Rejoice in the Lord
“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safe guard your faith. Philippians 3:1
Paul, ever the encourager, exhorts the believers to rejoice in Jesus Christ. Rejoice not in how we look, what we have, or our accomplishments. Rejoice in Jesus, who he is and what he has done for us. We have nothing else to brag about. No one else gives us the hope of heaven.
The old Apostle goes on to warn the believers of those who would come in and change the significance of what Jesus has done.
“Watch out for those dogs those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.” Philippians 3:2
Watch out for those who come into the church fellowship and tell you there is more to salvation beyond what Jesus did. Beyond his perfect sacrifice. The “more” is an act of the flesh (or what satisfies the flesh). In this specific case, Paul was referring to the Judaizers, those who said the Gentiles needed to be circumcised and follow the law given to Moses.
He proceeded to summarize his credentials that would, if keeping the law were good enough, mark him as one of the most qualified candidates for salvation. Circumcised on the eighth day according to the law, a pure-blooded citizen of Israel—born of the tribe of Benjamin—a member of the Pharisees (who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law). He obeyed without missing a beat and—in his zealous loyalty to the law—persecuted those who followed Jesus. He did it all and was proud of it. He had great credentials according to the law.
And then, he walked the Damascus Road. He met Jesus, the one whose life perfectly fulfilled the law. The one who provided the perfect and complete sacrifice acceptable to God. The one who died for the sins of all mankind and then, having paid the price, rose from the dead. He wrenched the keys of death from Satan. As the Apostle John later wrote. of him:
“I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”
Rejoice in the Lord. All the things we’ve counted valuable in life pale in comparison to what he has done for us and given us in becoming our hope for eternity. Paul considered all his accomplishments to be garbage.
“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
The infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. What a goal—to consider everything we value as worthless compared to knowing our Savior.
Paul exhorts believers to rejoice in the Lord because it safeguards our faith. When we are glad in the Lord, when we realize what he’s done for us and we’re grateful, we want to know him more deeply. And to know him, we have to know his word. Paul admonished his protege, Timothy to…
“Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
Knowing God’s word keeps us on the right path and protects us from falling for deception. It’s been said that bank employees are taught to study in-depth what valid currency looks and feels like. Then they will be able to easily spot the counterfeit. When we know the word, know the character of God, we’ll spot the phony messages. Then we’ll pass on the truth to those around us—family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances.
And we can encourage them to rejoice in the Lord.
by Marilyn Allison