Lately I’ve been singing a childhood Sunday School song when I sense my peace beginning to waver. The words are from Phil 4:4:
“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice and again I say rejoice!”
There was such joy when the kids loudly belted out these words in a round. I recall how the atmosphere changed when these powerful, life-changing words were sung. And here I am 50 plus years later still blessed to be singing these words of truth.
In last week’s blog I shared from Philippians 4:4-9 and Paul’s God inspired plan to push fear and anxiety away by focusing our hearts and minds on being filled with the “peace of God that transcends all understanding in Christ Jesus.”
As you remember it starts with a focus on Jesus THE truth (Revelation 1 Jesus) and as we focus on Jesus-our response will be biblical worship. I would define worship as an absolute dependence on our Sovereign King Jesus.
The fruit of this absolute dependence is a life saturated with praise and prayer. That is why Paul can give us the command to “Rejoice in the Lord Always!” He personally knew the Revelation 1 Jesus and therefore he learned he could “rejoice” in any and every situation.
I love the story found in Acts 16 where Paul and Silas find themselves in a prison in Philippi. The local merchants were quite upset, as these men of God, cast out a demon from a slave girl, and this resulted in the end of their fortunetelling business.
But instead of moaning about being chained up in a dark dungeon-the scriptures tell us Paul and Silas were “praying and singing hymns to God.” Do you remember the rest of the story? How their worship brought a supernatural earthquake-breaking their chains and opening all the prison doors. Yet, instead of escaping Paul and Silas shared the Gospel with the other prisoners and led the jailer and family to Christ. Out of this prison, where they chose to worship rather than worry, a powerful church was birthed. That is the church of Philippi that Paul is now addressing.
To know Heaven’s Shalom, it is essential to focus our faith on Jesus, which leads to absolute dependence on Him, and necessitates us humbly submitting our lives each and every day to prayer and worship in all circumstances.
Paul encourages believers in vs. 6:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to God…”
Just as we are called to “rejoice always” we are also called to “pray” about “everything.” Yes-absolutely everything! There is nothing too big or too small that our Father is not concerned about. He desires for us to give it all over to Him, demonstrating our absolute dependence on Him.
The other day we ran out of water at the retreat center. Not a good time as we had a missionary team coming that night. The very first thing I said out loud was “why now God!” (I’m still a work in progress.) As I attempted to determine the problem I reminded myself to sing “rejoice in the Lord always…” It took awhile but peace showed up, along with my neighbor Delgun, whose expertise resolved the issue.
What if the body of Christ committed to worship in absolute dependence on Him and decided to rejoice and pray always no matter how difficult the situation. Think of the spiritual prisons cells that could open up and the opportunities to show and tell Christ to the nations. How supernatural churches could spring up and Christ’s Kingdom could grow in the darkest parts of the world.
Dig out that old Sunday School song buried deep in your heart and mind, and sing out “Rejoice in the Lord Always” and I challenge you to sing the words especially when you don’t feel like it!