by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
Philippians is Paul's love letter. The epistle is also a good instrument for learning the secret of this great man. Paul considered living Christ and dying gain. And, although he wrote from a prison cell, his refrain was "Rejoice in the Lord always."
Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4).
The refrain of the letter to the Philippians is repeated two times in this verse: "Rejoice." The words "joy" or "rejoice" occur no less than fifteen times in this short letter. And the amazing thing is that the man who sings this refrain is incarcerated.
The Philippians probably didn't find it so strange. They remembered Paul's behavior when he spent time in their own jail in Philippi: "About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them" (Acts 16:25). The inmates were used to curses and obscenities. But these two guys were "praying and singing hymns to God" at midnight. "And the other prisoners were listening."
"Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again: Rejoice!" The command might be translated as a wish: "I wish you all joy in the Lord. I will say it again: all joy be yours" (NEB).
Of course the apostle isn't saying that Christians should have fun or be happy all the time. But he wants you and me to have our joy in the Lord no matter what happens to us.
God has come into our world. "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people," said the angel. When Christ was born, joy was born. Christians cry when they have pain, and they weep at funerals. But even on those occasions they also sing.
For we have the gospel of Christ's victory.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version