Rejoice in the Lord!
September 9, 2018 Speaker: Brian Wilbur Series: Philippians
Topic: The Christian's Spiritual Heartbeat Passage: Philippians 3:1–1
REJOICE IN THE LORD!
An Exposition of Philippians 3:1a
By Pastor Brian Wilbur
Date: September 9, 2018
Series: Philippians: Gospel Partnership on Mission in the World
Note: Scripture quotations are from The ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
The sermon text for this Lord’s Day is the first part of the first verse of Philippians 3: “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1). Later on, in Philippians 4:4, Paul says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). In another passage Paul told the Thessalonians, “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
Joy is a prominent theme in Philippians. On a number of occasions Paul gives us insight into his joy, and he encourages the Philippians – and us – to have the same kind of joy that he had. God’s Word instructs us to rejoice amid the sorrows, difficulties, and complexities of real life. Rejoicing in the Lord is not a shallow plasticky smile that we put on while we stuff our negative emotions. Rejoicing in the Lord is not putting a shiny façade on a shabby structure and hoping that no one finds out. Rejoicing in the Lord is the outflow of a deep wellspring that exists underneath, alongside, through, and over the tears and troubles of our lives.
This wellspring of joy – this joy in the Lord – is an affectionate, heartfelt feeling of gladness on account of the Lord’s glory and the Lord’s gracious works on behalf of His people. Rejoicing in the Lord is not mainly about doing, thinking, or speaking something; it is about feeling something, namely, joy and gladness, and feeling it in a deep and sustained way – not because you have a Tigger-like personality, but because you see the words and works and worth of God, and you are satisfied with who He is and what He does and what He says. “[The] precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8). “For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy” (Psalm 92:4). “Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice!” (Psalm 105:3) We ought to experience this profound joy even amid the afflictions and concerns of everyday life. When such joy is present, then it will necessarily find expression in our deeds, conversations, and songs.
As we look at Philippians 3:1 in light of all of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, we learn at least seven lessons about this rejoicing in the Lord.
SEVEN LESSONS ABOUT REJOICING IN THE LORD
First, rejoicing in the Lord is commanded. Spiritual joy is not an optional add-on that only the super-saints take up. Spiritual joy is not a peripheral or secondary emotion, as if its presence or absence is largely unimportant to your Christian life. Spiritual joy is not something that you experience thirty years later, after you have slogged through the Christian life ‘wilderness’. On the contrary, spiritual joy is commanded and it is commanded now; continual rejoicing in the Lord is God’s will for your life; and anything less represents a deficiency in our spiritual health. We do, in fact, have many deficiencies in our spiritual health, and for many of us the lack of sustained joy is probably one of our deficiencies. The way to address our deficiencies is not to pretend that they don’t exist, lower the standard, or say that it doesn’t really matter. Instead, we ought to confess our sins to the Lord – including the sin of joylessness; we ought to lament the weakness of our hearts; and we ought to trust the Lord to heal the fractures of our soul.
The command to rejoice in the Lord is set forth directly and indirectly. Philippians 3:1 states the matter directly: “Finally, brothers, rejoice in the Lord.” This command to rejoice is also given to us indirectly in Philippians 2:14, where Paul says: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (Philippians 2:14). The spiritual opposite of grumbling is gladness and gratitude; the spiritual opposite of disputing is humble and affectionate agreeableness. So, we ought to do all things with joy and thanksgiving. Paul prays “with joy” (Philippians 1:3). Paul tells the Philippians to “receive [Epaphroditus] in the Lord with all joy” (Philippians 2:29). To “[rejoice] in the Lord always” would mean that joy is always present, always accompanying us in all that we do.
If any of you lack this sustained joy, I have counsel for you: Do not turn this command into mere suggestion and let yourself off the hook; and do not assume that your gloomy personality won’t allow for significant joy. Instead, let the absence or shortage of joy be like a check engine light in your vehicle telling you that something is wrong. Don’t despair or panic, but be diligent to go to the Lord and let Him service the engine of your heart. “[Let] the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (Psalm 105:3-4)
Second, rejoicing in the Lord is to have a joy that is centered in the Lord. First and foremost, this means to rejoice in the Lord as your highest joy. Rejoice in the Lord because of who He is. He is the almighty Creator; the powerful Sustainer; the strong Redeemer; the Holy One who is altogether righteous and wise; the kindhearted God who is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, full of steadfast love and faithfulness; the sublime Trinity who exists in the joyful love that passes back and forth between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Moreover, this great God has reached down into our broken world and redeemed for Himself a people, and He supplies us with grace, mercy, and peace in abundance as He leads us onward to our eternal home. We rejoice in the Lord because of who He is, and because of who He is to us: He is our wisdom, our righteousness, our holiness, and our redemption (see 1 Corinthians 10:30). As Paul says in Philippians 3:3, we “glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:3). Like Paul, we know “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus [our] Lord” (Philippians 3:8). “[Our] citizenship is in heaven,” says Paul in Philippians 3:20, “and from it we wait a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). The Lord is our true and highest joy:
“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.”
