Summary: Not only does God command us to be happy, but tells us how.
God’s Formula for Joy
Philippians 4: 4-7
“Rejoice in the LORD always, again I will say, rejoice! Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men. The LORD is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving let your request be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
If you haven’t noticed yet, the world is a mess. I do not the validity of this news report, but police in Battlecreek have issued a statement to the affect of several of the Kellogg mascots have been found dead or are missing and presumed dead. They are sure they are dealing with a cereal killer.
Seriously. . . .A lot of the mess the world is in comes from a general discontent and unhappiness with life’s hassles. The guy who cuts in front of us on the highway; the inconsiderate telemarketer that calls during dinner, the child; no matter the age, who just doesn’t have a clue about life and seems to be proud of it; street construction that will go on forever; crime; fires and the like are all things can and will rob us of our joy if we let it. It is a matter of us letting it; we control our emotions – they should not control us. (On a side bar> Being sad is not a choice sometimes. There are clinical reasons for sadness and depression. There are some very effective medicines The Great Physician has provided that can help correct those health problems.) But even then sometimes life just runs us over and we can lose our God given right as part of the family of God to be happy! It is not only our right to be happy as children of God – it is commanded of us to be happy, to be joyful!
Rejoice in the LORD always, again I will say, rejoice!
This isn’t a suggestion it is a command. That is why Paul says it twice, for imperative emphasis. Rejoice in Jesus – let me tell you rejoice. Be happy – hear me, be happy!!!
The scripture never tells you to do something without telling you how to do it. That is then what Paul goes on to do. He gives you the Formula for Joy!
We need the Proper Attitude
We need the Proper Perspective
We need the Proper Prayer
The Proper Peace.
The Proper Attitude
Let your forbearing spirit be known to all men.
This gets down to attitude.
Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words defines forbearing spirit as “sweet reasonableness”. Let your sweet reasonableness be made known to all men. If you feel yourself getting angry with someone> let your sweet reasonableness shine through. That telemarketer I mentioned before, that person who cut you off in traffic, that hard headed child are all diversions Satan puts up to steal your joy. If you can approach those situations with a sweet reasonableness to work them out – you won’t lose your joy.
*Get an answering machine for your phone, or turn the ringer off during dinner.
*Pray for the person who is so reckless in traffic. You do not know what pressure they are under or the problems they may have that cause them to act that way. Don’t retaliate.
*Love your kids or grandkids> which ever is causing you grief through their hardheadedness. Always remember the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree. Seek family counseling of some kind, if you need to – even if your kids are adults. Never let unresolved issues keep you apart.
*Remember it is not against people we stand, it is against Satan – remember what the Father tells us through Paul in Ephesians 6: 10-12
Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The Proper Perspective
A) The LORD is near.
It can be argued that Paul was referring to the fact that Christ, at His ascension promised to return soon. However, there is another way to look at this. Please turn in your Bibles to II Kings 6:8-17 and follow along with me. “8 Now the king of Aram was warring against Israel; and he counseled with his servants saying, "In such and such a place shall be my camp." 9 The man of God sent word to the king of Israel saying, "Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Arameans are coming down there." 10 The king of Israel sent to the place about which the man of God had told him; thus he warned him, so that he guarded himself there, more than once or twice. 11 Now the heart of the king of Aram was enraged over this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, "Will you tell me which of us is for the king of Israel?" 12 One of his servants said, "No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom." 13 So he said, "Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him." And it was told him, saying, "Behold, he is in Dothan." 14 He sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city. 15 Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" 16 So he answered, " Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." 17 Then Elisha prayed and said, " O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the LORD opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.