“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.” vss. 4-5
Paul was encouraged by what he heard from his beloved friends in Philippi. Oh, there were some conflicts…a couple of women were evidently at odds. But overall things were going well as these followers of Jesus began to develop a congregational identity in the community. Paul advises them to rejoice always and to let their gentleness be known to everyone. His words have occasionally been a challenge for people of faith…there are times when we aren’t in a rejoicing mood and would rather complain. We’d rather he would have said, “Rejoice when good things happen, and try not to be too sad during the tough times.” That would be easier for us to pull off…and that’s really Paul’s point. Anyone can rejoice when things are going well…even the pagans do that. But Christians rejoice in every circumstance, not because they’re masochists, but because their joy comes from the constant indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s a product of whose we are! That same Spirit is also the source of our gentleness, our most truly counter-cultural attribute. The world prizes toughness…but God calls us to be gentle in our interactions with others…and seekers are impressed! There are no better tools for outreach and growth than gentleness and joy…and followers of Jesus will have both in abundance.
Thought for the Day: How am I rejoicing today?