July 21, 2013

Rejoice in the Lord

Philippians 4:1-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
—Philippians 4:4


Pausing from work, remembering God’s goodness, and embracing people—all of these are important Sabbath disciplines that should mark our living. But the concept of Sabbath also calls us to another practice: rejoicing!

There were two women in the church at Philippi who apparently couldn’t see eye to eye on some important issue. But in the midst of their dispute, Paul had a single word of advice for them: “Rejoice!” In essence, Paul said to them, “Take your focus off yourselves and how you think you’ve been wronged and look to God instead. He’s the one who loves you both and offers you forgiveness. If you put your eyes on him, you’ll soon find yourselves able to love and forgive. Your disagreements will be dissolved by the joy you share in him. Rejoice in him always! I’ll say it again: rejoice!”

Paul’s advice came from his own experience with difficulties. He was in prison when he wrote these words, and he knew all about hard times. And he had discovered that joy was possible even in the midst of the worst disagreements or most difficult circumstances. As we’ll see over the next few days, discovering, experiencing, and celebrating the power of that joy is also part of what it means to be a Sabbath keeper.

Father in heaven, joy seems so elusive to us at times. Help us to move our focus from our circumstances to your promises and goodness. Then we’ll be able to discover true joy in you! Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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