The reason for this series is for us to take God’s Word, and apply it to our lives in hopes we can keep the JOY of Christmas alive all year-long in 2017!
As we continue to read in Philippians, we see the Apostle Paul writing some encouraging words for us all. Here is the third way to Repeat The Sounding Joy…All Year Long!
STRIVE TO REJOICE
Philippians 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The Apostle Paul uses the word Rejoice twice because we tend to forget to Rejoice in the Lord especially in the midst of dealing with difficult people, circumstances, and the problems of life. When Paul says, Rejoice always, he’s not talking about a giddiness or a positive mental attitude or something based on outward circumstances.
Remember where Paul was writing this letter. He’s in a Roman prison, chained to Roman guards seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. He was on trial for his life with no certain hope of release. I’m not certain, but I would guess that Paul didn’t Rejoice being in prison. However, in the midst of a prison being chained up, he found reasons to Rejoice in the Lord, even in that difficult circumstance.
He could Rejoice because he used whatever situation the Lord put him in to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! He had a captive audience by being chained up and in prison with some of the highest ranking Roman guards and officials. He took this opportunity, and used it to advance the Gospel!
I truly think Christians should be known as joyful people. The joy that we have in our life comes when Christ is Lord of our life. In Christ, our Joy comes from the Lord.
Here is a great way that will help you STRIVE TO REJOICE. Sometime between now and December 31, take a sheet of paper and write at the top Reasons to Rejoice Today. I did that this past week and here’s the list I came up with.
1) My sins are forgiven, 2) Jesus is my Savior, 3) I have a loving Christian wife, and three amazing kids who love Jesus, 4) Christian friends, 5) a great church, 6) God’s Word, 7) the Holy Spirit to guide me, 8) enough money to tithe and pay my bills, 9) good books to read, 10) our adopted daughter, Lottie will be here in 2017!
Paul goes on to show us other ways we can STRIVE TO REJOICE…
Be Gentle: Let your reasonableness or gentleness be known to everyone. People around us can experience our Joy in the Lord by how gentle we are to all people, even the people who drive us nuts. In that moment when you feel the heat rising between you and a friend and you know very soon you’re about to say something you soon regret, that’s when you need to ask God for a gentle spirit.
At times the holidays bring out the very opposite of gentleness. There is something about this time of the year that’s not so wonderful. Many of us have endured some painful moments as our family and friends gathered to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Pray for me this week as I prepare to drive to Kansas and face all the holiday traffic to be with family for Christmas. I’m not that gentle when I’m behind the wheel!
Worry About Nothing – Pray About Everything: One thing that helps me to not worry so much, is knowing Jesus is always near to me, and will be even nearer on His return! I needed this verse every day of my life! The time we spend worrying is basically wasted emotional energy? Worry is wrong because it assumes that God can’t take care of you. He promised to care for us, but when we worry, we are saying, “Lord, I don’t believe you can take care of me or this situation, so I’m going to take matters into my own hands.”
As we enter Christmas Day, and a New Year, we all have our own concerns that trouble us. It may be health issues, or financial pressures, or a big decision you need to make. It could be family problems or marital struggles or issues at school or on the job.
Here’s some questions to think on:
Do you know for certain what will happen tomorrow or next year? No.
Can your worrying change the course of events? No.
Then why bother worrying at all? Worry and prayer are opposites, like water and fire.
We can worry or we can pray but we can’t do both at the same time.
Paul has three pieces of advice for people who worry:
- Pray about everything. Take everything to the Lord in prayer.
- Pray with thanksgiving. Give God the glory in everything, make room for Him in your life, and cast all our cares upon Him.
- Pray with expectation. Present your requests to God, by faith, and trust in Him. For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
I pray this passage from Philippians will help you this Christmas season to Repeat The Sounding Joy…All Year Long!