|Volume 23 Number 2 February 2021
“Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!” (1 Chronicles 16:10). What should cause you to be happy? What should cause you to know that there are value and purpose in life? David, the King in Israel, believed that seeking the Lord and His strength should cause us to be happy – to rejoice.
In times of trouble and times of sorrow, in the height of anxiety and the depth of despair, we need to apply our minds to something more important than ourselves. We lose heart when we look at ourselves and our plights too often and for too long. Looking outside of ourselves is the solution to this myopic approach to life, but looking outside to the wrong person or circumstance will not help us either.
The writer of Hebrews, guided by the Holy Spirit, wrote it this way, “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2). When the troubles of life weigh you down, and the despair of hopelessness brings you low, start focusing on Christ, Jehovah, and seek the Lord and His strength. Then, your heart can rejoice! “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
The church is instructed to “rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). The word translated “rejoice” means to be full of cheer. Along with all the other duties in 1 Thessalonians 5, we are instructed to be filled with joy always – not an easy task sometimes.
The first century church is our excellent example. It was joyful. Christians “took their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God…” (Acts 2:46-47). Joy is sometimes missing from the hearts of many believers today. We let worry replace joy too often. Christians need to be reminded that we have many reasons to rejoice. When the Ethiopian was baptized into Christ, “he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). