Rejoice in the Lord Always!
Life in the first century for Christians was full of ups and downs; they had periods of fear and uncertainty, and times of joy and exultation. There was continually a fear of persecution, imprisonment and death, but it was balanced by the blessings from God and his unconditional love for his children and their hope of heaven.
Paul experienced all of those ups and downs, and from prison he wrote some of his most powerful letters. The brothers and sisters of the early church could have walked around with long faces with all the turmoil they had in the world at that time, but they did not.
Paul issued an apostolic command while jailed, that was based on a moral obligation that every Christian is under, then and now. That moral obligation is to rejoice! Paul in his Philippian letter in 4:4 said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again rejoice!” Twelve times Paul uses the word; 'rejoice' in his letter, as he encouraged the bretheren to be at peace and of good cheer despite the suffering they were going through. By choosing to be happy and rejoice, in spite of the afliction they were experiencing shows the inner peace and hope of salvation they have in the life to come.
Jesus too told his followers, “Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.”
Peter too encouraged the saint to keep their chin up by writing these words,
In light of all the turmoil in our present lives, and in this crazy world in which we live, these words ring just as true for us.
So, Rejoice! Jim