Even so, the Lord is not our only joy. In Philippians 4:1, Paul calls the Philippians “my joy and crown” (Philippians 4:1). So the Lord is Paul’s highest joy, but the Philippians – the Lord’s people – are also Paul’s joy. So, we have to understand that rejoicing in the Lord means not only to rejoice in the Lord as our highest joy, but also to rejoice in the Lord as the source of every other joy. These other joys, these wonderful gifts from God, are real and are meant to be enjoyed (1 Timothy 4). “God… richly provides us with everything to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). “[Everything] created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:4). Thus we ought to receive and make use of God’s good gifts, with gratitude and joy. Alexander MacLaren says it well when he comments that the “true joy” which “has its root in union with Jesus… does not shut out but hallows [or sanctifies] other sources of satisfaction.”
This truth about rejoicing in the Lord not only as our highest joy but also as the source and sanctifier of every other joy, leads straightaway into a third point, namely, that rejoicing in the Lord is closely connected to our joy in the Lord’s people. God gives is so many wonderful gifts: food and drink; clothing and shelter; education, employment, and wealth. God Himself, of course, is the greatest gift that He gives to us. But of all the other good gifts that God gives us from His generous hand, none is so precious as the gift of one another, the gift of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, the gift of vast relational wealth within the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The dear Philippians were a joy to Paul’s heart (Philippians 4:1). Paul said, “I am glad and rejoice with you all” (Philippians 2:17). Paul would be “less anxious” if his beloved friends had an increase of comfort and joy (Philippians 2:28). Paul yearned for them (Philippians 1:8) and longed for them (Philippians 4:1).
In Philippians 4:10 Paul writes, “I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity” (Philippians 4:10). Then he adds in verse 14: “… it was kind of you to share my trouble” (Philippians 4:14). Did you hear what Paul said? He said that he “rejoiced in the Lord.” But in this specific context he is not rejoicing in the Lord as his highest joy irrespective of anything else. Paul does that in Philippians 3:3-11. But in Philippians 4:10 Paul is rejoicing in the Lord as the source of another joy, namely, the joy of having brothers and sisters who loved him and demonstrated that love by sharing his trouble and supporting him financially. Note well that Paul’s joy is not cash in his pocket, as if the reason he’s glad to have these brothers and sisters is because they write checks to him. This is a relational joy that runs all the way down to the heart and all the way up to heaven. Paul is glad to have brothers and sisters who are with him in the ministry of the gospel. Furthermore, Paul is glad that their demonstration of love will accrue to their heavenly reward: “Not that I seek the gift but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit” (Philippians 4:17). Paul is glad in the Lord because the Philippians are laying up treasure in heaven.
Therefore we see that our rejoicing in the Lord is closely connected to the mutual love and fellowship that we enjoy as brothers and sisters in the Lord. Rejoicing in the Lord includes rejoicing in the Lord’s people precisely because they are the Lord’s people. Paul calls upon the Philippians to “be glad and rejoice with [him]” (Philippians 2:18). Paul tells the Philippians to “receive [Epaphroditus] in the Lord with all joy” (Philippians 2:29).
The most joyful Christians are not the over-spiritual folks who want to spend all day in private devotions. The most joyful Christians are not the self-isolated folks who keep their distance and are afraid to get involved in people’s lives. The most joyful Christians are those who are immersed in a Christ-centered fellowship of Christians who are loving Jesus together and learning together and serving together and sharing life together. In saying this, I don’t mean in any way to minimize the value of private devotions or alone time. Nor do I mean to rule out the possibility that someone might overcommit relationally to the detriment of self-care or family care. I understand that there are a hundred ways to go wrong, and I cannot give counsel for every specific case in a single sermon. But I am attempting to capture a vital biblical thread in the Christian life, and this thread is a love that delights in one another. For some of you, the gaps in your spiritual joy are relational gaps. You keep a safe distance from the relational wealth inside the church family, you keep your heart closed, you prefer not to share in the troubles of others, and you dare not put your prospects for joy into the laps of your Christian brothers and sisters. Consequently, the joy that could be yours, remains afar off. Learn to rejoice in the Lord by rejoicing in the Lord’s people for the Lord’s sake.
