I suppose a certain level of anxiety is part of living on this fallen earth. I haven’t yet met the person—even among those following Jesus—who lives a completely carefree life.
Do you worry at times? Get stressed out? Lie there staring at the ceiling in the wee hours of the morning? I doubt we’re the first ones to struggle with it. It seems like every page of Scripture says something about it.
Take this one, for example. To one of his favorite churches, Paul wrote: “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1). “Finally” literally means “to the rest” and probably means something like “It follows then, that . . .” (R.R. Melick).
In other words, Paul seems to be saying, “Okay, because of everything I’ve already written to you, rejoice in the Lord.”
If there’s a command that’s harder to obey all the time, I don’t know what it is. Humanly speaking, there’s a lot not to rejoice about. Division in our country. Increasing secularism. Spiritual apathy.
More personally, there are physical effects of aging, health concerns, family worries, job uncertainty. How do you rejoice in that?
I don’t think you can, at least not on the face of it. Which is why Paul puts the last little prepositional phrase in there: “In the Lord.”
- Rejoice in the Lord (3:1).
- Rejoice in the Lord always (4:4).
- More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:11).
Truth is, you’ve got to look at much of life’s events through the lens of God’s sovereign will. If you’re a disciple of Jesus, God has saved you, and he’s promised you he’ll work through you to accomplish his will.
We don’t have all the answers, of course, and I have no idea why God allows some of the stuff that goes on around us. But when I take my eyes off of him, I’ve noticed that my stress and anxiety levels increase.
For today, let me encourage you: Whatever’s going on in your life right now—whether internal or external—commit it to the Lord. —Chuck