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Return of the King - Advent 2016

December 16, 2016 – Don’t Worry, Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!”
– Philippians 4:4

Philippians: Epistle of Joy

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is a joyful letter. Throughout it, he not only encourages his hearers to rejoice, he tells them why he is already rejoicing. In the opening chapter, he notes that some people are preaching the Gospel out of false motives. This could have given him cause to complain or grumble. But he doesn’t. Instead, he writes, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice” (Philippians 1:18).

Paul was so confident in what God was doing that he was able to rejoice in hope. In fact, this hope was so strong that the fear of death itself couldn’t steal his joy. In chapter two, he goes on to say, “But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me” (Philippians 2:17-18).

 Paul goes on to exhort the Philippian believers to rejoice twice more (or really three times, I suppose). In the third chapter, he writes, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1). Then, in chapter four, we hear him say, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

Paul wanted the Philippians to have such confidence and hope in the work of God that they could rejoice always. He saw it as a “safeguard” for them.

Don’t Worry, Rejoice!

The same could be said of us.

Rejoicing safeguards our faith. It helps to protect us against so many entangling thoughts. When our minds entertain doubts and discouragements, our faith is weakened. But if, on the other hand, we steer our thinking toward joyful things, we’ll not only strengthen our faith, we’ll also draw closer to God.

If you’re feeling anxious today, rejoice in the work God has done and will do in your life! Don’t doubt, rejoice! Are you feeling discouraged? Rejoice!

Don’t spend energy thinking on everything that’s going wrong. Instead, focus on the God who is setting all things right.

I’ll close today’s devotion with some of Paul’s final words to the Philippians, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

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