Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Philippians 4:4
When the apostle Paul described the Christian way of life in the short verse quoted above, he must have known something that most of us still struggle with. These few words take on a different meaning when you consider the kind of life that he lived:
Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:25-28
The secret to his joy seems to be hidden in the two often overlooked words, in the Lord. His joy was clearly not in his circumstances, but in the intimate relationship that he had with the Lord Jesus. There can be no greater joy than can be found in love, because love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:8) This is the kind of love that keeps you rejoicing, no matter what life throws at you.
When a religious mob made an oath together to not eat or drink anything until they killed Paul, the Lord encouraged him by telling him to be of good cheer:
But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome. Acts 23:11
The Lord often said, “Be of good cheer” when people found themselves in dire situations:
- The paralyzed man that they let down through the roof (Matthew 9:2)
- The woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9:21)
- The disciples, when they were in a violent storm at sea (Matthew 14:27)
- A man born blind (Mark 10:49)
- When Jesus prepared His disciples for His death and departure:
These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Good cheer while enduring hardship exhibits faith in God’s ability to lead you safely through your tribulations. To fear, on the other hand, is to model faith in the threat facing you, doubting the Lord’s love for you. Allow God’s unconditional love to guide to your emotions and moods, and experience the victorious life that Paul knew so well. A mortal being like every one of us, nothing could rob him of his joy in the Lord, not even unfair beatings and being thrown into prison with his feet in the stocks.
But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. Acts 16:25,26
Considering all the examples mentioned above, it appears that good cheer opens the door to miracles. God responds to faith; nothing touches Him like a heart so filled with Himself that tangible circumstances don’t even register. God, in His love for us, is more powerful than the greatest danger that surrounds us.
We have reached the end of the church age; the era of grace is closing down as we can already see by the rise of global totalitarianism. There is little to no patience for those who do not follow the dictates of our political leaders; the escalating restrictions on our freedoms is neither debatable nor negotiable. Harsh consequences await those who refuse to abide by the rules in a growing number of countries, even as loud protests fill the streets everywhere.
Some world leaders ask openly for a New World Order to deal with the world’s problems that are seemingly too much for individual countries to handle. Our world is changing fast. Several threats of war threaten to plunge the world in another world war: China threatens to invade Taiwan; Russia plans to attack Ukraine; tensions are rising all over the Middle East. Iran and Israel threaten each other, proxy wars are being fought in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
Both China and Russia warned the USA not to get involved in a clear sign that the global balance of power is shifting very fast. The leader of the European Union asked for the Nuremberg code, which prohibits medical procedures without consent, to be suspended so that Covid vaccines can be forced on everybody. Our chaotic world is dreaming about a man of peace to take over the reigns, and usher in lasting peace.
While world leaders make promises to ease the fears of their people, we have seen the bigger picture: this era has run its course. A new day, under a new world government, is around the corner. No protest will stop it, because its time has come. The world is in full preparation for its next season; 2022 will be a difficult year.
Instead of bracing ourselves for the dark days ahead though, we have good cheer. We know that the Lord will never leave or forsake us. In this season of hope, let us decide not to be distracted by what we see and hear. Fix your eyes on the One who overcame the world—there simply is no hope outside of Him. There is nothing but bad news coming from the world, but the good news of the gospel is about to have its best days!
Merry Christmas everybody!