Day 18

January 20

Philippians 4

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Rejoice! Not the typical word or feeling I would use to describe a 21 day fast. Very rarely do I rejoice over my food selection or that I don’t get to watch TV. As I pass Taco Johns and dream of once again having a potato ole, that is when I think to rejoice. 

So, “I will say it again: Rejoice!” Rejoice through whatever is happening in your life. Rejoice in all circumstances whether fasting or not, whether happy or sad, hungry or mad, tired or glad. Rejoice. Paul, the writer of Philippians, stresses the importance of this life principle by repeating it to us. To have hearts that rejoice in the Lord, because we know the Lord is near. 

I can think of multiple times on different youth trips having to repeat certain things like the itinerary, or what time something starts, or don’t yell at the top of your lungs on the bus. Trying to emphasize these things are important! Hoping that students will remember them tends to make it a better trip for everyone. Paul uses this back to back reminder for the same reason! In your life, on your spiritual walk, choose to rejoice! It will make the journey significantly better if we choose joy and praise to the Lord before anything else. 

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” It’s almost as if Paul is giving us a gentle reminder to be on our best behavior because God could be right around the corner about to walk in. Have you ever entered a room where the people suddenly got quiet? Maybe your kids were doing something they weren’t supposed to and when they realized you were near, they straightened up! I don’t believe Paul is threatening us with God being close, but encouraging us that He is near. And because God is near, we can and should respond in all situations with joy and gentleness. Rejoice in His goodness, rejoice in His proximity to you, rejoice! 

Question: What can you choose to rejoice in today? What is something that when you encounter a struggle or hardship that you can think on and rejoice? Knowing what we can thank God for before the hard time comes will help us to rejoice first! 

Pastor Blake McCarty
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