This morning I read (and subsequently tweeted) the rather catalyzing scripture of Philippians 4:4 in The Message:
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him!
In the NIV it says to ‘rejoice in the Lord always.’ But what does that really mean?
The word rejoice is a rather old-school term, in regards to current culture. You don’t hear it much in newer worship songs. In fact, I can only think of two songs in which the word comes up in: the song highlighted in today’s video, and Israel Houghton’s interpretation (found HERE). If you were to ask the average person on the street (random::Who exactly is the average person on the street?::thought) how they defined the word, you would probably get responses like “oh, um… it means to be joyful” or “i dunno… happy.” Perhaps this is where I pause to gather some market research… or not.
Let’s see what my friend Merriam says about the word:
- to give joy to.
- to feel joy or great delight.
Ya know, I can actually work with that.
So, back to our verse.
To give you a little context, the book of Phillipians is a letter Paul wrote to…
…the Phillipians, that’s right. Wow, you’re brilliant.
Anyways, Paul writes to the people of Phillipi while he is in prison. The book mainly consists of exhortations, where Paul is further guiding them on how to live a holy life for Christ (perseverence, humility, etc.), and warnings against false preachers (I wish I had Paul’s yardstick to measure up some of the preachers of our day).
Verse 4:4 comes towards the end of the book, as more of a conclusional statement. But think about it: Paul is writing this letter in prison, where we all know his situation was less than stellar. And yet, all things considered, he emplores the Phillipians to rejoice – to feel joy and great delight – in the Lord.
Here’s The Takeaway
Now more than ever we are presented with many opportunities to rejoice. How many of us feel stressed, overburdened, persecuted, misunderstood, weak, neglected, or just plain unloved. Whether or not God planned all these situations in our lives (don’t worry, that’s another conversation altogether), they are there. How we react is our choice.
To rejoice is simply to react to life with delight – DELIGHT!
- “But Sam, you don’t understand… people hate me.”
- “But Sam, my husband doesn’t love me anymore.”
- “But Sam, I don’t even want to live anymore.”
Stay with me. I am not saying to be glad BECAUSE of your circumstance – no. I am saying (as James said in James 1:2-4) to be joyful THROUGH your circumstance.
Worship is a constant effort to connect with God. It is our minute ability to have a relationship with infinite Creator. But, even the smallest act of rejoicing creates HUGE rapport with God. He LOVES when His children reach out to Him. He BLESSES our faithfulness.