In a way, our battle with anxiety comes down to a few simple questions: do we believe God or not? Do we believe He is sovereign over our lives or not? In Phil. 4:4-7, we find Paul exhorting us to bring all things to the Lord in prayer at all times because He is a God we can trust absolutely.
Part 17 of a whole book study series called “Joy in Christ: A Study Through Philippians.”
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Remember — Paul was a prisoner awaiting trial that could potentially have led him to his death as he wrote this letter. And yet he still implores the Philippian believers to rejoice, despite his own personal circumstances; from a worldly standpoint, he had little cause for rejoicing!
In a certain sense, this exhortation to rejoice connects with Paul’s exhortation to rejoice in Philippians 3:1. And at the same time, it is part of his closing words and continues the thematic imperative to joy threaded throughout the letter.
It’s significant to reflect on the word always here. Consider: how difficult is it to rejoice in the Lord in the midst of a loss, grief, sickness, or other life chaos? Tough, right? We tend to let our emotions and feelings rule us in those times. It’s not that we shouldn’t have emotions and feelings; we were created with them. But we need the ability — based on our knowledge of God’s word — to be able to tell ourselves the biblical truth in spite of what we may feel at the time. We need constant reminders of what it is we have that goes beyond these temporal struggles and looks past these earthly pains. Continue reading →
In my recent post, Not Having All the Answers, I shared with you a struggle that an important person in my life was having and that I worked hard at not coming up with all the perfect theological and scriptural answers to help him solve his problem.
Today I have it on my heart to share the end of the story. Or you could say it was the beginning.
The person is my brother and the problem he faced (without going into his private details) was a legal one (albeit minor). A wrong attitude on his part combined with a falsehood told by the law enforcement side brought him to the day where he had to face things — but he was tempted to run away instead (literally). Depending on the mind of one judge, he could face an unknown amount of jail time. Long enough and he’d also face the upheaval of losing his business, dog, house – in short, his life.
For weeks, he struggled, prayed, wrestled, rationalized, talked, went back and forth, and fought mentally and spiritually over a decision that either way could change his life forever. For weeks, those of us who love him supported, listened, and loved him without telling him what he should do. Continue reading →
When I was much younger (in years and in the faith), I was involved in a Christian online forum. Since many of the people who frequented that forum were even younger than I was, I became a person who was an “authority.” I hesitate to use that word, because I always viewed it as service, not expertise.
Many of these people were wrestling with significant doctrinal issues and I would often feel compelled to try and answer all their questions. You can imagine how overwhelming this was, but it also led me to a place where I began to feel I needed to be right about everything. To be able to give an airtight explanation that would leave them feeling more satisfied and confident in their Christian faith. Continue reading →