Read: Philippians 4:4-13
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (v. 4)
Augustine of Hippo once prayed: “O God, our true life, to know you is life, to serve you is freedom, to enjoy you is a kingdom, to praise you is the joy and happiness of the soul.” When I first read this prayer, I realized that joy and delight aren’t just about how I feel. As a young Christian, I saw verses like Philippians 4:4 as a call for spiritual optimism. They felt like Pollyanna spirituality, like a contest to see which of us could be the gladdest. While growing in our relationship with God may bring gladness and joy along the way, rejoicing in the Lord is more about closeness and intimacy.
Paul writes that he has “learned in whatever situation . . . to be content” (v. 11). The key comes in the word content. In the original Greek, this word means “self-sufficient,” but not in the 21st-century sense. Paul is saying that he is content because God will give him everything he needs to get through it. He is self-sufficient because of God’s sufficiency.
Whether you are finding it easy to delight in God or you are struggling, take heart! As it says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” May God give us the courage to stop seeking happiness and start seeking closeness with God. Perhaps we will find that God (and the joy of the Lord!) was right there with us all along. —April Fiet
As you pray, ask God to draw near. Offer grace to yourself as you seek closeness with God.