Philippians 4:4-5 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! 5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.
What is joy? In the text that we are reading above, joy refers to the unshakable confidence the Christian has no matter what the circumstances. What we see written in this text is a command - a command that demands an all-the-time attitude of rejoicing in the Lord. Now would God command the Christian to do something without the provision of grace to accomplish it? Absolutely not! Today I want to begin looking into this incredible chapter of Philippians, for I believe it can lead us to understand what it means to have a joyful Christianity.
So how is it that I can rejoice in the Lord always? Note the following graceful provisions in these two verses:
1. The scripture. Paul repeats the command: "again I will say, rejoice". In writing scripture, and then repeating the text again, Paul is reminding us that what the Holy Spirit is giving him to write is indeed the very provision of grace to fuel our faith-life. What happens when you are facing that surgery? Or uncertain of the future of your health? Or hear news of a loved one being ill? Or perhaps you are grieving over the loss of a loved one? Only through regular exposure and taking in of God's word can you have the faith that will be necessary to truly have confidence in the Lord. This is indeed the source of the fuel of the faith-life.
2. Fellowship with God. I get this second provision from the next statement - "Let your gentle spirit". What is Paul speaking of when he says "spirit". It is that part of us wherein God the Holy Spirit is pleased to dwell. When we are walking in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with Him. (1 John 1:7). Having fellowship, or closeness with God yields peace - one of the fruits of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22).
Have you ever met anyone who has a quiet gentle spirit? Whenever we have the Spirit of God at the helm of the ship of our life, no matter what the sea may be like - we have peace of knowing that the God over the storm is also in the ship - and driving the ship of our faith.
3. The Second Coming of Christ. Paul ends this verse by this statement: "The Lord is Near". He is not speaking of the Lord's proximity to us (He speaks of that in other passages). Rather He is making a brief statement about Christ's second coming. Now why is that a marvelous provision of grace? Because it simply means that the course and purpose of history is determined not by sin, nor circumstance, nor people, nor natural disaster - but by the Lord.
If God is in control of the purpose and course of history, then surely He has the throttle of my circumstances. To rejoice means to have confidence that God is God no matter what. When I look to His soon return, He's got the future. When I look at Him indwelling me, I know he's got my emotions and thoughts in His hand. When I look to His word - I know that I know that I know that no matter what - I can have a joyful, confidence in the Lord.
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Monday, November 14, 2011
Confident no matter what
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