Mar 25, 2017

Rejoice in the LORD always

Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
What an amazing and seemingly impossible command from the Lord!  We have no problem obeying this command when "the Lark's on the wing and the snail's on the thorn and all's right with the world". Natural joy bubbles up inside us and we're good. But it's so difficult when we're going through the trials of our life and when we face much distress and opposition and we can but see darkness all about.

Christian life is not always smooth sailing. There are storms of our life which we have to face. There are rough waters. But the promise of the Lord is that He is always with us. We can face the challenges in partnership with our Lord.
The same passage reminds us:
(Phil 4:6-7 ) Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

In Rom 14:17, we understand that the real fruit or characteristic of the Kingdom of God is the values of Righteousness, Peace & Joy in the Holy Spirit. When we are part of this kingdom, these values become part of our very being. These values represent the Lord himself. And the Lord wants us to be as He is.

Now, What happens when we come before the Lord with a sad and dejected face? When we appear before the Lord with a sad face? He takes it personally. Let's see the example of a man (Nehemiah) who appeared before the King Artaxerxes with a sad face. Neh 2:1 says: Nehemiah was the wine bearer for the king and had never appeared before him with a sad face but now he comes before the King and he notices the sadness of his face.
Neh 2:2 And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid.
Nehemiah was afraid, because, to be sad before a king implies that you are sad to be in His kingdom. You are disgruntled to be his subject. But as Nehemiah explained his burden to the king, we see the king passing a favorable edict which led to the will of God being done for Jerusalem's walls.
If that was the state of an earthly kingdom, how much more careful should we be as we are in the Kingdom of our dear Lord! Friends, the Lord is not asking us to fake it! He just wants us to be full of trust in Him and be fully aware that He has a plan for us, and that peace and that assurance has to translate into the fruit of the Spirit of Joy in our lives. (i.e. when we are able to be joyful with the help of the holy spirit even in the adverse circumstances).

The key, dear friends, is to let your heart cry be known to the Lord. Cast your burden on the Lord for He cares for you. Let your prayers and petitions be known to the Lord - don't take the anxiety. The Lord has heard your case. As it says in Ruth 3:18 , Wait, dear child, till you learn how the matter turns out. For the Lord will not rest, till He settles the matter today!
God bless you!