Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
You know those days when you just don’t have the joy of Jesus down in your heart? Things just haven’t been going your way and you’ve lost your usual optimism. Most of us can relate to those kind of days. However, in reality, we don’t have to go there. To rejoice is always and option. Everything doesn’t have to be going right for us to rejoice, and if you’re waiting for that to happen, don’t hold your breath.
St. Paul commands the people to rejoice! And, not only to rejoice at special times when they feel like it, but to rejoice always! But, how do we do that? Can we really rejoice even when things aren’t going the way we’d like? The answer is definitely yes, but not if we don’t understand what it takes to rejoice.
No this isn’t one of those pie in the sky, unrealistic devotions like, “smile God loves you”. It’s one of those real devotions that acknowledges we don’t always feel like rejoicing – but that doesn’t mean we can’t rejoice, if we know the secret. The secret to rejoicing is to understand that we’re not commanded to rejoice in ourselves at all times, but we we are commanded to “rejoice in the Lord always.”
Just because hard times come, we don’t have to lose our joy. The people of God, after returning to Jerusalem from bondage in Babylon, had to toil and strive to rebuild the city walls; life was difficult and dangerous for them. However, Nehemiah gathered them all together and reminded them of the plan of God in their lives as he had the Word read to them aloud in the city square. Then, he reminded them that their joy isn’t based in their circumstance. He said, “…Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Neh. 8:10)
The secret to rejoicing always is to understand that joy is not a feeling, it’s a disposition. As children of God with the resurrection power of Christ at work within us, we can determine to have attitudes of joy. No matter what happens we can choose joy. Yes we may still feel sad in our human emotions, but not a sadness that has no hope. We can know a joy-filled sadness.
So, no matter what you face, choose to rejoice in the Lord today and remember, Christ is risen…and so are you!
Grace & Peace,
Lord Jesus, help me to remember you are with me no matter what. Help me to know your joy as my strength, even when it looks like things are going wrong. Amen. Alleluia!