It is interesting that a person who suffered imprisonment, flogging, shipwreck, danger, hunger, thirst, fatigue, and exposure to death should say to Christians, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.” (Phil.4:4)
The fact of the matter is that the command to rejoice is given to all God’s children. It is one of the characteristics of the true believer’s life. Those who belong to Jesus are marked with joy. It is one of the Christian trademarks.
However, not once does the scripture tell us to give thanks FOR all circumstances. Rather, we are to rejoice or give thanks IN all circumstances. For instance, we don’t rejoice for death or pain or divorce or cancer. In what way then are we to rejoice?
Our rejoicing is to be “in the Lord.” What does that mean? A glance at the Book of Philippians says we are to rejoice in the work of redemption accomplished on our behalf. Jesus humbled himself and became a servant and was obedient unto death, thereby assuring our salvation.
Paul’s conclusion in the book is that the circumstances of one’s life do not take away the joy that the child of God experiences in Christ Jesus. Come what may, the Christian’s reason to rejoice is not altered. “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.”
– David Johnson