The fourth lesson about joy follows easily enough from the previous two points: Rejoicing in the Lord also includes rejoicing in the Lord’s work. It is good and right, of course, to rejoice in all of the Lord’s work, for there is nothing that He does that He does not do well – there is nothing that He does that is not praiseworthy. But in terms of Philippians, I am specifically referring to the Lord’s work in redeeming sinners and purifying the redeemed into increasingly obedient saints. Although Paul is imprisoned as he writes this letter to the Philippians, “the word of God is not bound!” (2 Timothy 2:9) The word of the gospel is going forth: Paul is preaching the gospel in the prison, and other preachers are proclaiming the gospel on the outside. The gospel is on the move, affecting more and more people in more and more places. Even though some of the preachers are preaching the gospel from unworthy motivations, nevertheless Paul rejoices that the gospel message is being proclaimed. Paul says in Philippians 1:18, “What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (Philippians 1:18). This rejoicing in the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is becoming more widely known is surely a form of rejoicing in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.
Further, Paul’s overall joy is also bound up with the Christians maturing in their discipleship and bearing fruit that is “worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27). As Paul calls the church to grow in like-minded service to the Lord, he says that his joy will be filled up if the Philippians grow in Christ-centered unity: “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2). Of course, Paul knows that such spiritual growth is ultimately the Lord’s work, which is why he prays to God “that [their] love may abound more and more” (Philippians 1:9).
So, if we would rejoice in the Lord as fully as we ought, then we must be immersed in the Lord’s work – praying for it and participating in it, doing our part to advance the gospel and helping our brothers and sisters grow in the Lord and contributing to the overall growth and health of our church family. Then, as you see the Lord working to rescue sinners and grow Christians and strengthen the congregation and raise up leaders and send out missionaries, you will have more reasons to rejoice in the Lord. As we are told in Exodus 18, Moses’ father-in-law “Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the LORD had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians” (Exodus 18:9). Let us also rejoice “for all the good that the LORD” continues to do in our midst.
Now we proceed to a fifth lesson about joy: rejoicing in the Lord is capable of increase and decrease. The commands to “rejoice in the Lord” and “[rejoice] in the Lord always” indicate that joy in the Lord ought to be the continual and constant experience of our hearts. But although this experience ought to be continual and constant, it does not follow that our ‘joy temperature’ should always stay at the same level. Spiritual joy, as we experience it in this present fallen world, is a contracting and expanding reality that may increase or decrease depending on a variety of circumstances.
Of course, if we rush headlong into grievous sin, we will forfeit joy altogether – which is why King David, as he was repenting and turning back to the Lord after two grievous sins, prayed to God, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation” (Psalm 51:12). Sin certainly does and will compromise or deplete our joy. As we make “progress… in the faith” (Philippians 1:25), we ought to do more and more things “without grumbling or questioning” (Philippians 2:14) or, to put it another way, we ought to do more and more things with joy. Less sinning really does mean more rejoicing! But even apart from sin, our spiritual joy is capable of increase or decrease.
We must remember that for Paul – and the same should be true for us – his joy and his sorrow were significantly tied to the well-being of others. For this reason our joy may increase or decrease: if our beloved fellow Christians are well, we have an increase in joy; if our beloved fellow Christians are not well, we have a decrease in joy. If we have loved ones who don’t know Jesus, then like Paul we ought to “have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in [our hearts]” (Romans 9:2). But if they came to know the Lord, our joy would increase.
When Paul says that the Philippians’ gospel-centered, like-minded unity would “complete [his] joy” (Philippians 2:2), he indicates that his joy would increase on account of their congregational harmony. When Paul says that he “rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you revived your concern for me” (Philippians 4:10), he indicates that a new circumstance widened or expanded his joy. He may have been very joyful beforehand, but now another happy dynamic is introduced into the equation, and his joy expands. Likewise when Paul anticipates that the Philippians will “rejoice at seeing [Epaphroditus] again” (Philippians 2:28), he indicates that their joy will widen as they see their brother safe and sound in their midst. Regarding that same circumstance, when Paul says that God’s merciful healing of Epaphroditus was a mercy “not only on [Epaphroditus] but also on me, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow” (Philippians 2:27), he indicates that multiplied sorrow and diminished joy would have resulted from Epaphroditus’ death. But Epaphroditus didn’t die, and in sending him back to Philippi for the sake of the Philippians’ joy, Paul says that he will “be less anxious” (Philippians 2:28) because Epaphroditus and the Philippians will enjoy the comfort and joy of reunion.
