“Rejoice in the Lord at all times; again I say, rejoice!”
Here we have one of the most quoted verses from this letter. And there is no surprise as to why this is such a beloved statement. Yet how often we find ourselves deserting these words and pursuing our own sources of joy. But notice, that these words are not only valuable for our personal worship and demeanor…they are the solution for the quarrel between Euodia and Syntyche. For the reality is, if you focus your mind on finding joy in Christ it is a corrective for all of the areas of your life because it puts them into perspective.
It has become my conviction that many of our psychological and relational problems can be traced back to a wrong view of worship. We come for many reasons: fellowship, instruction, to be encouraged, etc… But if any one of these reasons is the primary reason you come to worship on Sunday, your motives are lacking. The primary reason must be because you are seeking God and his glory. If your aim is to know God and him alone, all these other things will come into place…but it does not work if we come looking for human things first.
Like children, we often think we know what we want but we are so wrong. Often children will say, “if I just had this toy or that toy I would be happy.” Yet they find that even with those toys they are unsatisfied. Are the toys bad? No. Not in and of themselves at least. But the toys cannot satisfy apart from the love of the parent. As adults, we often tell God what we think we need. But what we most need is to be close to the Father. And if we are close to the Father, finding our joy in Him through the Son, then the other things will fall into their proper perspective. Otherwise, they just aren’t that satisfying.
C.S. Lewis used to argue that there were “First Things” and “Second Things.” First Things are the things of God; Second Things the things of this world. Lewis’ point is that if we pursue Second Things alone, not only will we lose the First Things, but the Second Things will never satisfy. Yet, if we pursue First Things alone, God will also give us the Second Things that we need.
So, beloved, find your joy in the Lord Jesus Christ…and in nothing else in this world. Pursue Him. Adore Him. And allow Him to define your perspective of all of life.