Rejoice in the Lord! . . . How?
Finally, my brethren, REJOICE in the Lord!
REJOICE in the Lord Alway;
and again, I say REJOICE.
(Philippians 3:1 & 4:4)
I must confess that I have often allowed my eyes to simply slide across the words REJOICE IN THE LORD while thinking, ‘Yes, I should do that’, but without really pausing to consider what does it mean to REJOICE IN THE LORD.
Perhaps, if you are like me, you’ve heard a preacher proclaim your need to REJOICE IN THE LORD and while sitting under the sound of the gospel you experience a pleasant feeling and you may think ‘I am rejoicing’, but it only lasts for a little while . . . Monday mornings eventually come, and with them all the pressures and cares of the “real world,” and you find that pleasant feeling to be just a fading memory.
REJOICE IN THE LORD! It sounds like such a simple instruction. Yet, in my feeble attempts to apply it, it can feel like it is beyond reach. There is so much pain, sin, and sorrow in the world and in my life, how can I consistently Rejoice?
Well for starters, I need to recognize that To Rejoice is NOT an emotion.
Our Emotions are fickle, fleeting and highly reactive to the current situation around and within us. (You can ask my wife how my emotional state can dramatically change if I’ve gone too long between meals.)
The problem is we can mistakenly replace the word Rejoice with the emotional concept of feeling happy and think that God’s Word is telling me that I should feel happy all the time.
Now the world will loudly advocate for you to chase headlong after whatever you think will make you feel pleasure, as if feeling happy is the ultimate goal in life.
A common expression among parents: “I just want my children to be Happy.”
Numerous secular songs have lyrics that repeat “Be Happy” like it is a meditation mantra. Self-help books will try to sell you on the power of positive thinking, basically the grown-up equivalent of Peter Pan’s suggestion of just think of a happy thought and you can fly.
This line of thinking will very likely lead you to seeking out carnal lusts and worldly pleasures as you try to find and maintain an emotional feeling.
If you were to try, just for a day, to only feel happy, then you would quickly recognize the futility of that effort. Even with my best efforts, I cannot achieve an unchanging emotional state of happiness, and neither can you.
It is like trying to chase down and bottle the wind.
You are always left tired, out of breath, and still empty.
Gratefully, the verse doesn’t stop with just REJOICE . . . it continues REJOICE IN THE LORD.
So, what is required? A Proper Motivation for Rejoicing.
First, you must be born again by the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 lists the fruit of the spirit:
love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance . . .
Biblical “Joy” is a noun meaning a cheerfulness or a calm delight, which is produced by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
To Rejoice is the verb form of the same word - to be cheerful or calmly happy.
Neither of these words are so unstable as to be conditioned on our fickle internal emotional state. They are a response to something external and unchanging - the Reason for our Joy.
You are called to Rejoice in Someone: THE LORD.
REJOICE IN THE LORD: Your Rejoicing is based on:
One, who is Alive and Real,
One, who is Merciful and Full of Lovingkindness,
One, who is All Knowing and All Powerful,
One, who is currently Ruling and Reigning over All Creation.
To REJOICE IN THE LORD is to encourage ourselves in the Truth of who is the Lord and what Great things has he done. King David once got so low and distressed because his town had been pillaged, all his men’s families had been captured, and his own men were ready to stone him, but rather than giving up, David encouraged himself in the Lord and pressed forward.
(I Samuel 30:6)
To REJOICE IN THE LORD is to call to remembrance the precious truths of our Lord Jesus Christ, which are always worthy of praise and celebration.
Your call to REJOICE is in both the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Completed Work.
REJOICE IN THE LORD - the Second Person of the Trinity, who took on Flesh, suffered, died, and Rose Again!
REJOICE IN THE LORD - the Victorious Savior of All His People, who redeemed them from All their Sins!
REJOICE IN THE LORD - the faithful high priest, who is touched by our feelings of weakness and infirmity, and who is actively interceding on our behalf!
REJOICE IN THE LORD - the King of Kings and Lord of all Lords!
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, you have been redeemed by the precious blood of Lord Jesus and you have been adopted into the family of God, so that you can now honestly call out and address the God of the whole universe as your “Heavenly Father”.
Our Lord has prepared a place for each of us with him in heaven for all eternity.
Our Holy and Righteous God loves us with love so vast it passes beyond our mortal understanding, and it is unchanging.
These are all truths that are clearly revealed in God’s inspired Word.
Your charge - Remember it.
Is life hard and often painful in this sin cursed and fallen world? Yes, but you are not left alone, and you are not left without hope.
To REJOICE IN THE LORD is to shift your focus off your immediate circumstances to the grand scale of eternity where you see these truths of the beauty of Jesus Christ and his love, then you can remember that you have Someone Worthy of Rejoicing In . . .
at All Times, and
in All Seasons, and
in All Circumstances.
REJOICE in the Lord Alway;
and again, I say REJOICE.
Elder Jonathan Moseley
Pastor Fair Haven Primitive Baptist Church