Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!"
"Religion takes the joy out of life." That may be true of religions that require people to attempt to achieve perfection on their own. But the one religion for which that statement is completely false is Christianity. The Christian faith gives us constant reason to be joyous.
There is reason for joy when God lets us wake up in the morning. With the psalmist we say, "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24). With God's love and mercy in Christ, we go about our activities relaxed and at peace.
Paul experienced many hardships and disappointments in life. At the time he wrote the words of our text, he was under arrest for proclaiming Jesus as the Christ. And yet, even in chains, he encouraged the Philippians to be joyous.
Knowing that all things work together for good to those who love God, we can face challenges, hardships, and suffering with joy. God will give us courage and strength to deal with whatever confronts us. Even in disappointment and failure, God is still with us to comfort us and help us with our problems and sorrows.
No, the Christian faith does not take joy out of life. Rather, it alone assures us that God is at our side.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for the many reasons for joy each day of our life. Help us to rejoice in You today and always. Amen.
(Taken from "Words of Promise," copyright 1996, Concordia Publishing House (out of print). For information on other devotional materials, call 1-800-325-3040.)
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