So, the Christian who claims to always have the same level of joy, without increase or decrease, is either not being honest, or kidding themselves, or not sufficiently involved in the lives of other people. Don’t misunderstand me: there ought to be a baseline of significant joy that is tied to the Lord alone, and so it is quite right that we ought to have joy in the Lord at all times. But if we are mixing it up with real people amid real situations on a regular basis, especially with our brothers and sisters in the Lord – and if we care about these other people! – then get ready for a complex emotional experience. When the Bible says “Rejoice with those who rejoice” (Romans 12:15; see also 1 Corinthians 12:26), it means that your expandable joy-meter ought to be expanding as you come face-to-face with the joys of your fellow Christians. In the same vein, “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15; see also 1 Corinthians 12:26) means that your expandable sorrow-meter ought to be expanding as you come face-to-face with the sorrows of your fellow Christians. And “[when] sorrows like sea billows roll” over the body of Christ, the joy will be present but subdued because we will be grieving and lamenting and weeping together before the Lord.
That said, it would be mistaken to think that joy and sorrow exist in an inverse relationship, such that the increase in one necessitates a corresponding decrease in the other. It should not be so! This leads us to a sixth lesson about joy: rejoicing in the Lord is to be experienced underneath, alongside, through, and over our afflictions, sorrows, and anxious concerns. Even if you have a lot of sorrow and suffering, you are still meant to experience and express joy in the Lord at the same time. It is not as if you have 100 units of emotion, and if you have 100 units of sorrow, you have 0 units of joy. It is not like that! You have incalculable and expansive capacities for both sorrow and joy! And if you happened to have 1,000 units of sorrow – not that you can actually quantify it! – but if you had 1,000 units of sorrow, you could still have 5,000 units of joy, or something to that effect. In other words, if you would be a healthy Christian, you must have the capacity to rejoice amid suffering and rejoice alongside sorrowing. As I said before, when the Word tells us to “rejoice in the Lord” and to do so always, the Word is instructing us to rejoice amid the sorrows, difficulties, and complexities of real life. We see this refreshing realism on display in Philippians. Consider these things:
- Paul is imprisoned (Philippians 1:13).
- Paul is aware of certain preachers who have it out for him – these preachers are preaching the gospel from selfish motives and are seeking to exalt themselves at Paul’s expense (Philippians 1:17). With fellow preachers like that, who needs enemies? But Paul did have enemies – worldly-minded people and false teachers.
- Like Paul, the Philippians also have opponents and amid this opposition the Philippians were suffering (Philippians 1:27-30).
- Paul’s colleague and dear Christian brother Epaphroditus “was ill, near to death,” and that caused distress in Epaphroditus and anxious concern in Paul (Philippians 2:25-28).
- Paul was grieved over the fact that many people are on the path to destruction: “For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18).
- Paul was concerned about the spat between two of his fellow workers who were part of the Philippian congregation: “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord” (Philippians 4:2). And from Philippians 2:2 we know that Paul’s joy will widen if Euodia and Syntyche are able to “[be] in full accord and of one mind” (Philippians 2:2), which means that there is more than a tinge of sorrow over their current disagreement.
- Paul tells us that there are times when he has been brought into the low circumstances of facing hunger and need (Philippians 4:12). Paul said that he had “learned… to be content” (Philippians 4:11) in such difficulties, but he didn’t say they were fun!
