17 January 2021
Series: Rise Up

Rise Up and Choose Joy

Bible Passage: Philippians 4:4-9

Rise Up and Choose Joy

Philippians 4:4-9

Last week I told you about the testimony of the Apostle Paul and how he counted all that was taken away from him when he gave his life to Christ as nothing more than dung to be burned outside the city in comparison to what He gained in knowing Christ; what He gained with eternal life!

This once-rising superstar in Jerusalem now had a huge passion to see the Gospel spread all over the world. He gave his life to planting churches and preaching and teaching the Gospel; but as I shared with you last week, the short-term successes were accompanied by constant setbacks, derailments, and serious persecution.

So how did Paul keep rising up???

Well, as we saw in week one, he knew whose and who he was. Paul wrote,

12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. (Philippians 3:12)

He also believed that what He was striving for was worth the effort. that the prize was bigger than the sacrifice, therefore he wrote,

13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

If you don’t believe the prize is greater than the effort then you are likely not going to rise up to pursue it!

But I ain’t going to lie. I’ve drug myself up a few times in life but I wasn’t happy about it! I found myself “pursuing” Christ again and getting back on the task of what I was supposed to be doing but still mad, upset, and even bitter about it.

Have you ever found yourself in that situation? Where you are “doing” what you should be doing but you ain’t happy about it. And everybody around you knows it! HA! You know, like when you’re upset at your spouse and you still sit down at the dinner table to eat but your face and interaction all say something else. Or where you are still going to work and doing your job but your face and attitude are shouting at everybody else around you, and most significantly to yourself, that you’re miserable inside.

Well, the Apostle Paul understands that struggle as well. It’s one thing to rise up and press on. It’s another thing to be happy and joyful about it! It’s a lesson that Paul himself had to learn.
Last week we were in Philippians 3. This week we are in the very next chapter. In it we find a verse you’ve likely heard before. Paul wrote,

12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:12-13)

In other words, Paul said no matter what my circumstances are I’ve learned how to not just get knocked off track but also how to stay on track, running the race with everything I’ve got with gladness and joy. abounding in it. joyful in it!

So how did Paul do it? How did he keep rising up out of the ashes and pressing on? What was his secret?

We find out that secret in the verses immediately prior to this. Listen to what Paul challenged the believers in Philippi to do. Notice he is not telling them to do something he himself is not doing, but rather to do exactly what he is trying to live out in his own life and as such he can say without a doubt accomplishes the goal of living with joy and peace, of being able to press on (Phil 3:14) towards the upward call no matter what!

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)

Philippians 4:4-9 Give Us 4 Keys to Rise Up and Choose Joy!

Act How You Want To Feel And Think (4:4-5)

We talked a little about this last year in the story of Joseph in Matthew, the adopted father of Jesus. Faith is not waiting to feel a certain way than acting on it. It’s acting on what you know to be true with the confidence my feelings will follow.

Paul believed God to truly be God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ to truly be the greatest news ever. That the eternal life we have been graciously and securely given through Christ is the most awesome gift we could ever receive. Because He believed this he learned he had to act on it no matter what was going on in his life!

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

“But I think that the apostle also means that God is to be the great object of your joy: ‘Rejoice in the Lord.’” 1

I do believe that a man of God—under trial and difficulty and affliction, bearing up, and patiently submitting with holy acquiescence, and still rejoicing in God—is a real preacher of the gospel, preaching with an eloquence that is mightier than words can ever be, and that will find its secret and silent way into the hearts of those who might have resisted other arguments. Do, then, listen to the text, for it is a command from God: “Rejoice in the Lord always!” When are we to be glad? “Rejoice in the Lord always,” that is, when you cannot rejoice in anything or anyone but God. When the fig tree does not blossom, when there is no fruit on the vine and no herd in the stall, when everything withers and decays and perishes, when the worm at the root of the gourd has made it to die, then rejoice in the Lord. At the stake itself have martyrs fulfilled this word; they clapped their hands amid the fire that was consuming them. Therefore, rejoice in the Lord when you cannot rejoice in any other.But also take care that you rejoice in the Lord when you have other things to rejoice in. When He loads your table with good things, and your cup is overflowing with blessings, rejoice in Him more than in them. Forget not that the Lord your Shepherd is better than the green pastures and the still waters, and rejoice not in the pastures or in the waters in comparison with your joy in the Shepherd who gives you all. Let us never make Gods out of our goods; let us never allow what God gives us to supplant the Giver. Shall the wife love the jewels that her husband gave her better than she loves him who gave them to her? That is an evil love, or no love at all. So, let us love God first, and rejoice in the Lord always when the day is brightest, and multiplied are the other joys that He permits us to have.”2

It’s not just to rejoice but rejoice in the LORD.

