top of page

Getting down to it.

Step closer, my friends.

. . . "Finally, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. . .  whatever things were gain to me, these things I have counted as loss because of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ..."


Sometimes we have clarifying experiences through which we see things more clearly from that time forward. Trials in life have a way of shifting our values, I have noticed. Occasionally, someone speaks a truth that challenges, changes, broadens or deepens our thinking--I believe these words of Paul in the first part of Philippians chapter 3 ought surely get our attention. Now he has quite a lot to say, but first... one might wonder 'had Paul had been hit in the head one too many times?' Was he thinking straight when as a Roman prisoner he said, "My brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord..."? 1 


Hmmm. His word to the Philippians, his admonition for you and for me was be full of joy in the Lord - always.  No matter what.  

"Rejoice in the Lord," you repeat the words in your mind and think  

>'yeah right - rejoice in the Lord always, no matter what? My wife just left me. Rejoice in the Lord? That is a stretch.'  

>'I do not know how I am going to pay my rent...I'm worried. Rejoice?  Right.'  

>'My pain is so bad and does not seem to let up ... rejoice in the Lord?!  Seriously?'         

>'You are ridiculous at best, possibly unkind. Rejoice in the Lord?  Sure.' 


Yes.  I did not say it, God's Word says it.  Not just here, not just Paul, but more than a thousand years before, the psalmist penned, "But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them shout for joy forever.  May you shelter them,  and may those who love your name boast about you."2  


Here's the thing:  

when we intentionally rejoice or choose to delight in the Lord,              

we are  exercising our faith in God, 

our belief that he is on the throne,

and what's more, that he is at work in our lives!  

We are choosing to walk in faith not by what we see.

When we rejoice in the Lord, we keep faith in Jesus Christ as our focus and our priority, and we are not easily pulled away by errant thinking.  


And to Paul's point, we are less likely to be distracted by false teaching. Paul warns the Philippians to watch out for the dogs which does not really translate to 2024 understanding.  In the middle east, stray dogs roamed the streets, hunted in garbage dumps, snarled and snapped at those they encountered along the way.  Just so, Paul compares them to those who harshly insisted that Christianity was Jesus Christ + something else.  Jesus + the Law = Salvation.  No! There were those in Paul's day who insisted folks had to be circumcised (Jewish law) to be saved; nope, not so.  


Then, lest someone use their pedigree (family name or degree from Harvard) for position or leverage, he refers to his own birth as a righteous Jew from the tribe of Benjamin . . . his training, his brilliance and his zeal for the Law as a most righteous Pharisee.  Once he came to know Christ, none of that mattered.


Friends, BEWARE.  Folks get easily taken in when partial truths get woven into deceitful schemes to distract us from living according to the Word, close to the heart of God, and walking in the dust of the Rabbi from Nazareth, Jesus.


Thank you, Brother Paul, for reminding us to trust in Jesus Christ alone.  It cost you everything, you paid the ultimate price, but you were ready for that.  Even here in Philippians 3 you wrote, "I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." 3 


Thank you for reminding us, encouraging us to rejoice in the Lord always,

all the time, in spite of, and no matter what.  Songs like this one, by Mercy Me,

Rejoice in the Lord and trust in Jesus Christ alone.  Even is well with my soul.


Philippians, #18



1 - Philippians 3.1

2 - Psalms 5.11

3 - Philippians 3.8

10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page