Philippians 4:4--Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is very emphatic in his command that Christians always rejoice. In fact, he repeats it twice in one sentence, as seen above. Since the Bible is God's holy, infallible Word, anything said in it even once is important, and anything said more than once should definitely be heeded. How important, then, is a command repeated twice in one sentence? I think you know the answer.
Any time repetition is used, it emphasizes something. Here, Paul stresses the importance of always rejoicing, no matter what we're going through or what's going on around us. Why?
As our Heavenly Father, God wants us to live joyful lives. It is important to Him that we are happy and satisfied--though not with the wrong things. Let me pause here a moment and say that it is absolutely amazing that the God of the universe would care about our happiness, that He would put our joy as a priority on His list. He loves us so much that He humbles Himself to look down from His throne on high and work in our lives just to make us joyful. So, rejoicing not only allows us to live happier lives, it makes God happy too. Who would've thought?
It is also important because of others. When people see you bearing a trial with joy, they will wonder how and why you do so, and they will want the joy that you have. The lost will be drawn to God because they will be curious as to how you could go through such a hard time and be happy. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Your joy in darkness will be a light that draws others to Christ like moths to a flame. This also affects Christians. When a brother or sister in Christ sees you enduring a trial with joy, it will encourage them to do the same. They may not be as mature a believer as you, and by this, you can help them grow spiritually. So don't be selfish with your joy; show it and share it with others so they can come to Christ and grow in Him too. It's actually very hard to be joyful when you keep it to yourself. The best joy is shared joy.
Now we've covered why always rejoicing is important--to please God, to draw the lost to Him, to help others grow in Him, and simply to live a fulfilled life--so let's look at how. In this same sentence, Paul also gives us the answer to how we can always rejoice, no matter how bad our life may seem.
The answer lies in the object of the preposition. In this verse, the preposition is "in" and its object is "the Lord". We have to keep our focus on God and rejoice in Him--not ourselves, not our accomplishments, not our circumstances, or our situations, or our possessions. Let the Lord be the object of your joy, just as He is the object of the preposition in this verse. Our joy must come from God. This is a simple, age-old truth. Isaiah spoke it hundreds of years before: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee" (Isaiah 26:3). And even before that, David wrote it in the seventh verse of Psalm 57: "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise." As long as our focus is on God, we can rejoice!
This means that our joy does not come from our circumstances or the things that happen around us. We can find happiness from those things, but true joy and satisfaction can only come from God. We should be focused on heavenly things and not the things of this earth. Even when Jesus healed the man sick of palsy in the ninth chapter of Matthew, He said, "Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee." The focus of the man's cheer was to be on the fact that his sins were forgiven, not that his body had been healed.
I pray that we would all be like the lyrics to the wonderful song "God has Been So Good to Me": "If all I had He took away, then I still would have to say, 'God has been so good to me.'" A good example of this is Job. After Job had literally lost almost everything but his life, he "arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped" (Job 1:21). Don't let your circumstances defeat you. God is always good, He always loves you, and He is always with you. Let your rejoicing be like Paul's command: repetitive. Let us all have a heart that is always joyful in the Lord and not our circumstances, so that if we, like Job, lose everything, we can still rejoice.
However, if you are lost, you have no reason to rejoice. You can't rejoice in the Lord because you don't have the Lord, and this means you're headed to a place called Hell. I say this not to offend you or accuse you, but because I care for you. I want you to go to Heaven and miss Hell. I want you to live a joyful life full of God's love and blessings. I want you to be saved. If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, please, click the Salvation tab above for more information.