Paul wrote in Philippians 4:4 the following, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say rejoice!”
Now consider D.A. Carson’s comments on the verse from his book Basics For Believers: An Exposition of Philippians…
The ultimate ground of our rejoicing can never be our circumstances, even though we as Christians recognize that our circumstances are providentially arranged. If our joy derives primarily from our circumstances, then when our circumstances change, we will be miserable. Our delight must be in the Lord himself. That is what enables us to live with joy above our circumstances. As Nehemiah puts it, “The joy of the Lord is our strength” (Neh 8:10). Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the Lord sometimes allows miserable circumstances to lash us… that we may learn this lesson. Whatever the mysteries of evil and sorrow, they do not have the salutary effect of helping believers to shift the ground of their joy from created things to the Creator, from the temporary to the eternal, from jingoism to Jesus, from consumption to God. (Page 106)
I am coming to believe and understand that suffering is indeed God’s way of reminding us (me!) that my joy, meaning, purpose, and reason for living is Christ and nothing else. I am also coming to believe that God is willing to take from us anything that there is a danger of trusting or loving more than Him.
Question: What is it that gives you security? What do you tie your self worth to? What is the single most important thing in your life? If you can answer those questions, you will know where the love of your heart is.
“Rejoice IN THE LORD ALWAYS… again I say REJOICE” is a command… and that is interesting to me. A command I plan to put into practice today… Friday… April 11, 2008.