“Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you.” Philippians 3.1
This wasn’t the first time Paul uses the word rejoice. Some translations have Paul using this word rejoice nine times, only two less than in the entire book of Luke. The entire book of Philippians is themed by maintaining joy in the Lord. “In Greek, the word translated to rejoice is χαίρω, charió, (Khah’-ee-ro) which literally means to be “favorably disposed to God’s grace” (HELPS Word-studies). It is very similar to the words translated to “grace” and “joy.” This puts a whole new meaning on the word rejoice.” (Follow link for source.)
As Paul begins and exhorts ”Rejoice in the Lord!” he unashamedly admits that he’s using this word/phrasing again and that it is ”no trouble” for him to write the same things to you. Reminds me of the common usage in sermons of repeating terms and phrases. (Think of MLK’s ”I Have a Dream” speech.)
Paul begins the third chapter as we know it with this phrase, ”Rejoice in the Lord!” Our rejoicing is not in anything BUT the Lord. If when asked about our lives, we must always refer to the Lord. Although rejoicing may be difficult in certain circumstances, we are called to be filled with grace none the less. And the object of our grace is the Lord Jesus.
I sometimes will listen to the stories of fellow believers, their call stories, their life as a Christ follower. Yet if in the entirety of their narrative, God is not mentioned, I begin to question. I find this lack of a reference to the Lord, and his works, fascinating disappointing and sad. How can we not even mention the One who had made salvation and redemption possible? How can we not rejoice in the One who has called us? I can only conclude that those who speak as such either do not have the confidence in God to mention him directly or have not experienced the resurrected Christ for themselves. Paul tells us in 1 Peter 3.15 to ”always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us.”
If I were to tell you about myself, for example, but not mention the most important people in my life such as my wife, my children, my parents, sibling, in-laws, would they appear to matter to me? If a minister of the Gospel or a Christian tells me all about ministry in the church but Jesus is not at the forefront of their story, is he even activity in their story?
Rejoicing in the Lord means to be fully engaged in the Lord. To seek his name, to tell of his deeds, to proclaim his goodness. Paul does not only want us to rejoice in life in general, he wants us to rejoice IN THE LORD (my emphasis.)
How are you telling others what about God is doing in your life? Are you rejoicing in the Lord? Are you living by his grace? Are you proclaiming his goodness and mercy to a world deeply in need of his love?
“O Lord God, I love you. I confess I am a sinner, saved by grace. Help me Lord find truth in your world, to live by your standards, to pursue godliness over the flesh. Come now, fill me Holy Spirit. Help me know the power of your love that I might rejoice in you. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen