Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Even When...Rejoice in the Lord

 Wednesday, October 27, 2021 Some material taken from Living Worthy of the Gospel Part 3

Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord…Philippians 3:1a

Even When...Rejoice in the Lord

Paul is in a Roman prison when he writes these words and I don’t know about you, but to me, it is hard to imagine that we would have the same response if we were the ones in prison. It seems like, in those circumstances, that it would be really hard to keep the faith, but Paul does, and he gives us some of the best advice for living worthy from the depths of a dungeon. This rejoicing Paul speaks of, is to be in the Lord, not from anything else.

Rejoice in the Lord – despite your circumstances… 

Pastor Sam told us Sunday that maturing believers rejoice in the Lord, not in their circumstances. As mature believers, meaning we have a relationship with the Lord and we have grown in that relationship and in the knowledge of Him over time, we should have a different response to our unstable circumstances around us. Our unstable circumstances can really make us feel a lot of anxiety, fear, and hopelessness. But if we have a relationship with the Lord, we know Him, and if we know Him, we know what kind of a God He is. We know He is faithful. We know He is sovereign and in control. We know He is more than capable of handling our circumstances. We know He keep His promises.  

A change in circumstances shouldn’t be what changes the attitude of the believer. 

There is so much danger in placing our trust in our circumstances, because they will always disappoint us and will often crush us if we let them. They can make us feel safe and comfortable and good for a while, but they don’t stay that way. Circumstances can shift in an instant and our joy and safety and happiness and strength cannot be dependant on something so temporary. There is no stability in our earthly circumstances. There is only stabiblity in our heavenly circumstances. God is sovereign and eternal – the same yesterday, today, and forever. There is stability in Him alone – not in any person, future goals, bank accounts, health, or any amount of earthly possessions we own. This is where we can find peace, safety, stability and hope – not in our circumstances. Our circumstances can rob us of everything but this - nothing can ever take away our salvation and identity in Christ. 

We try to look for something outside of ourselves – in our circumstances, in food, in shopping, in drugs, in exercise, etc.- that simply cannot be found where we are looking. We cannot create something on the outside that only comes from something on the inside – the joy of the Lord, from a relationship with the Lord. We cannot replicate this anywhere else, but we spend a lot of time and effort trying to do just that.

Rejoice in the Lord – not who or what you used to be…

Paul was a very accomplished person. He had a past full of accomplishments that were very impressive. He tells us this so we know that he understands. It is hard not to live in the past – the glory days. But what we once were, no matter how impressive, is nothing compared to what we are in Christ. A lot of Paul’s credentials were equivalent to being in church every week, or reading the Bible everyday, or all the way through five times, or being the model neighbor, son or daughter. But even being the model Christian cannot be compared to knowing Christ and the joy we find in Him.  

Paul’s message was clear – nothing in our past or our present will give us the joy that the Lord can and we should not be looking anywhere but to Him to fill that desire. 


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