Do you get the picture here? Paul doesn’t play ignorant about all the sufferings and sorrows, the anxieties and afflictions, that we have to contend with as we follow Jesus in this fallen world. Griefs and heartaches are many, and he feels it in his body and in his heart. And yet, in the midst of all this, he exudes joy: he rejoices in the fellowship of God’s people, he rejoices in the advance of the gospel, he rejoices in the well-being of others, he rejoices when believers and congregations grow in godliness, and most of all he rejoices in the Lord Jesus Christ and His glorious grace. The paradox of the joyful Christian life amid troubles and trials is on full display in 2 Corinthians 6:
“… as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” (2 Corinthians 6:4-10)
Welcome to ministry, kid! This is what faithful Christian ministry looks like in a fallen world. In a related passage where Paul details his sufferings, he adds this: “And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?” (2 Corinthians 11:28-29)
If you care about the church and its people – and you should, with all your heart – then fasten your seatbelts and hold on tightly to Jesus, because it is going to be an emotional ride. Where there is spiritual weakness in others, you ought to sympathetically enter into that weakness; where there is disobedience or foolishness, you ought to feel grief; where there is a relational fracture within the body, you ought to earnestly plead with both sides to “agree in the Lord”; where there are tears in your brothers and sisters, you ought to come alongside them with tears of your own. But get this – and here’s the actual point: with all these painful realities in full view, Paul says “rejoice in the Lord” and not only that but: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”
So, as you enter with faith, hope, and love into the painful realities of an imperfect church family and in imperfect ministry in a world that stands against us, remember the joy: the Lord is our highest joy, and He is the source and sanctifier of every other joy. And though the 120 people in our congregation equals a lot of sorrows and weaknesses and growing pains, it also equals a lot of joys: the joy of brothers and sisters who love you, the joy of seeing people grow in the Lord, the joy of believers professing their faith publicly in baptism, the joy of babies born, the joy of being in each other’s lives and homes, the joy of serving alongside one another in ministries that have eternal significance. Rejoicing in the Lord is to be experienced underneath, alongside, through, and over our afflictions, sorrows, and anxious concerns. Do not let your sinful heart be carried away into a preoccupation over the negatives, lest you become a first rate grumbler; do not let your sensitive or sympathetic heart be swept away by all the grief; but let your saintly heart be carried upward by the Holy Spirit to rejoice in the fresh air of a thousand graces that are all around you, if only you had the spiritual eyes to see them. See them, and rejoice!
Last but not least, rejoicing in the Lord is strengthened and safeguarded by sound doctrine. This seventh and final point actually anticipates the next several sermons in Philippians 3. For now, let me call our attention to what Paul says in the rest of verse 1 and verse 2: “Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh” (Philippians 3:1-2) These dog-like, evil mutilators are false teachers who threaten to undermine the spiritual vitality of the Philippians.
In Philippians 3:1-21, Paul teaches the Philippians about the precious doctrines of justification by faith, participation in Christ, and the hope of resurrection glory. There is nothing dry or abstract about his instruction here: he speaks of the incomparable value of Christ and the great privilege and urgency of knowing Christ and following after Him. The purpose of the doctrine is not merely to get us thinking correctly, as important as that is, but beyond that to love Christ (of whom the doctrine speaks) and to live a life that is shaped by Christ and His gospel. But if you jettison the doctrine, what you are left with? You are left with unrooted emotions that will not endure the trials of life. In this regard it is worth reminding us of the “rocky ground” false convert in the Parable of the Sower. Jesus says, “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.” (Matthew 13:20-21) Our response to the Word – if it is to be a genuinely good and lasting response – must have the root of true faith – faith in Jesus and His Word. Paul speaks of this matter in Colossians 2:
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
If we are to “rejoice in the Lord” (Philippians 3:1) and “[abound] in thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:7), then we ourselves must be anchored in the Lord: we must know Him and know Him well, we must be well acquainted with His words – understanding them, believing them, and putting them into practice – and we must be established in sound teaching, in the knowledge of the gospel, and in the entire scope of God’s Word.
So, if you are the kind of person who is tempted to believe that the feeling of joy in the Lord and the careful study of Christian doctrine are two disconnected things, so that you would choose one over against the other, let Philippians 3:1-2 stop you in your tracks: “… rejoice in the Lord…. Look out for the dogs.” What a juxtaposition: rejoice in Jesus and keep an eye out for the false teachers! For the false teachers will steal your joy unless you stay alert and resist their influence.
Earlier in Philippians 1 Paul said that he ministered to the Philippians “for [their] progress and joy in the faith” (Philippians 1:25). This is why he is writing to them, encouraging them, and instructing them. So, if you want to sustain and strengthen your joy in the Lord, then you need to pay attention to what the apostle has written. Paul’s teaching “is safe for you,” will safeguard and protect you from spiritual danger, will give you a firm foundation of everlasting joy, will enable you to rejoice even in the face of suffering and grief. Rejoicing in the Lord is strengthened and safeguarded by sound doctrine.
A CONCLUDING WORD
Would you rejoice, dear Christian? Well then, put yourself in the path of joy: be devoted to the Lord’s people, be diligent in the Lord’s work, be drinking in the Lord’s book – and in all this, desire the Lord Himself, and delight in Him as your highest joy.
Let us pray.
 One of the stanzas from the well-known hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”
 Alexander MacLaren, MacLaren’s Expositions (on Philippians 1:1-3), accessed through Bible Hub’s Commentary section: https://biblehub.com/commentaries/philippians/3-1.htm.
 This phrase is taken from the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” by Horatio G. Spafford.
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