Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (EHV).
Our church has just begun an 8-week Bible study in a book called “The Gospel Primer.” It’s a day-by-day guide of better implementing the Gospel of Jesus in our lives. What’s the purpose of doing all this? Simple: to better share Jesus. And why share Jesus? Simple again: so others might know Him, too. And what’s so great about that?
How much time do you have?
Condense the fifteen thousand reasons that we could give in response to that question and they all contain joy. You can’t say “I believe in Jesus” and not have some amount of joy. It isn’t likely you’d share this good news of heaven now without being at least a little happy about it. And it’s flat out impossible to live out the fruits of God’s Spirit without experiencing joy in them. You’d be lying if you did (especially since one of them actually is joy).
We believe in Jesus and it brings us joy. We experience joy in contemplating, sharing, or living our faith. We share joy with others as we think and act more in ways that reflect our faith in Christ. For this reason, Paul reminds the Philippians to always rejoice. Not just on Christmas Day. Not just when you get presents. Not when there’s a lot of food on the table or when you’ve had a great day at work or when your team wins the championship. Always. Rejoice always.
Rejoice when you are laid off. Rejoice when you bump your funny bone and you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Rejoice when you’re bullied in the schoolyard. Rejoice when your loved one is on their death bed. Rejoice at all times, in all ways, in all places. Always.
And sometimes that’s a tall order. When you lose your job, when you’re hurting, when you’re grieving, when you feel alone the last thing you want is some Pollyanna breathing sunshine at you. Sometimes we just want to bathe in the hurt so it can quickly pass. It’s natural; it’s grieving; psychologists would even say it’s a healthy way to process trauma. Yet even in those times Jesus tells us to rejoice, to count our blessings and be glad. We can rejoice because He’s with us through them, enduring our traumas with us. Imagine that: the Son of God enduring our hurt with us. He who created everything is stooping to our level, to get down with us in the dirt and get through it together.
That’s why we’re studying the gospel, talking through ways to experience Jesus’ good news in all kinds of situations so we can rejoice in all of them always in all ways. It’s news that never gets old.
For further reading: Psalm 85:6, Habakkuk 3:18, Matthew 5:12, Romans 12:12, Galatians 5:22-23, Philippians 4:5.
Lord Jesus, You are always with me. I’ll rejoice in this now and always!