Rejoice Always

  • Oct. 11, 2018
  • #9509

We bring glory to God when we choose to rejoice in the Lord during difficult times.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. and I will say it again: Rejoice!" Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and that’s from Philippians 4:4. You know it well, and you probably thought of it – or maybe you didn’t want to think about it – when you’ve hit really hard times; times when sleep does not come easy or arthritis flares so badly, so badly Tylenol can’t reach it, times when disappointment sours your emotions or times when you’ve been falsely accused and your reputation is being dragged through the mud. Whatever the circumstance, whatever the situation, the Bible tells us to rejoice in the Lord always and I will say it again, rejoice!

Living out the joy of Jesus is so opposite, so against the grain of our human nature. When Philippians tells me to rejoice always, my natural inclination is to be glum-faced, thank you. A little bit of whining, a little of murmuring under your breath, a little bit of scowling and sighing, it’s all more to our liking, right? But Christian common sense warns me it will only make things worse. And so Philippians Chapter 4:4 provides a triple whammy: we are to rejoice in the Lord always, and then again, rejoice with an exclamation mark. Perhaps Paul felt he should underscore the command because circumstances in Philippi were so bad, he had to underscore, he had to yellow-highlight, staple, underline with an exclamation mark the command to rejoice! But Christians can be commanded to rejoice because our ground for doing so is not in circumstances, but "in the Lord." We are to rejoice in the Lord! The command may be contrary to our old nature, but remember it's not Paul's command. It is the command of Jesus. When Paul insisted we rejoice always, he was no doubt thinking of the words of Jesus Himself who said in John 16, "Take heart! I have overcome the world" and then in Luke Chapter 6, "Blessed are you when men hate you. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy for great is your reward in heaven.” Friend, we rejoice not only because Jesus told us to, but because He Himself rejoiced. And that's with an exclamation mark!

So, how can we rejoice in every circumstance? In chronic pain or cancer? In rejection or bankruptcy? The next verse provides reason enough: Philippians Chapter 4:5 says, “The Lord is near.” You can keep a bright outlook in the midst of any hardship when you know that the Lord Jesus is close at hand. After all, He is Emmanuel, not only God with Us, but God with You. He feels the sting in His chest when your arthritis tries to drag you down. He resonates; He gets it when your reputation is dragged through the mud (He experienced that, He understands). But He doesn’t just empathize; because He overcame hardship, He gives you power to overcome as well.

So today, think of a situation you've been grumbling about lately. Choose today, would you, to rejoice “in the Lord” in the midst of it all. Does it sound impossible? Well, guess what, it is. But with God, all things are possible especially when you rejoice “in the Lord.” And oh, how your rejoicing will impact your joy in Heaven. I talk about this in my newly revised book “Heaven...Your Real Home.” It’s being released this October and I'm celebrating by inviting you to visit joniradio.org to receive your gift of a packet of my heaven tracts – perfect to give to a hurting friend or tuck into a letter. So don’t forget to visit joniradio.org where you’ll also learn more details about “Heaven...Your Real Home.” And please don’t forget, a day is coming when you will see how your choice to rejoice has turned up the wattage on God’s glory.

© Joni and Friends

 

 

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