“Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord!”~ Philippians 3:1
Christians were made for a purpose. We are not just creatures sitting aimlessly. We were meant for a dynamic life full of rejoicing in the Lord.
This new year brings the promise of unexpected events. These can be great, like a new job, a promotion, a new friend, or it can be scary, like an accident, or a dire prognosis from the doctor. Through all these unexpected events, we are still made to rejoice.
How can we rejoice in this?
That question can be the natural response to unexpected, unwanted events thrown into life. You may understand why, to some degree: that although God is powerful, sin has entered the world and make a perfect world highly imperfect. Human sin and choices bring about these unwanted events. Difficult times can make a person stronger. That is Biblical, in fact James 1 says,
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
So trials produce patience and make me complete, but there is that word again, “joy” and “rejoice.” How can a follower of Jesus rejoice when the heart is full of sorrow.
The answer is found in Philippians verse 13 and 14, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Forget, strain, press. This is how I can rejoice in all that is thrown in my way. The good, and the “Oh man! My life is over….” I must forget the things that have past, the bad past experiences. Dwell in the future, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father and calling me homeward. I daily must press on towards the goal of Jesus in heaven, knowing that this life and this body are temporary.
Be encouraged and rejoice. Live dynamically for Jesus! Look heavenward where all this pain and sorrow disappears in the nail scarred hands.