Rejoice Regardless

Bible Book: Philippians  4 : 4-13
Subject: Worry; Joy; Peace; Victory in Life

Rejoice Regardless

Dr. J. Mike Minnix

Philippians 4:4-13

"Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Our text today tells us to rejoice always, whch means to rejoice regardless of the circusmtances. That is easier said than done, but Paul did it - and he did it again and again. Even this letter we are reading today was penned by Paul while in prison. He lived what he preached.

Paul knew very well that life is filled with disappointments and troubles, and these tend to create worry and depression in the best of people. Paul was writing to tell the Christian how to overcome these situations. He had a legitimate right to give us these instructions. First, because the Holy Spirit inspired him to do so, and also because he knew what it was to go through the valley and yet keep his joy. Anyone who could rejoice while in a Roman prison, as Paul did, deserves our attention.

Paul instructs Christians not to be depressed in the circumstances of life, because God is at work in the midst of those circumstancese. Paul knew that worry was fruitless and useless. Besides most of the things we fret about are part of God's plan to use us in His kingdom work and to eventually bless us as well.

Sadly, we worry about many things that are imaginary. Mark Twain once wrote," I am an old man and have known my troubles, but most of them never happened." Each of us can problem state the same.

Margaret P. McCordie of the University of Wisconsin, found in a study that:

*40% of the things we worry about never happen

*30% of our worrying is about things that are in the past and could not be changed by all the worry in the world

*10% could be called petty worries

*12% of our concerns are about needless health worries

*8% of our worries are legitimate and even those must be trusted to God

So, if we are to rejoice regardless of our circumstances, we need to understand some basics about the things that rob us of our joy.

I. The Problem With Worry

What does it mean to worry? To understand worry, we must look at the word itself. The word "worry" comes from a Latin word which speaks of turbulence. Worry is a human hurricane in the soul. Worry is a type of tornado in the spirit. So, worry can be described as a turmoil in the heart and mind of person.

The Greeks thought of worry as something that tears a man in two and drags him in opposite directions. It is like opposing forces at work to rip a person apart. Worry is being emotionally and mentally torn in to two or more pieces.

The Anglo-Saxons has an even more dramatic image of worry and fret. They used the figure of an animal clutching at the throat, like a wolf seizes a sheep by the throat and strangles it, to describe the idea of worry. Indeed, it does seem to choke the joy out of life.

A. Worry Is Faithless

Paul was reminding us in our text today that worry is a sin. In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us not to worry. God does not just frown at worry in a believer, He sees it as a lack of faith; and, without faith it is impossible to please God. Worry and faith cannot exist at the same time.

B. Worry Is Senseless

Worry is the improper use of the brain and heart. It makes no sense to worry. Worry cannot solve one human problem. Worry does not make anything better. Worry is, in essence, senseless!

God made you to be a problem solver not a worrier. You mind is a place for God to work and not for you to worry. A believer is to keep his mind stayed upon Jehovah. It makes little sense  it to worry and then think that doing so will solve your situation.

C. Worry Is Useless

Worry is useless, because it brings about no positive results. It does not solve anything. It can be the cause of leading one to distrust or even despise God. Worry can be a way of saying that we don't believe God knows best. At best worrying is useless and at its worst it is a terrible sin.

II. The Path Through Worry

A. The Disciplined Perspective

Rejoice in the Lord. That is what Paul tells us. In other words, the best way out of worry is to turn your heart toward heaven. Now, know this, one cannot rejoice "in the Lord" unless you are "in the Lord." Perhaps some cannot rejoice in Him because they have never trust Him as Lord and Savior. But, for those of us who are redeemed, we are to discipline our hearts and minds to never distrust what God is up to in our circumstances.ust be in the Lord and rejoice in the Lord!

B. The Dynamic Practice

Paul had been in prison for the Lord in the very city is writing to in our text today. He was arrested falsely, beaten illegally, and shackled hatefully in the very depths of Philippi's worst prison. There he and Silas did not moan, whine, or complain. Rather, they sang hymns, prayed and praised God. This led to the salvation of jailor and his family. When Paul informed the authorities that they had violated Roman law by beating him, it caused the authorities to let he and Silas go free. But, more importantly, it pressured to the authorities not to do anything to upset the new church that Paul had helped establish there. For that reason, the Church at Philippi became strong, powerful early church and spread the gospel powerfully in the Western World. That is how God uses praise, even in our most difficult times. Never waste a hardship with complaining, but rather look for that which God intends to do with it. Rejoice regardless and God will use your problem to produce and blessing.

C. The Divine Power

Paul had rested in the power of God in his hardships rather than giving way to personal fretting. We will never see God's best until we can praise Him in life's worst times. God has the power to turn a stone into water, a cross into a crown, and your hardship into a hallelujah.

III. The Protection From Worry

A. Inward Protection - Keep My Thoughts Positive

You might complain by saying that no one knows the trouble you've seen, and in a way that is true. We can never fully walk in another's shoes; however, God knows every issue you deal with. He loves you and He is working in your life. One way to understand this is to keep thinking positive thoughts. That is what Paul tells us in our text. You see, Paul didn't just tell us to rejoice always, he told us how. The first instruction he gave invovled thinking properly.

I know a lot has been said negatively about positive thinking - and much of what has been said is true. But let me tell you that we should not throw out the baby with the bath water. Just because some have abused this principle does not mean that we should forsake the proper use of the mind. We must put our mind into a positive gear if we expect to move forward with life's problems and hardship.

Think good thoughts. Think positive thoughts. Your mind is a factory. It produces junk or good material. Junk is produced by negative thinking. Think on the good things, lovely things, and things that are of a good report. There is no question that Paul was a positive thinker. That is why he was always rejoicing, even when in prison and suffering terrible hardships. One thing is for sure - God is good - all the time. You can think that thought in any situation and know that He has a plan. Rejoice, in other words, in what you know and not just what you see!

B. Outward Protection - Keep My Behavior Pure

Paul told us to do right - do the right thing. This is one way to keep joy in your regardless of your situation. You would be surprised how many people turn to sin when they are under stress. Why do Christians do that? They become disappointed in the Christian life. After all, the believer may be doing everything he or she can to serve God, but then terrible things happen. In the heart the believer wonders if it is worth to serve God. That leads to rebellion and revolt against the Lord. Dear Christian, it is always right to do the right thing no matter how bad life may be. Actually, we should turn to God with renewed faith at times of trouble. Do the right thing - that which you have been taught in the light must be true to you even in the dark of a difficult period in life.

So, we are to think right and do right, but note one more thing we are to do ...

C. Upward Protection - Keep My Faith Personal

We must believe God on a personal level.

Several years ago there a submarine was being tested by remaining deep in the sea for some time. After the submarine had returned to the surface and the shore, the captain of the submarine was asked how the storm that had occurred while they were submerged had affected them. The officer looked surprised and said, "Storm? We didn't even know there was one." The sub had been so far below the surface that it had reached the area known to sailors as "the cushion of the sea." Even though the oceans above were whipped into huge waves by the high winds, the water deep below were never stirred. God's peace is a cushion in the midst of the storms of life.


Today is a good day to recommit our lives to rejoicing regardless of circumstances. This will require honesty - how often do we actually praise God when it seems He is nowhere to be seen? He is there. He will never leave you.

Could it be that our lack of joy is preventing our chuches from reaching people with the saving grace of God in our day? Come today - renew your joy. And if you've never repented of sin and trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior, today is the day to experience the greatest joy you will ever know - the joy of everlasting life in Christ.