Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. -Phil 3:1 (NASB)
Eight times in the letter to the Philippians, Paul uses the word “rejoice.”
According to the NASB Greek-Hebrew Dictionary rejoice is χαίρω (chairô) and simply means to rejoice or “be glad.”
“Wuest’s Word Studies” elaborates thus,”Go on constantly rejoicing in the Lord.”
Here is a quick summary of how Paul uses this word:
In chapter 1 verse 18: (“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice”), Paul rejoices that “Christ is proclaimed.” He uses the word rejoice two times here “Yes, and I will rejoice.” He is rejoicing, and will keep rejoicing about the fact that the gospel is being spread. This “floats Paul’s boat.”
In chapter 2, verse 17: (“But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all.”) It seems he is rejoicing that his own life is being poured out in service and sacrifice for the church in Philippi. This service modeled after Christ (see Philippians 2:5-8) is causing Paul to be full of joy.
In chapter 2, verse 18: (“You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.”) he is urging or encouraging the church in Philippi to have a like kind of behavior to his, and thus Christ’s. It’s like he’s saying, “hey, this works for me,… I’m in prison, yet rejoicing, why don’t you guys do the same.” “Rejoice with me!”
In chapter 2 verse 28: (“Therefore I have sent him all the more eagerly so that when you see him again you may rejoice and I may be less concerned about you.”)
Here, he remarks that the church will rejoice once they have been reunited with Epaphroditus. Paul is anticipating their rejoicing in this relationship of love that they have with their beloved brother, Epaphroditus. The love of the brethren, and fellowship together is indeed a reason for celebration, and a cause of joy.
In chapter 3 verse 1, he says rejoice in the Lord and then in chapter 4 verse 4, he says the very same thing “rejoice in the Lord” and then he says “again, I will say rejoice!”
Clearly, Paul is saying that the Lord is the reason for the joy that he has, it seems as though this joy is spilling out of him.
Paul is painting a contrast, whereas some were rejoicing in other things like religious accomplishment, (Fill in the blank for your life) he was declaring that as for himself, Jesus was his sole source of joy.
Here are some things to consider:
What gives you the greatest joy?
Can that joy be taken away?
What will happen to that joy when you die?