Joy! This is our theme for a new fiscal year based on Philippians 4:4. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say rejoice.” This seems to be a well placed verse in scripture. Paul in writing to the church in Philippi, speaks a charge to Euodia and Syntyche to live in harmony, and then urges others in the church to help them work together for the cause of the gospel. From that charge he writes this strong command to rejoice.
The command of rejoice means to feel or show great joy or delight. That is hard to do when we are not in unity, or if we are sick, or if we have needs. Yet the command is to rejoice in the Lord always. It is a discipline. We have this command as often our default in times of challenge is not to rejoice. As I study and prepare to share on a theme, God speaks deeply to my heart about the reality of the theme in my own life. Do I rejoice always? No, yet I must be renewed by the command as Euodia and Syntyche must have been as that letter was read in the church in Philippi. Rejoice in the Lord always!
In my study, I found a definition of joy that has been helpful. Kay Warren wrote:
Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in every situation.
My joy must have a foundation of faith in the fact that God is in control of all the details of my life. We know this in our heads and yet to know it in our hearts and to have a first reaction of joy in a time of challenge of difficulty is much harder. I think what I like about the definition is the word “settled”. When a difficulty or challenge comes, it takes some time to settle into that place of knowing that God is in control of all of the details. Illness, personal conflict, the challenges in our world, and the list goes on and on. We have plenty of opportunities to learn to rejoice. Can you and I settle into a place to know and believe that He is in control?
From this place of faith can we then step into a quiet confidence that everything is going to be alright. Those words can seem far away when our struggle is very difficult or ongoing. Yet we all know people who have very difficult circumstances but live with a quiet confidence and joy. I want to be that person, to rejoice always in the Lord. I want to have the fruit of the Spirit of joy evident first in my own spirit and then to others as a witness to His glory.
Finally from those places of assurance and confidence we are able to rejoice in the Lord always, as we make a determined choice to praise God in every situation. The good times and the bad. A determined choice of praise!
This is real time stuff for us here in CVM. Each week seems to hold this amazing mix of testimonies of God’s work through all who serve as well as a long list of people living in the midst of very difficult challenges. We have to purpose to live in unity as we serve together and yet find conflict and challenge. In both times we have to be people who purpose to rejoice in the Lord always and need your prayers that we may know His joy and show His joy to others.
Thank you for praying, giving, and encouraging us in this service.
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