Whenever you are in a relationship with somebody you can focus on negative things, arguing and fussing over what you don’t like in the other person. Or you determine to have fun by talking about and doing the things that are fun and enjoyable for you and that person to do!

In a relationship with Christ, you have the greatest relationship in the world. You are in a relationship with the God of the universe. You can either bask in that, celebrate, and enjoy it or disregard it. You can celebrate and let it be a big part of your life or you can set it aside as something nominal. That at best that you think about every now and then.

Paul is telling you to flat out be energized and pumped up and REJOICE. Outwardly celebrate with your words and actions that Christ died for you. That heaven is your home, that there is a future brighter than the sun and as you live through this life you can know and love God, you can spend your life on an awesome journey of knowing Him that it ends with an eternity of awesomeness! Rejoice in the fact that God is who He is and that He is also your loving eternal Father who will never forsake you!

5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.

“A Christian should cultivate an outgoing personality. The secret of his happiness is not confined within the walls of his own meditation and reflection. He cannot be truly happy without striving to be a blessing to others. Hence, Paul continues, Let your big-heartedness be known to everybody. For big-heartedness one may substitute any of the following: forbearance, yieldedness, geniality, kindliness, gentleness, sweet reasonableness, considerateness, charitableness, mildness, magnanimity, generosity. All of these qualities are combined in the adjective-noun that is used in the original. Taken together they show the real meaning. When each of these would-be-English-equivalents is taken by itself alone, it becomes clear that there is not a single word in the English language that fully expresses the meaning of the original.”3

“The lesson which Paul teaches is that true blessedness cannot be obtained by the person who rigorously insists on whatever he regards as his just due. The Christian is the man who reasons that it is far better to suffer wrong than to inflict wrong (1 Cor. 6:7). Sweet reasonableness is an essential ingredient of true happiness. Now such big-heartedness, such forbearance, the patient willingness to yield wherever yielding is possible without violating any real principle, must be shown to all, not only to fellow-believers.”4

Reasonableness: Levelheadedness. Objectivity. A perspective that is above the nonsense and day to day turmoil that is always present in life.

Reasonableness is the ability to see things long term. The ability to compromise with others and work together because you know in the end the only thing that matters is Christ. To know in the end you always have something bigger and more awesome than this world can provide.

The ability to put things into proper perspective. That is to put all of life’s trials, all the things that people get so worked up over, all the things that seem to matter so much in this life. You put them into proper perspective because you see them standing beside all you have in CHRIST!

So let your actions and words demonstrate the joy you have in all Christ is and has given. Let your actions and words demonstrate reasonableness. Stop the hysteria, stop the drama, stop the panic, and watch how the feeling of joy follows the actions of rejoicing in Jesus and the emotional maturity of reasonableness!

Pray Fully Convinced Of Who You Are Praying To

The Lord is at hand;6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

“The Greek construction indicates that we have here a prohibition which forbids the continuance of an action already habitually going on. The Philippian saints were habitually worrying. Paul exhorts them to stop it. The word ‘nothing’ is literally ‘not even one thing.’”5

“God’s peace acts as a soldier guarding believers. This same beautiful truth of God’s garrisoning of His children can be seen in 1 Peter 1:4, 5. The two Greek terms “heart” (kardia) and “mind” (nous) are synonymous in speaking about the whole person (feeling and thinking). Paul emphasizes Christian thinking throughout this letter. See note at 3:15.”6

“’Guard’ The Greek word is phroureō, which signifies keeping guard, keeping as with a garrison: so completely and so effectually does the peace of God keep our hearts and minds. Is it not an odd thing that a military term is used here, and that it is peace that acts as a guard to the heart and to the mind? It is the peace of God that is to protect the child of God; strange but beautiful figure!”8

Again, this is an action that leads to a feeling. You want peace to guard your heart and mind like a garrison of soldiers? Then you have to offer your anxieties to God believing him to be God. Rejoice in Him! He’s heard it and whatever He does you are going to be ok. He will see you through the most terrible of trial. And your future is not the trial but eternal life in an eternal Kingdom.

Consequently, if you pray without believing God to be who He is and doing what He’s doing, then don’t expect peace and joy as the outcome!

Notice the element of choosing joy in prayers. I talk to God about all this craziness in my life, all the hurt and disappointment, all the dreams I’m trying to achieve, and the obstacles in the way. All the worries of things going on in the lives of people I love. As I talk to him about all this, I need to remember He’s coming back!

Pray like you believe He’s coming back. Do that while celebrating the reality of who he is and what he is doing and going to do. Of all He has provided us (Rejoice in the LORD). Then the product of your prayers will be peace. Not anxiety and worry and fear and frustration and depression!

