Knowing who you are
Sat May 25, 2013
by Jeremy Pace
Resurgence roundup, 5/24/13
Fri May 24, 2013
The places grace empowers us
Thu May 23, 2013
by Justin Holcomb
‘Each next risk is the biggest one’: James MacDonald talks with Mark Driscoll
Wed May 22, 2013
by Mark Driscoll
Tue May 21, 2013
by Amanda Edmondson
Rejoicing as a Safeguard
Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Philippians 3:1–2
Why is rejoicing so important to Paul? Does he just want us to smile and be happy for Jesus? The contexts where Paul has either declared that he rejoices/will rejoice, or where he has exhorted the Philippians to rejoice are not situations that we would characterize as happy; these statements are found in the midst of hardship. Rejoicing is an activity we choose to do—not an emotion. If we choose to rejoice, it means we are choosing not to do something else. Paul here gives us a key insight into life that we cannot afford to miss.
More Thanks Brings Fewer Complaints
God, in his infinite wisdom, has ordained things to work a certain way. One of those things concerns our attitude or focus in life. If we are truly rejoicing and thankful for God’s provision, we cannot complain or be resentful. It doesn’t work that way; this is by design. What comes out of our mouths (for better or worse) is an indicator of what is going on in our hearts (see Matt 15:18; Luke 6:43–45). What do our words say about our attitude, heart, and focus?
Quit Robbing My Joy
This mutual exclusivity is a great thing for us. If we focus our efforts on rejoicing in God and in his provision, we are at the same time guarding against things that rob us of our joy. By making the choice to rejoice in the Lord in the midst of unpleasant circumstances, we will guard ourselves against fear, doubt, double-mindedness, and the discouragement that comes from opposition. All of these things are barometers for our heart attitude. As we see these things creeping in and manifesting themselves, we know that our focus is shifting away from God and onto other things. I cannot complain about something and simultaneously be thankful for it.
By making the choice to rejoice in the Lord in the midst of unpleasant circumstances, we will guard ourselves against fear, doubt, double-mindedness, and the discouragement that comes from opposition.
This is why Paul is able to characterize rejoicing as a safeguard; he understood how God has wired us. It’s like the old saying that “the best defense is a good offense.” Choosing to go on the offensive by rejoicing in the midst of hardship is the single greatest defense from the things that make us turn away from God.
This adapted excerpt, courtesy of Logos Bible Software, is from Steven E. Runge’s High-Definition Commentary: Philippians. The High Definition Commentary series is practical and accessible. Each commentary has plot twists, shocking moments, and a climax—combined with professional graphics, based on a linguist's analysis of the text. All infographics are exportable for presentation software like Proclaim. Purchase the first volume here.