“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
Two ladies went into a graveyard to place some flowers and walked around for a bit. Eventually, they came to a tombstone that read: “Here lies a politician and an honest man.” One lady turned to the other and said, “Too bad they had to bury two people in one grave.”
“Counter-intuitive” means contrary to what one might normally expect…like our “honest politician,” or steering a boat, or backing up a trailer (or tithing!).
Well, Paul gives us some counter-intuitive advice here. Paul is writing from jail. He has enemies slandering his name. His fellow Jews call him a traitor. Emperor Nero’s out to get the church. Paul was scarred from beatings and shipwrecks. He was almost blind. And here’s Paul’s advice: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
In difficult situations, most of us worriers have the idea of letting things die down first. When circumstances change, then we will rejoice. But that’s not what Paul tells us. He tells us to rejoice first!
This wasn’t just a helpful suggestion. That word “rejoice” is an active present imperative verb. The imperative mood is a command/a demand. The active present tense calls for continual, habitual repetition. “Keep on rejoicing always. I’ll say it again: keep on rejoicing!”
Rejoicing is the first step to overcoming worry in your life. Initially, it sounds contrary to what we might expect. But there are some really good reasons behind rejoicing instead of worrying. I hope you’ll join us Sunday, so we can discuss them together.