Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
Last week we looked at the passage in Acts 16 where Paul and Silas were beaten, flogged, and thrown into the inner cell. But lest we think that was a onetime event 2 Corinthians 11 tells us Paul endured this kind of flogging 5 times, three more times beaten with rods, and stoned once. All of these were meant to take you to death’s door, and were needless to say very painful. All of this torture Paul endured meant he had wounds on top of scars. His body barely healing between events. This same text also tells us that he was shipwrecked three times, spent a day and a night floating in the open sea, and faced every kind of danger. He has also gone without food, sleep and found himself cold and naked. All for the sake of the Gospel. And yet, he gives this command to rejoice. This command to rejoice comes approximately 27 years after Paul’s conversion so Paul has had more than a few difficult circumstances by the time he gives this command to always rejoice.
What does Paul mean when he says rejoice? The word in Greek can actually be translated as “rejoice exceedingly.” The structure is also a command. You could state it this way, “be rejoicing exceedingly all the time, rejoice exceedingly.” So this isn’t a onetime event nor is it something that we do when we feel like our circumstances will allow it. This is to be a way of life, a posture of heart. Always aligning our heart with that of Jesus. His Kingdom is bigger than our circumstances. Rejoicing isn’t just giving lip service to nice platitudes, but a heart that is deeply focused on Jesus and His kingdom coming. Our circumstances, as difficult as they are, can pass in an instant. But Jesus is always and forever good and true. Rejoice!