Bible Reading: Philippians 4:1-9
It is no secret that the best way to remain faithful to anything is to enjoy it. We remain faithful in our marriages because we enjoy being married to our spouse. Our favorite meal stays our favorite because of how much we enjoy eating it. Everything we love, we love because of the joy it brings. In a much deeper sense, our relationship with God works similarly. In Philippians 4:1, Paul encourages the believers to, “stand firm thus in the Lord”, and a few short sentences later Paul calls for them to also, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” Rejoice means to show joy and delight in something or someone. It is difficult, if not impossible, to rejoice in something that you do not love. The two, loving and rejoicing, go hand-in-hand together. Therefore, any Christian who stands firm in the Lord would also be a Christian that loves and delights in God.
It makes so much sense to our minds, but we often get distracted and lose sight of our love for God. These distractions come in the form of temptations to sin, tests and trials, and witnessing and hearing about all the wickedness occurring in the world. When dark, wicked and sinful thoughts cloud our minds and hearts, we struggle to rejoice, which leads to us struggling to stand firm in the Lord. Paul, knowing this, also encourages us as Christ-followers to think on the things of Christ. In 4:8-9, Paul teaches the Philippian Christians to think on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praise-worthy. With minds that are constantly being renewed by the good things of God, hearts being transformed by the love and joy found in Jesus, and strength to stand firm in the Lord always, we will be filled with and surrounded by the peace of our God.
Application: What is the normal focus of your mind? What is your typical demeanor towards life? Would people describe as someone who is rejoicing in the Lord always? Our hearts and minds can easily become burdened or distracted in our constantly busy days. Satan loves to tempt us to sin, and he often tries to lead us off the straight and narrow path of God however he can. Practically speaking, one of the best ways to fight against this is to remove things that take your heart and mind to wicked things and replace them with things that lead you to focus on godly things. If Facebook leads you into a downward spiral, then delete Facebook. If the news causes you to be negative and get angry or confused with God, then turn off the news and open His Word. We are too quick to make excuses and allow bad things to exist in our lives, when we should make more of an effort to fill our lives with the things of God. It may sound extreme to remove social media, television or internet from your life, but your soul is worth the cost. What will it take to fill your heart and mind with the things of God? Implement those changes, and start living a life of rejoicing, faithfulness and peace.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, you know us inside and out. You see and know are greatest strengths and weaknesses, and yet you never stop loving us. Help us to remove the sinful and wicked things from our lives, and to not fall victim to the excuses and lies Satan tries to distract us with. Help us to walk in Your ways only. We love you, Father. Amen.