I Will Rejoice: Choosing to Rejoice. (Phil. 1:18b)
Imagine yourself in a place where you see no sun light, you're starved, you're dehydrated, you have a fifteen pound chain attached to one or both ankles and no privacy to use the bathroom. It would prove pretty difficult to find any happiness in that, right? That was Paul's situation. However, when you read Philippians 1:18, especially the latter portion, Paul writes: "Yes, and I will rejoice". For the next few blogs, I want to answer two questions: why Paul chose to rejoice in suffering and why we can too? The second question will be where we apply the Scripture. But before we do, I want to give you the one very important observation that began this journey and let you simmer on that for today.
I want you to observe that phrase again: "Yes, and I will rejoice". Observe that Paul is not saying 'I may' or 'I might' or 'maybe I will' or 'if I feel like it, I will'. Paul, writes: "I will". When Paul writes those two words, this is what he is saying: I, Paul, declare purposeful, determined, conscious and deliberate action.
Ask yourself: what action is Paul declaring? Paul is making, despite his suffering, a determined, purposeful, conscious and deliberate choice to "rejoice". Paul was attached to fifteen pound chains, but he deliberately chose to make those chains a delight. Paul was intentionally poorly hydrated, but he made a purposeful choice to be glad. He was intentionally starved yet Paul chose to make a joyful noise.
Here is the application: Rejoicing while suffering is a purposeful, conscious and deliberate choosing. When I say conscious, I mean, being fully aware of what your situation is. And when I say deliberate, I mean being intentional. Thus, when you suffer as a Christian, you have a choice: you choose to rejoice or be sad. You choose to be glad or be despairing. You choose to make a joyful noise or be cheerless.
So, if you are a Christian and you receive a terminal diagnosis, you have two options to your emotional response: you can be depressed or you can rejoice. If you are a Christian and you lose your home, you can choose to be sorrowful or you can choose to rejoice. If you are a Christian, and you are being afflicted in any way, you have a choice to how you respond emotionally.
Now, do not get me wrong here: there is a time for mourning. But you, as a Christian, must not stay there. At some point you must decide to rejoice in Christ as you suffer. So, I say, if you are being afflicted, choose joy through Christ, in the face of your suffering! It is most glorifying to God when you are are so satisfied in Him, that you choose to rejoice in the face of affliction.
In the next few blogs we will look at why Paul chose to rejoice despite his suffering and why we can too. Be blessed.