Rejoice in the Lord Always

by Terry Wane Benton

It is noteworthy that Paul had been in prison for two years in Caesarea, then had a terrible shipping mishap from Caesarea to Rome, and was under house arrest in Rome for two more years, but writes to the Philippian brethren to "rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4). He did not have time to feel sorry for himself. He did not want the brethren to feel sorry for him nor for them to fret about persecution and hardship because what we have in Christ is greater than the negatives that might get us down if we put the riches in Christ on the back burner. His thinking was that the excellence of the knowledge of Christ made everything else garbage to be thinking about. Christ should always be on the front burner, and all else as trivial things on the back burner.

To the Ephesians, Paul said that we may know what Paul knew (Ephesians 3:3-5) by reading what the Spirit had him write. In other words, we should always be able to rejoice in the Lord, keeping our wonderful spiritual blessings up front to dominate our outlook. We should be able to see life's experiences like Paul did. Make the other stuff garbage compared to the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, and rejoice in the Lord always. It was doable for a man in prison and must be doable for us. It takes knowing what Paul knew, the great news of Jesus, and training to keep our focus, and then the morning sun dawns in us. As one Christian wrote in a song, "sweeter as the years go by" and "richer, fuller, deeper, Jesus' love is sweeter, sweeter as the years go by."

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