You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me
Focus on joy, on the positive
rejoice: This is the Greek word chairo, which means to be glad, to rejoice, to be joyful, and hail. The apostle is prompting us to focus on the positive and to overcome a negative perspective with a positive one. He was in a Roman prison on trial for His life when he wrote these thoughts. He was surrounded by Roman guards and had not been free for two years. And yet in that situation He was digging for the positive. In verse 17 he likens his situation to a drink offering being poured out to the Lord. In other words, he forces himself to see his waning health, his exhaustion, and rough treatment as a drink offering to God – something extremely positive. He perceives God being pleased with what He is sacrificing. His sacrifice is a cause for great rejoicing, not sorrow and complaining. I get the privilege of strengthening you by going through this imprisonment.
We have to ask these kinds of questions about whatever circumstances that we find ourselves in. How can this be a positive? What is positive about this situation? In what way can this be viewed as a positive? What good thing is happening here? How is God working for my good here? These questions you must force yourself to ask because the negative questions about fairness and justice leap to your mind.
The apostle is basically saying to take control of your mind and make it see things positively. Make it see things from a bigger perspective, from a positive point of view. God is alive. He has not lost control. He is up to something. Even if you are unjustly thrown in prison. Even if you may be killed for doing good. “Rejoice!” is what the apostle says.
Focus on the positive and tell others all about the positive that you see. Make the positive perspective dominate your thinking.
* This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material. The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.