of joy. Euodia and Syntyche revolved their lives around something other than the Lord. Their satisfaction was not in the Lord. Their satisfaction was in how effective they were in delivering a zinger to the other person. Satan subtly transferred their source of satisfaction from the Lord to winning the war with the other person. Their lives were revolving around the wrong hub—themselves. Their lives should have revolved around the Lord. Hebrews 12:2 shows the Lord Himself as an example of focusing on the right source of joy: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus’ joy linked to His enduring the cross. There was a relationship between His joy and His walk in the will of God. His joy was in pleasing His Father.
Psalm 16:8 says something similar: “I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” The depiction is of one who has a clear goal set before him. The Lord is the goal. Is the dominating desire of your life to focus on the Lord? When we center our lives “in the Lord,” our view of life changes. That viewpoint can stand the shock of sin against our person.
Joy is no ephemeral emotion but a principle accepted deep within one’s soul, in the attitude.
True joy is not grounded in conditions on earth but in Christ Himself. The focus of our thinking changes our attitude.
No one can rob us of the Lord; therefore, no one can rob us of our joy. Christ and His work satisfy our soul, making us independent of satisfaction from any other source. Do you fully appreciate the extent of your blessings in Christ? If we do, it will lift us above the lesser reasons for our joy. Joy and antagonism toward someone else cannot coexist at the same time. Joy dispels antagonism.
Many athletic teams have not had winning seasons because of internal conflict on the team. Businesses have failed because of personal discord. Wars have been lost because of disagreements among generals. Do you have discord in your life? Is it affecting the quality of your life? What is our central passion? Is it to get back at someone for hurting us? Is it to center our thoughts on the Lord? Radiant Christian living resolves conflict.