“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.”
Chapter 3 begins a series of exhortations for living the Christian life. The first exhortation challenges believers to place no confidence in the flesh (3:1-14).
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord”
Before imploring the Philippians to not deposit confidence in the flesh, Paul charged them to “Rejoice in the Lord.” Rejoicing is a theme of the epistle. Evidently the Philippians needed to develop a joy orientation. Paul came back to this over and over.
Christians today require this challenge. Discouragement makes headway easily. Yet joy in the Lord quickly defeats discouragement. Steering attention toward Him rather than toward our circumstances releases focus upon problems.
Focus on the Lord is execution of the principle of displacement.
To change the focus of our orientation is the principle of displacement. If the nucleus of our thinking is upon failure, failure becomes our orientation. If we change the core of our thinking to contemplate the Lord, He becomes our ambition. Whether or not success comes our way grows more irrelevant to us. If we place the Lord at the center point of our thinking, lesser things seem trivial.
The prevailing philosophy among Christians is: “If I am healthy, I’m happy,” “When everything is going right and coming up roses, I’m happy.” However, when reversals prevail, that happiness evaporates. When we are misunderstood and not appreciated, can we rejoice then? If we rest our orientation toward life on perpetual positive circumstances, we put ourselves in a desperate situation. We cannot rejoice in our circumstances all the time, but we can rejoice in our Lord ceaselessly (4:4). If we displace the hope of ongoing stable circumstances with joy in the Lord, vulnerability to changing conditions no longer disrupts our balance.