This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.
Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice! – Philippians 4:4
To say that Philippians is a letter about joy might be an understatement. From start to finish, the pages drip with Paul’s joy and his call for others to rejoice along with him.
We must be careful not to think that Paul was blind to the hard and difficult things in the world that seek to rob joy. As you read through the letter, he speaks of being in prison on account of the Gospel. He details the internal war he waged between wanting to die and be with Jesus and wanting to stay alive to help others know and follow Jesus. He speaks of people preaching the Gospel in a rivalry against him. He talks of sick friends and bickering co-laborers. He describes facing times of hunger in addition to times of plenty.
Paul knew the hard life. Paul knew suffering.
Yet, he also knew joy through it all.
This happiness that Paul experienced, you see, was not based on the happenstances of the moment. Good times come and go and so do the bad. Life happens and sometimes that is painful. If that’s where the foundation of his joy rested, then he would be up and down, all over the place, his emotions like a rollercoaster.
But his joy found a sure foundation. “Rejoice in the Lord,” Paul wrote. Elsewhere, Paul spoke about how the sufferings of today aren’t even worth comparing to the eternal wealth of glory.
When you believe that Jesus is the one true source of eternal joy and satisfaction, of an abundant life beyond the 70 or 80 years or so we get in this world, then it changes how you live and see your circumstances. You are able to hold onto joy no matter what the winds of life bring because the best is coming. The momentary winter of suffering will give way to an unending spring of delight.
That is joy’s hope, no matter what may come.
Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.