Philippians 4 starts out with a plea from Paul for two women within the church to get along. (Doesn’t sound familiar at all, does it?!) Paul goes on, then, to say, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Conflict resolution is tough stuff. Disagreement has a way of leaving a bad taste in the mouth, but Paul reminds us that our focus shouldn’t be on the conflict. It should be on standing firm in the Lord, on remembering that we are united in Christ, that our goal is the gospel. Conflict weakens the spirit and fosters discouragement. But unity is possible if we remember that Jesus Christ is in the midst. (verse 5) “The Lord is near.”
We can be pulled away from unity when we allow conflict to block our view of Jesus. And when we don’t see Jesus, we don’t find joy. Paul isn’t ignoring the problem, but urges the solution can be found in this: Rejoice in the Lord. Rejoice, not because everything is running smoothly, but in the Lord. Whatever conflict or relational issues there are, there is a call to rejoice in the Lord. Why? Because when we take these troubles to God, we preserve perspective. We gain peace and renew our minds when we rejoice in Him.
Rejoicing in the Lord allows us to tackle the hard work of conflict resolution with the right attitude and right motives. It keeps us mindful of God’s purpose; the purpose of unity. We can approach tough issues with gentleness and calm. Anxiety won’t run dress rehearsals in your mind when you rejoice in the Lord.
Does Paul say this is easy? No. But he says it’s worth it. Peace is the pay-off. Friends, let’s rejoice in the Lord. Whatever struggle you’re experiencing, you can rest in knowing that the joy isn’t in the circumstance, but in God. Rejoice that God is who He says He is. Rejoice that nothing is too difficult for Him. Rejoice that He will do what He says He will do. Rejoice that He is faithful. Rejoice that His love for you is deeper, wider, and stronger than any sorrow, circumstance, or hardship.
Rejoicing in Him,