Abounding Joy

“Rejoice in the Lord alway.” – Philippians 4:4

Paul was growing old. The sufferings he had experienced had certainly taken their toll. Yet despite the catalogue of afflictions he had endured while preaching the gospel of Christ, he had not lost his sense of the vibrancy of life. The words joy and rejoice (which is a variant form of the word joy) occur sixteen times in this epistle.

These words express triumph in the face of the disappointments and hardships of the Christian life. The command ‘Rejoice in the Lord alway’ sounds the keynote of the entire epistle. The Christian can rejoice at all times and under all circumstances, because the source of his joy is the Lord. Thus rejoicing, like joy, is supernatural. It issues from the very nature of God and is intended to well up within those in whom God’s Spirit dwells.

Those who have trusted Christ have the privilege of experiencing ‘fulness of joy’ (Psa. 16:11). The ‘Man of sorrows’ was possessed of a deep joy. As He faced the cruel death of the cross, He said to His followers, ‘These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full’ (John 15:11).

The unusual thing about Paul’s situation was that there appeared to be no reason for him to rejoice. He was a Roman prisoner awaiting trial. He might be acquitted, or he might be beheaded. Yet in spite of his danger and discomfort, Paul overflowed with joy.

He could testify, ‘I rejoiced in the Lord greatly’ (Phil. 4:10). All our joys must terminate in God, and our thoughts of God must be delightful thoughts. The psalmist said, ‘Delight thyself also in the Lord’ (Psa. 37:4). Even in the midst of grievous and afflicting experiences he could say, ‘In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul’ (94:19).

Earthly joys vanish, but when you rejoice in the Lord, you have something that lasts.

Quote: “Joy is the flag that is flown from the citadel of the heart when the King is in residence.” – Anonymous

 Daily devotions are from the book “Eagle’s Wings” published by the Free Presbyterian Church. © Free Presbyterian Church 1991- All Rights Reserved.

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