Rejoice in the Lord Always

Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to the God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Rejoice

Rejoice… what does it mean to rejoice?

Often you will hear rejoicing equated to happiness. However I get the sense it means much more then that.

Can you rejoice and yet not be over flowing with ‘happiness’?

From my understanding, to rejoice in God is more about having a deep centered appreciation, peace and awareness of God’s sovereign power in our lives. The sovereignty of God refers to God’s absolute rule over all creation and total control over all that happens. It’s an amazing concept, and one the human mind simply can’t fully comprehend. But this is what the Bible teaches of God (1Tim 6:15, Isaiah 46:10, Psalm 115:3). So to have faith in Him is to trust in that truth. His plans are not frustrated by our plans (Proverbs 19:21). God is in control of His creation and to reflect on this truth and draw close to Him brings about the most amazing deep centered peace!

We are told in Romans 8:28 that God works in all things for the good of those who are called according to His good purpose. That coupled with the previous verses that state we should not be anxious about anything but trust in God completely for our needs with a grateful and expectant heart grants us incredible reassurance. If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:31).

For those who trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, God has promised that He IS working in all things for our good and according to His purpose. We don’t have to fret but know God is with us always. However we must never fall into the trap of having ‘happiness’ as our primary goal. God’s purpose for us is primarily to be holy, because He is holy (1Peter 1:15). Happiness will come and go, but our primary goal is to strive to honour and reflect our Lord more and more in our lives as we choose to follow Him.

It doesn’t take one long to realise that being a committed Christian is a tough life, and often doing what is right in obeying and following God doesn’t bring about a sudden offspring of happy feelings. We shouldn’t be surprised at this as more often then not, God refines us through trials. It’s through those tough times that our faith is tested (Psalm 66:8-12 119:71), and if we choose to trust in God, our faith grows as we humbly rely on Him for provision and His good plans to be worked out in our lives. The irony is then revealed as we realise that happiness is not what we are craving most in our hearts. Rather it is the joy of knowing God and serving Him.

So can we rejoice even though at times we may not be overflowing with happiness? Absolutely! That’s because our rejoicing is centered on God and not ourselves.

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4 responses to “Rejoice in the Lord Always

  1. Stu, I’ve always considered “happiness” to be a rather short-lived, superficial emotion.

    I like what Paul writes to the church at Philippi, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

    Now, the “peace of God” – that’s something more lasting.

    • I think happiness is a great thing to have, I’m sure we all desire it but Stu you’re right when the bible talks of rejoicing in the Lord it is much more than about happiness, to me it’s presence.

      A passage from Psalm that has always been a great reminder of why I can rejoice in the Lord is :
      Psalm 34:19 “A righteous man may have many troubles,
      but the LORD delivers him from them all”

      I rejoice because of His presence with and within me, regardless of what situation I find myself in, though I must confess that I need to be reminded of that by great passages of scripture and prayer.

  2. I think it was Bob Marley who wrote the lyrics and sang the following song:

    Here’s a little song i wrote,
    you might want to sing it note for note,
    don’t worry, be happy

    in every life we have some trouble,
    when you worry you make it double
    don’t worry, be happy

    It’s a simple tune with a calypso feel that I’ve often hummed along to, yet deep down I know that the underlying philosophy behind the words isn’t true; that you just can’t wish worry away. Jesus gave some advice on the subject, that trust in God is the only lasting antidote to worry.

    • So true David. Trusting in God is clearly a key part in growing in our faith with God, so we shouldn’t expect that to be easy. Quite often we don’t have the answers, but it doesn’t mean God doesn’t have them. To trust in God no matter the circumstances is the heartbeat of child-like faith on one hand, yet also a sign of a mature relationship with Him.

      We should never expect that testing of our faith will not continually be a reality in our lives, as it’s a good test of our relationship with God and where we place Him in our lives. It’s also often through the fires of trials and persecution that one’s sincerity to their commitment to God is revealed. Perseverence through faith in God is one of the key indications of one’s true regenerative birth as a Christian.

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