“Attitude is everything,” the saying goes.
This final chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is all about how you choose to think about things.
That we have a choice about how we think about what we think about is a freedom no one can take away from us. Ever. Paul as usual exemplifies this for us here.
From prison, Paul writes to this church family he loves, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
The Holy Spirit teaches us here – once again – our joy is not dependent upon circumstances. Our joy is only found inour relationship with the Lord Jesus. Since the Lord Jesus never changes, our joy must not either. (Perhaps you already noticed this is a command and not a suggestion.)
That this is given as a command of God is telling us He desires our joy in the midst of difficult and even terrible or tragic circumstances to be a very important part of our testimony. But it is more than that – it is what will produce the best life in ourselves for ourselves as well. When we have learned to rejoice in the Lord no matter what is taking place in our lives, we have arrived at a maturity of faith nothing and no one can ever take away.
How important this attitude had to have been for Paul in these final years of his life. Once he was arrested at Jerusalem, he went through years of imprisonment under false charges he knew he was not guilty of. We can only imagine the amount of degradation and hardship he endured. And yet, his counsel to us in the midst of it all is to rejoice in the Lord! Always!
The mind can never be arrested by anyone, no matter how powerful they may be. There is no circumstance greater than our ability to be reminded of the love and life of Christ Jesus Our Lord, in Whom we reside eternally.
Paul’s final words to this church he planted are directed at the choice we have to think about good things, great things, and eternal things – rather than bad things. No one can stop you from doing that but you.
While we may be inclined to some degree of depression over the circumstances we find ourselves in, Paul reminds us we ARE free to think ourselves out of it by both what we know about the Lord Jesus, and by choosing to employ His power in our thought life.