How to Get Along with Other Questions

Thursday: Rejoicing Always

In this week’s lessons, we learn how to maintain unity with other believers.
Rejoicing Always

The third step in getting along with other Christians is to rejoice in the Lord. Paul says this in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” Paul knew that if a Christian is rejoicing in God’s mercy and goodness to him, he is not so likely to be nit-picking with his fellow Christians. If your thoughts are filled with God, you will not be seeing another’s bad temper, laziness or unreliability, at least to the degree that you would if you were not doing this.

Now the word “rejoice” is interesting, for it’s only a variant form of the word “joy,” which is one of the great Christian virtues, the fruit of God’s Spirit. Joy is supernatural; it does not depend on circumstances. We’ve all seen the Charlie Brown cartoon that defines happiness as a warm puppy. But suppose there is no puppy. Well then, there’s no happiness. You see, happiness, the world’s virtue, depends on the things we have or can acquire. For some it’s money. For others it’s fame. For some it’s power or good looks. But it’s all external and so when these things go, happiness goes with them. It is not that way with joy. Joy issues from the nature of God, and it is intended to well up within those in whom God’s Spirit dwells. I know that things may happen to the Christian that no one, including the Christian, would be happy about. But there can still be joy. The Christian who is filled with this supernatural, abounding joy will not be finding grounds for disagreement with his fellow Christians, because he has too much to be joyous about in the Lord. 

Finally, the fourth step is given in verse 5. Paul said that Christians should let their “moderation be known to all men.” Moderation here is not the same thing as temperance, which is mentioned as a fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5. It’s a different word from that. In fact, it’s an unusual Greek word, one that does not occur in the classical Greek before Paul’s time, so much as we know. He may have coined it. Literally, it means “reasonableness” or “being reasonable.” It conveys a warning not to be unduly rigorous about unimportant matters.

Study Questions
  1. How does rejoicing keep a person from criticizing other Christians?
  2. Where does the word “rejoice” come from? Why is it not the same as happiness?

Application: Do you know someone who rejoices in the Lord even in the midst of great hardship and difficulties? Write them a note telling them that their testimony is an encouragement. Then pray and ask the Lord to help you to rejoice in all your circumstances, too.

Key Point: Joy issues from the nature of God, and it is intended to well up within those in whom God’s Spirit dwells.

For Further Study: Download for free and listen to Irfon Hughes’ message, “The Fellowship of the Saints.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)

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