How to Safeguard Your Faith

As you look back over 2022, I bet you recall both highs and lows. Some years, the scales tip heavier on one side than the other. But life on planet earth is never without challenges. How do we safeguard ourselves from life’s inevitable punches?

Paul offers some surprising advice.

 Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” (Phil. 3:1 NIV).

I find it ironic that a letter written in prison tells us to rejoice. Have you ever felt trapped in some sort of prison? Grief, illness, financial problems, or relationship battles limited your freedom and joy. Do Paul’s words really apply in such situations?

Paul lacked bare necessities. He needed Timothy to bring him a warm cloak (2 Tim. 4:13). Despite his deprivation, he says, “Rejoice in the Lord! It is a safeguard for you.”

Why Should We Rejoice in the Lord?

Paul says rejoicing in the Lord is a safeguard or a protection for us. The only absolute we carry into 2023 is knowing the One who never changes (Heb. 13:8). To put our hope in anything less is to build on sand.

When Do We Rejoice?

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4 NIV).

Always? Even when we’re sick, weary, broke, and lonely? Even when evil seems to triumph over good? Yes, according to Paul who’d experienced all of these, even then.

In What Do We Rejoice?

When life is good, it’s easy to rejoice in our circumstances. But circumstances change. Let’s look at a biblical example.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name’” (Lk. 10:17 NIV).

Imagine being among Jesus’s followers and having God use you to bring deliverance to those who’d been tormented by demons. You wouldn’t be able to contain your joy. Jesus rejoiced with these disciples. But He also warned them.

“He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’” (Lk. 10:18-20 NIV emphasis added).

Jesus knew circumstances are a flimsy support for joy. Those same disciples would be disillusioned when Jesus was crucified. It’s not wrong to rejoice in happy times, but joy needs a more stable foundation. That’s why we rejoice in the Lord and His gift of eternal life.

It’s not wrong to rejoice in happy times, but our #joy needs a firmer, more stable foundation. #hope Click To Tweet

The Big Picture

Imagine being on death row awaiting lethal injection. You bid your loved ones goodbye and await your fate. The guard, accompanied by a cohort of officials, enters your cell. This is it. Or is it?

A man steps forward and reads from an official-looking document. The President of the United States has pardoned you. They haven’t come to escort you to your death. They’ve come to return your life!

Two months later you prepare for a job interview and scorch the blouse you planned to wear. You can’t find available parking at your interview site. Would these disappointments overshadow the wonder of your pardon—the joy of being alive and free?

Our greatest highs can’t compare with having our names written in heaven. And our lowest lows can’t erase the wonder of God’s gracious gift. Pain and loss on this earth is temporary for those who know Jesus (Rev. 21).

Rejoicing in Jesus is the perfect safeguard for every circumstance. Do you have a bothersome worry that won’t leave you alone? What would happen if we rejoiced in the Lord every time worry pestered us?

Lord Jesus, I praise You for Your great love. Thank You for being my help. You never forsake me. You provide all my needs. I delight in You and release my cares into Your hands.

Add your comments here.


Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

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  1. JD Wininger

    Best blog title I’ve read this year! It immediately prompted me to blurt out my response. “Use It” I shouted. 🙂 It seems that each year I see fewer and fewer relying on their faith or standing strong in it. Why has it waned so? I think because we use it so little in life that it atrophies and grows weak. Do we feed it with fellowship, prayer, and the study of God’s Word? Do we share it with others so they might see its incredible power to bring peace to our souls as we wait patiently (well, sometimes)? I can’t agree more my friend, safeguarding our faith requires us to rejoice in knowing that our faith in Christ has set us free from the slavery of sin! Hallelujah, we are free at last!

    • Debbie Wilson

      JD, I love your lessons. Yes, rejoicing in the Lord is only one way to use our faith. Do I sense a blog from you on this topic?

  2. Ann Musico

    “The only absolute we carry into 2023 is knowing the One who never changes (Heb. 13:8). To put our hope in anything less is to build on sand.” Debbie that speaks volumes to me and that truth is so powerful.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, it is too easy to focus on what we see instead of on our unchanging Rock.

  3. Jeanne Takenaka

    Debbie, what a solid reminder to us. Rejoicing is an action. But, we need to be aware of our focus when we rejoice. Yes, we can (and should) choose rejoicing in painful, difficult situations. And as the Bible and you point out, we rejoice because, regardless of what we walk through this side of heaven, our names are written in heaven’s books. Thanks for this reminder!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I’m afraid I need to be reminded. And when I practice rejoicing, it makes a difference. Thanks, Jeanne.

  4. Nancy E. Head

    I love your analogy between presidential pardon and God’s wonderful grace and mercy. Powerful imagery! God bless, Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Nancy. Blessings to you!

  5. Jane

    What a needed reminder. Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Jane!

  6. Joanne Viola

    Like J.D., I too, was drawn in by the title 🙂 It immediately drew me to turn to and read
    2 Timothy 1:12: “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (NASB). We need to know what we believe, strengthening our faith day by day in God’s Word. We need to be convinced that He is with us, guarding all that we entrust to Him. And in this, we will rejoice in the God of our salvation. Wonderful post and thank you for encouraging my heart!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Joanne, you and J.D. have added some wonderful points. We may need to make a series on safeguarding our faith. It is worth protecting at any cost!

  7. Anita Ojeda

    Amen! Though troubles, tragedies, and trials come our way, we know we have a Savior and Lord who knows so much more than we do. Our pain has a purpose.

    • Debbie Wilson

      What a comforting assurance. Our pain does have a purpose. Thanks, Anita!

  8. Linda Stoll

    Debbie, thanks for this. I’ve never thought about that word ‘safeguard’ used in the Bible. And yes, to write about this in prison. Fascinating, thought-provoking.

    Bless you for taking us there at the beginning of this fresh year.

  9. Karen Friday

    Such a beautiful analogy of being pardoned by the government and God who gives us spiritual freedom beyound our comprehension. A friend wrote a book years ago, “Twice Pardoned” about a man in prison was pardoned by the governor and met the Lord while in prison.

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