Philippians 3:1 —- Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not troublesome to me, and for you it is a safeguard.
Stare at a white blank paper. Now put a small black dot on it. It stands out and can be noticed immediately. The paper represents the blessings of God in our life and the dot is the problem we have in our life. There is so much to celebrate and thank God for – His goodness, His Son Jesus, His love for us, His forgiveness and so much more. Yet how many times have we overlooked the blessings and only focussed on the problem?
God blessed Adam and Eve with His goodness – they had the whole Garden. However, the devil directed their focus on to the tree that God had forbidden them to eat from. And their focus shifted from the blessings and all that they had to what they could not have.
Saint Paul even though he is imprisoned and persecuted persists in rejoicing. God has mighty plans and purposes in our life and the biggest blessing of God comes when things go against us. If we are able to rejoice in the face of trials and difficulties, it is definitely our relationship with God that empowers us to be joyful. Without a personal relationship with God, we feel our life is difficult and hard in the face of difficulties.
When we rely on God and trust Him totally everything even the bad will turn around into good for us because this is God’s plan for our life. Christianity is more than a set of rules and regulations. It is a personal relationship with Jesus. Through that relationship, we become confident and know that God will guide us and lead us through the dark valleys just like a Shepherd leads his sheep.
The word “joy” in the book of Philippians is written seventeen times in four chapters. Saint Paul stresses on this because he tries to teach us that joy is a choice we make. When we are not in a good mood we focus on a situation in our mind that is negative. Being joyful is a decision we make when we choose to focus on Jesus for He is our Protector, our Deliverer, our Healer and our Saviour. We can only do this when our relationship with Him is total obedience to His Word.
The Bible tells us to be submissive to God’s Word. The Lord gives us an assurance through Saint Paul that if we focus on Him, He will turn all things for good. The Bible is full of Great Men like Moses, David, Joseph and Saint Paul who though they were down in the dumps, focussed and obeyed the Word of God and this turned around their negative situation in something so good, that it could not be achieved with their lifetime of labour.
Thus we have a choice – we can grumble and murmur, have a negative attitude and accept defeat or we can focus on God and refuse to get disturbed and have the attitude of a victor. THE CHOICE IS YOURS!