Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!
“There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord!” Philippians 3:1
I’ll never forget the Sunday morning when I was hanging out in the hall with a bunch of my “cool” junior high friends before Sunday school. Walking toward us was a visitor to our class, wearing a chain of perfect attendance awards pinned to his shirt. As he approached, our attitude about him was anything but sanctified. It was more like, “Who does he think he is?”—and we immediately dismissed him as a legitimate candidate to make it into the “in” group. Not one of my finer moments, I must admit, but a good illustration of what happens when people walk around flaunting their accomplishments.
The early church at Philippi had similar problems. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul spoke forcefully against the Judaizers in the church who were flaunting the fact that they kept the religious customs of the law, including circumcision. In their minds they were the blue-ribbon Christians in Philippi, and their self-righteous, holier-than-thou attitude was a source of conflict and division in the church. Paul’s advice? Stop rejoicing in your own accomplishments, and start rejoicing in the Lord.
When he commanded the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord, he wasn’t calling for incessant, glib expressions of “praise Jesus!” Aren’t we all just a little tired of people who walk around with 24-hour “praise Jesus!” smiles on their faces? He was calling for something deeper. It was a call to forsake our absorption with things that elevate us and to instead live in a way that makes Jesus the focus of our “bragging rights.” To illustrate the importance of this, Paul gave a personal testimony in verses 4-6. After listing his own accomplishments, he said that he had learned to count it all “loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).
The lesson for us is that there are no “blue-ribbon” Christians. There is no spiritual caste system that separates the high performers from the others. We all have one blue ribbon: Jesus.
Whatever it is in your life that you want to brag about—don’t! As Jeremiah said, “Let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth” (Jeremiah 9:24).
When we begin bragging about Jesus and His wonderful grace in our life, we can replace the “Who does he think he is?” attitude with the desire to say, “Let me tell you who He is!”
Reconciling Yourself to the Fact of Sin
Not being reconciled to the fact of sin— not recognizing it and refusing to deal with it— produces all the disasters in life. You may talk about the lofty virtues of human nature, but there is something in human nature that will mockingly laugh in the face of every principle you have. If you refuse to agree with the fact that there is wickedness and selfishness, something downright hateful and wrong, in human beings, when it attacks your life, instead of reconciling yourself to it, you will compromise with it and say that it is of no use to battle against it. Have you taken this “hour, and the power of darkness” into account, or do you have a view of yourself which includes no recognition of sin whatsoever? In your human relationships and friendships, have you reconciled yourself to the fact of sin? If not, just around the next corner you will find yourself trapped and you will compromise with it. But if you will reconcile yourself to the fact of sin, you will realize the danger immediately and say, “Yes, I see what this sin would mean.” The recognition of sin does not destroy the basis of friendship— it simply establishes a mutual respect for the fact that the basis of sinful life is disastrous. Always beware of any assessment of life which does not recognize the fact that there is sin.
Jesus Christ never trusted human nature, yet He was never cynical nor suspicious, because He had absolute trust in what He could do for human nature. The pure man or woman is the one who is shielded from harm, not the innocent person. The so-called innocent man or woman is never safe. Men and women have no business trying to be innocent; God demands that they be pure and virtuous. Innocence is the characteristic of a child. Any person is deserving of blame if he is unwilling to reconcile himself to the fact of sin.
For Such a Time as This
From: CBN Network
Ever wonder why it is so important not to waste time? I sat at my desk the other day during my break thinking about how much of my time I really waste.
It’s not that I am idle for any length of time. I work 40 hours a week and sometimes more. I attend church, take care of my home, and spend time with my family and friends.
I can remember those moments I could have seized to really make a contribution to society and perhaps come to another’s’ aid. I realized the most productive thing I have gotten involved in only takes me five hours a week.
There is a precious family at my church who I help by watching their very ill, little girl in the nursery. I come away so rewarded those two nights a month.
When I think of true ministry, I think of those moments when the little girl laughs as we play ball, or when she sits and holds a graham cracker in both hands. She is adorable, and has to wear a surgical mask (to keep germs away) because she has an Immune disease, among other problems. When she wants me to hold her, that is when my face lights up.
I just saw the new movie, “One Night with The King.” In it, Esther was told “you were born for such a time as this.” I am glad I have this moment in time to make a difference where God has placed me too.
I just finished taking a spiritual gifts test at my church and although I took it many years ago, I see some changes. Could that be a sign of some spiritual maturity? I certainly hope so!
I am a teacher of the Word and that came in very strong on the test. I love when I get to teach in my Bible class on Sunday mornings as an assistant. Second to that, I love how my desire to pray for children who are ill has manifested itself in my work with this special child. I can say: Lord for such a time as this, thank you for calling me aside.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NIV
Although my ministry to bless a child may not be on as grand a scale as Queen Esther’s, it certainly is an opportunity to make a difference, and that is what we all must do as Christians. We all have a gift to share …. maybe it is a smile, a hug, a song, or a story to tell.
I found that being an encourager is a wonderful gift for a mother whose child is very ill. Whether you hand someone you know a $5 bill or offer to go to the pre-school children’s class to do story time, you too can make a difference. Ask the Lord to show you where the need is or how you can use your gift. What is your passion?
We all are pieces of a puzzle in the body of Christ and working together we make a whole. It will make a whole lot of difference if our part is missing. This is the way we stay fulfilled and connected in service to the Lord.
God will show you just what your hidden talents and gifts are to serve Him and serve others. You were called for such a time as this!