“William W. Walford, a blind preacher of England, is the author of the hymn beginning ‘Sweet hour of prayer.’ This hymn first appeared in print in the New York Observer September 13, 1845.”9

The words to the song are as follows:

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
that calls me from a world of care,
and bids me at my Father’s throne
make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
my soul has often found relief,
and oft escaped the tempter’s snare
by thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
the joys I feel, the bliss I share
of those whose anxious spirits burn
with strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
where God my Savior shows his face,
and gladly take my station there,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
thy wings shall my petition bear
to him whose truth and faithfulness
engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since he bids me seek his face,
believe his word, and trust his grace,
I’ll cast on him my every care,
and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
May I They consolation share
Till, from Mount Pisgah’s lofty height,
I vie my home and take my flight.
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise,
to seize the everlasting prize,
And shout, while passing thro the air,
Farewell, farewell, sweet hour of prayer!

Focus Your Thinking On The Inspirational

8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Honorable: This literally means “dignified.” It is often translated as “grave” and is used for church leaders in 1 Tim. 3:8, 11, and Titus 2:2. It seems to have been used in the sense of “dignity” with “attractiveness” toward both the saved and the lost.10

Pure: This is used in the sense of moral purity (cf. 1 John 3:3).11

The word translated “excellent” was the best word that classical Greek ethics had for virtue.12

Integrity.

What you focus on you become. Period. The body always follows the mind so focus on these things and not the other things. You will become what you think!

  • True, NOT false
  • Honorable/dignified, NOT disgraceful
  • Just, NOT unjust
  • Pure/moral, NOT immoral
  • Lovely, NOT ugly. Causes you to cringe instead of smile.
  • Commendable, NOT dreadful
  • Excellence/integrity, NOT dishonest
  • Anything worthy of praise, NOT worthy of condemning or just disregarding

Think about these things, not the other things!

If you keep listening to the national news you never going to have any peace. All they talk about is what is unjust in their eyes and blameworthy.

If all you ever focus on is what is wrong in the world, wrong in people, wrong in your family, wrong where you work, wrong in your community, government, friends, neighbors, and wrong in yourself, then you are always going to be in a mess!

Keep Grinding!

9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

“‘Do’ refers in its Greek word, to practice as a habit.”13

Remember Faith is doing the right things even when you don’t feel like it. And the kind of faith that leads to the experience of joy is a faith that doesn’t quit.

There is no joy in quitting. There is no joy if every couple minutes in the game you get all upset, toss in the towel, and stomp of saying you want to quit! If you’re going to rise up and have joy you got to get quit out of your vocabulary!

Quitters never have joy. But people who refuse to let sin or life keep them down are by nature defined by joy. People who have quitting as an option are never going to have the experience of joy!

Practice. Make it a habit in your life.

  • A habit of rejoicing in the Lord!
  • A habit of reasonableness
  • A habit of praying not as a desperate person hoping God hears, but knowing you are talking to your Father.
  • A habit of mentally focusing on the inspirational instead of destruction!

Challenge:

Ask the people you love the most if you are practicing rejoicing in the Lord, acting reasonably, praying to God as if you believe He’s God, and keeping your thoughts on what is truly inspirational!

Venture Church
Latest posts by Venture Church (see all)

Footnotes

  1. Spurgeon, C. (2014). Spurgeon Commentary: Philippians. (E. Ritzema, Ed.) (p. 140). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  2. Spurgeon, C. (2014). Spurgeon Commentary: Philippians. (E. Ritzema, Ed.) (pp. 150–151). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  3. Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Philippians (Vol. 5, p. 193). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
  4. Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Philippians (Vol. 5, p. 193). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
  5. Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 5, p. 109). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
  6. Utley, R. J. (1997). Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison (Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, then later, Philippians) (Vol. Volume 8, p. 202). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.
  7. Spurgeon, C. (2014). Spurgeon Commentary: Philippians. (E. Ritzema, Ed.) (p. 148). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.[/]

    “‘Supplication’ is from a word that speaks of supplicating for one’s personal needs.”7Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 5, p. 110). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

  8. https://hymnary.org/person/Walford_WW
  9. Utley, R. J. (1997). Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison (Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, then later, Philippians) (Vol. Volume 8, p. 202). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.
  10. Utley, R. J. (1997). Paul Bound, the Gospel Unbound: Letters from Prison (Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon, then later, Philippians) (Vol. Volume 8, p. 202). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.
  11. Foulkes, F. (1994). Philippians. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., p. 1258). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
  12. Wuest, K. S. (1997). Wuest’s word studies from the Greek New Testament: for the English reader (Vol. 5, p. 111). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.