Philippians 4:4-5 is one of the best loved passages of all of Paul’s writing, where Paul will tell us where a Christian can get joy. He makes three important points in succession.

A Christian can get joy by rejoicing in the Lord. Then with the Lord. Finally, for the Lord.

First he says:  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.”

A person can get joy in a lot of things. We can get joy in the coming of spring, especially out here in California where the natives suffer with one or two months where the temperature can barely squeeze its way to 70. Take my word for it – it’s awful. Sleeping on my new mattress gives me and my back joy. I get joy in being married…most of the time. I get joy in watching my cats.  And in going for a run.

Life – when it’s firing on all cylinders – is chock full of amazing pleasures, all gifts from God, for you and me to enjoy.

But the thing about life’s pleasures that you and I must recognize is that we have to lay them all down. Not one of them lasts. And if you try and put all your eggs in one of these baskets, then your world is going to break apart in the end.

If you’re going to truly live a meaningful life, a successful life, or a joyful life, then you better decide right now to build your life on a foundation that is going to last, and there’s only one thing that isn’t going to fail you, that will even outlast death – a relationship with the God who made you.

The thing about life’s pleasures that you and I must recognize is that we have to lay them all down.

A Christian in a relationship with Jesus Christ is hooked up to a reservoir that will never run dry.  That’s why Paul urges us to rejoice in the Lord.

  • There should always be joy in your heart if you are a Christian, for starters because you are saved –  your sins are forgiven, and your name is written in heaven.
  • There should be joy in your heart because you are being saved, that through the power of the Spirit in your life you can unlearn your sinful ways and live differently than before.
  • There should be joy in your heart that one day you will be saved, entirely, completely.

Can you imagine what that will be like, living in a body that will not sin, will not be attracted to sin, where every thought will be pure, every motive undefiled, every act holy and good. With a body that cannot get sick. Cannot break down. Cannot die. Will never again doubt, or fear, or hate or envy, or weep.

When life is working as it should, it’s awesome. Enjoy it. Thank God for the blessing. But your baseball team will not win each year. One day that new car you’re driving will sit rusting in a lot, awaiting demolishment. One day the house you’re living in and the yard you’re tending will belong to somebody else. When that day comes and they put your body in a box in the ground, you’ll be somewhere else. You’ll be standing before the tribunal of heaven, and the book of life will be opened, and a search will be made to see if your name is written there.

But you don’t have to wait till then to know. If you give your life to Christ, you can be sure of it – your name will be found written there.

So rejoice in the Lord.