“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. “ (Philippians 4:4)
Euodia and Syntyche were two prominent Christian women in the early church (Philippians 4:2). They were dear friends of the Apostle Paul and “labored side by side” with him in the spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Philippi. While Paul was imprisoned, for proclaiming that Christ was crucified Messiah who had risen from the dead for the forgiveness of sins, he somehow heard that these two dear partners in the Gospel were at odds with one another and creating a rift within the church. Paul does not tell us the details of their personal conflict, but it was serious. The conflict risked demolishing the church of Philippi’s witness of Christ to their neighbors.
What was the underlying cause of their conflict? They took their eyes off of Jesus. In his letter to the church, Paul pressed these women “to agree in the Lord.” Paul asked the church to “help these women” put aside their need to be right and focus on the fact that Jesus has made them right with God. Paul told them all to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” So important was the admonition that Paul followed up, “Again I will say, rejoice!”
A continuous (“always”) rejoicing in Christ is what displaces all other desires that seek to ensnare our sinful hearts. If we are always rejoicing in the fact that are names are “written in the book of life” (4:3), and see that it is Christ who has made us worthy and acceptable to God, what need is there for self-justification or pride? What need is there for rejoicing in self? When our eyes are fixed on Jesus and what He has accomplished, we see others and ourselves in the same needy state. When our eyes are fixed on Jesus and what He has accomplished, we recognize that we must forgive as we’ve been forgiven.
Are you at odds with someone? Is there a person you’re always trying to one up or best? Is there someone who you always feel the need to prove yourself to? You suffer from a lack of continuous rejoicing in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He has done for you. Jesus loved you so much that He willingly laid down His life for you. He made you right and bought you all the acceptance you will ever need. “And God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (4:19). Let’s agree on this: to remind one another, and others, of the Gospel of Jesus Christ often, that we might always rejoice in the Lord always.