Reflection: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!…Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and pleading with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4, 6-7 AMP
Paul proposes that “the peace of God, which passes all understanding,” keeps one’s heart and mind through any circumstance or difficulty. The peace of God empowers us to endure the unknown of painful and tumultuous events. It reduces fear and worries and enables us to rest in the confidence of God’s authority and supernatural presence in the face of impossible odds. Peace within our hearts and minds reflects an inward yieldedness towards the purpose and path of God in our lives, even when the future of both is unclear. Psalm 23:1 says, “Even though I walk through the [sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” The measure of our peace is indicative of victory over our thoughts and emotions.
Despite the situation or struggles believers endure, Paul calls for them to rejoice. In four chapters, the word “rejoice”—or some derivative of it—is used 16 times. Rejoice means to be filled with joy or a state of continuous well-being. It is not temporary or an emotional reaction based on circumstances or how one feels. Instead, rejoice is a quality or trait that exists continually.
The ability to rejoice is rooted in God and comes from Him. Joy is the fruit of a right relationship with God. We cannot create or work up joy or the ability to rejoice in our efforts. Joy is a place we must strive to reach in God. Rejoicing in the Lord amid anxiety, pain, or difficulty is a spiritual feat that comes through a relationship with God. When we walk in fellowship with Him, we can rejoice when trouble comes because we know He is the one in control. It is not in our power, or our family, or any other source—but in God.
To rejoice or to be joyful is something dynamic and energized, rather than static or stagnant. Each time adverse, stressful circumstances confront us, “We will rejoice.” Maintaining this position of joyfulness in our life is a perpetual process.
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During your struggles, anxiety, or doubts—rejoice in the Lord. Allow the joy of God’s presence to infuse the attitude of your heart with gratefulness. Be thankful for the small things. Praise Him daily for the things you easily take for granted. As you allow thanksgiving to fill your thoughts, let His peace guard them and keep you in a place of joyful expectation.