“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
The apostle Paul commands us to rejoice in the Lord always. The real source of our rejoicing is to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. He must be your treasure being more valuable to you above everything else. When Christ is your treasure, then nothing else can steal your joy, and so your happiness flows from realising your position in Christ.
An interesting fact in the Bible is, the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament is 1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always,”. Whereas the shortest verse in the translated English New Testament is John 11:35 “Jesus wept.” These two short verses may seem contradictory to us, but there is a secret to being joyful even in the midst of grief.
Even though Jesus wept, there was a joy in Him because He saw beyond the present. His every thought, every action, and every intention remained fixed on God the Father. He set His eyes on the things to come, looking to the future. Hebrews 12:2 says “looking at Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
The Apostle Peter encourages us to think in like manner. 1 Peter 1:6-9 says “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
You see, the reality is that we may not be glad in every situation of our life, but in every case, there must be an underlying “joy”. The problem is when we continue our life with a lack of “joy”. Even when everything around us gives us no reason to be joyful, the source of our happiness must be in God. A joy that is indescribable and filled with the glory of God. Let us view life from a perspective of God and not in human understanding.
You will always lack joy when you see your situation through a worldly perspective. In contrast, the Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:10 says “as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.” Similarly, I urge you also to look at life with the same attitude.
As sorrowful, we are yet rejoicing and having nothing yet possessing everything. Jesus tells His disciple in John 16:22 “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” Friends, Jesus spoke these words before His death, and now He has risen, and no one can take that joy from you.
Again, no one or nothing or no situation or no hardship can take away your joy because He has risen. He is alive, and He is in you. He is victorious and is seated on high, and we are now His children, part of His family. What a great joy and hope to which we have fixed our eyes. This is the hope that is set before us. Amen!
In conclusion, the world only provides temporary joy in the things that perish, whereas Christ gives believers permanent joy through His death and resurrection. Likewise, our path to this abundant joy begins with us dying to self and start at a place of feeling sorrow for our sins.
When you start with this sorrow, then you have begun the journey of identifying the source of your grief (which is sin), and the need for a saviour (who is the source of your joy). Your focus then is Christ and Christ alone. No longer are the pleasures of this world your guide, but your undivided attention is on the hope of His wondrous, abundant glory. When you are in this situation, then this is how you can “rejoice always”. As we read in Philippians 4:4, I urge you to rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say rejoice.