Your Most Important Battle: The One Inside Your Head4
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
This week as we continue our “On the Way with Jesus” series, we’re going to be talking about the most important battle that many of us never think about: the battle for the voices in your head.
For many of us, the first and most important challenge is not external but internal: the ways that our thoughts, biases, hopes, dreams, fears, anxieties, and worries shape what we will or won’t attempt, what we’re willing or not willing to believe, and ultimately, who we’re becoming in relationship to God.
In Philippians four, Paul is wrapping up his most joy-filled letter. And so it’s no surprise that he should call his friends in Philippi to rejoice, it’s what Paul has been doing for most of his letter.
This rejoicing isn’t a pretending. It’s not pretending things are great when they’re not. It’s not pretending that there aren’t hard things happening when there are.
Living life through the Jesus lens is the one lens that enables us to look at the world brutally honestly and come out rejoicing on the other side. Yes, there is our own pain, hurt and disappointments. And zooming out from ourselves, there are many others in much greater pain than we are--situations that are utterly horrific and grueling and shocking.
All of that, Jesus sees. And all of that, Jesus cares about. And all of that, Jesus has dealt with on the cross and will deal with and redeem one day, once and for all.
Doing life “on the way with Jesus” is the path that equips us to neither gloss over the brutal realities of life in a fallen world nor to be overwhelmed and paralyzed by all of it. Jesus has overcome even torture and death. All shall be well one day.
And so we rejoice. Good days and bad days, we rejoice. Because our rejoicing isn’t predicated on our fluctuating circumstances but on the rock solid empty tomb of Jesus. That tomb is still empty, no matter what happened yesterday or what will happen to us today.
And so rejoice in the Lord always—even on bad days, maybe even especially on bad days. Because when we rejoice in the victory of the Lord, it re-frames our circumstances and reminds them who’s in charge.
The battle for the voices in our heads and the attitudes of our hearts is the most important battle you’re going to fight in your life. It’s constant, ongoing, and very subtle. All sorts of things will shape it: your basic personality and temperament, the amount of pain you experience, how your family of origin processed hard stuff, other key influencers like siblings or faith communities or teachers along the way.
Jesus invites us to introduce a new theme song into the battle for the voices in our heads and the attitudes of our hearts: rejoice! Always!
Spend just a beat naming some things about Jesus that make a difference today and are true today, no matter what else is going on in your life. Rejoice in those great things! See if you can come back to that rejoicing throughout your day and watch how that shifts your mindset.