Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. (Philippians 3:1)…Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
I was raised by writers, which means I have been well acquainted with (read: battered over the head by) grammar since I was a child. While I’ve resented it at points, it has also opened my eyes to the power of words. Today I want to reflect with you on prepositions, those pesky little words that explain the relationship between two things: by, with, over, under, through, etc.
They are so easy to brush past as we read the Bible. But so much of our Christian reality is revealed by prepositions.
- We are saved BY grace, THROUGH faith. (Ephesians 2:8)
- For FROM Him, and THROUGH Him, and TO Him are all things. (Romans 11:36)
- IN the beginning was the Word and Word was WITH God. (John 1:1)
Let’s reflect now on one phrase: rejoice in the Lord. (Philippians 3:1, 4:4). We generally know what “rejoice” means. We know who “the Lord” is. But how do they fit together? What does in mean?
The Lord is the REASON for our rejoicing.
If I told you to rejoice in your kids, your spouse, or your friends, this is what it would mean. Rejoice because of who they are and the joy they bring you. They are your reason for rejoicing. How much more so, then, is Jesus Christ our reason for rejoicing? We rejoice because of who He is and what He has done–sacrifice, love, mercy, grace, and promise. We rejoice in the Lord because of what He has done in and for us and who He is in himself.
The Lord is the SOURCE of our rejoicing.
Jesus is not only the reason we rejoice, He is also the source of our rejoicing. We rejoice out of the Lord–He is the well of goodness and hope that our hearts draw on for rejoicing. We rejoice in the strength and ability of the Lord–the Holy Spirit (who is the presence of Jesus, Himself) indwells all Christians, and He empowers and adjusts our hearts toward rejoicing in Jesus.
The Lord is the LOCATION of our rejoicing.
When God saves us, we are in Christ. We are spiritually relocated from outside the kingdom of Christ to inside it, from the realm of the dead to the being alive withChrist. It is a deep and wide reality that is not easy to wrap up in words, but it means Christ is with us always, the center of our world, and holds on to us without fail. He is our very life, so we rejoice in Him.
What a comfort to know that “rejoice in the Lord” is a command that doesn’t depend on our ability to gin up praise. It draws on the infinite well of Christ’s goodness and is empowered by His Spirit’s constant, unfailing presence.
I originally wrote this post for my church, Immanuel Nashville, in our Daily Pulse email. If you want encouragement from God’s word delivered Monday thru Friday to your inbox, I encourage you to subscribe!