Philippians 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
At least forty times the scriptures command God’s people to rejoice in Him. The Heavenly Father clearly wants His children to have joy and gladness, and not just now and then, but as our constant possession. Yet we know that our life here below will include suffering and pain, loss and sorrow, and we will hurt and grieve. So this commandment requires us to assess what we are looking to as the basis for joy.
If we are looking to pleasant circumstances for our joy, our rejoicing has no chance at “always”. And even if we could somehow maintain control over our situation according to our desires, we would not find enduring joy there. For there is only one source of joy–“in the Lord”! If we are to “rejoice in the Lord always”, we must ever watch over what we are believing about where real joy is to be found. We must ever tether our joy to that which is worthy of it, that which can sustain it.
Thus the psalmist David declared to the Lord, “You have put more gladness in my heart than when they have all the abundance of grain and new wine they want” (Psalm 4:7)! The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed, “Not in intellect, might or wealth, but in knowing the Lord of faithful love, sovereign governance, and unwavering righteousness, is there reason to get excited” (Jeremiah 9:23-24)! Jesus
exhorted His disciples, “Rejoice not because I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy so that nothing will harm you, but rejoice that your names are recorded as citizens of heaven” (Luke 10:19-20)! Scripture deluges us with a cascade of unfluctuating reasons to rejoice in the Lord: for His goodness and love to us, for the gift of His Word, for His defeating our enemies, for our secure salvation and sure hope in Him, for His governance over all, for His promise to bring about justice against all wrong and to reward all of our suffering for His sake (2Chronicles 6:41; Psalm 13:5; 14:7; 31:7; 48:11; 58:10; 90:14; 119:162; Matthew 5:12; 1Peter 4:13).
Yes, as Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33b). “But,” He continued, “be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world” (John 16:33c). We will grieve in this life, but “not as those who have no hope” (1Thessalonians 4:13). We will weep, but as those who know that “joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). For in Christ we stand on bedrock amidst the shifting currents of this life. Our deepest reality lies not with the ups and downs of our temporal circumstances, but with the unwavering favor of Almighty God toward us because of Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). So “rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice!”
What do you need to do to get your joy right today?