Philippians 4:4-8 New International Version
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
In the book of Philippians, we see Paul writing words of encouragement, teaching the Philippian Christians to have joy in God and to rejoice in all things.
Paul wasn’t writing this from a cozy home, with all the comforts of an easy life. No, he was writing and teaching this while a prisoner in chains, in a Roman cell.
Paul says…Rejoice in the Lord always! While imprisoned and in chains Paul says to rejoice in the Lord always.
No matter what trial or valley we find ourselves in, we are to thank God for EVERYTHING and rejoice in our salvation and relationship with Him. Paul teaches us to not worry about anything and to take our problems to God in prayer. But wait, not only are we to take our problems to God in prayer, but we are to take our problems to God with THANKSGIVING. We are to be thankful for all things.
If anyone could claim the right to grumble or complain, Paul certainly could. He was imprisoned and knew that he was likely awaiting his death at the hands of the Romans.
Yet, he did not complain. In fact, he teaches us not to grumble or argue, in order to become children of God without fault.
Paul used this time to teach the Roman Guards and through them others, about his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:14-16 New International Version
14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.
As we encounter our trials and valleys, let us always remember that God is teaching us something and using us in our suffering, just as He was using the apostle Paul.
God teaches us something through every situation we endure.
Remember Joseph? Joseph endured hardship and trials, through which God was teaching and preparing him for his future work.
Remember Moses? Moses endured hardship and trials, through which God was teaching and preparing him for his future work.
Through trials, with God’s help, we learn and grow. We are changed. We become more thankful and more-humble. God teaches us patience in our trials and our faith grows.
Through our trials, we learn fully that God is in total control. No matter how much control we have thought we had in our life, we learn that we don’t and God does.
We do not always know why or what God is doing, but we are to be thankful, rejoice and trust in God’s all-powerful hand. As the hymn says “We are to hold to God’s unchanging hand.”
Regardless of the trial we are experiencing, let us ask God to teach us or show us what we need to learn and to use us in our time of suffering. That is what Paul did.
Through it all we will grow closer to God with more understanding as we ask Him to teach us what we need to learn. As our trials come to an end, our eyes will be firmly fixed on Him and on eternity.
Finally, in facing our trials and suffering we are to consider it pure joy. As our faith is tested, it produces perseverance.
James 1:2-3 New International Version
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
What did Paul say again? Rejoice in the Lord always!
Don't let trials drive you away from God, but rather allow them to draw you closer to God, understanding what He is wanting to teach you.
Father in Heaven, we thank you and praise you for all things. Teach us, use us and draw us closer to You through our trials.