The apostle Paul faced an uncertain future. He was arrested for preaching the gospel, but as a Roman citizen, he had the right to appeal to Caesar. As a result, Paul was living under house arrest, awaiting an appearance before the leader of Rome.
Paul didn’t know whether his appeal would bring about his acquittal or his beheading. But instead of worrying and complaining, he was rejoicing and living in great peace.
Writing to the believers in Philippi, he said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! . . . Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (4:4, 6–7 NKJV).
Rejoicing is a scriptural command, not a suggestion. To fail to rejoice is actual disobedience to God. But notice that Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord,” not rejoice in your circumstances.
Some Christians think that whatever happens, they should rejoice in it. No, we should rejoice in the fact that God is still on the throne and still loves us. We should rejoice in the fact that, according to Romans 8:28, “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (NLT).
When we worry, it’s a failure on our part to trust God. Jesus said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).
The word worry comes from a term that means “to choke.” And that’s what worry does. It creates mental and emotional strangulation in your life. Worry actually makes things worse, because when you worry about the future, you cripple yourself in the present.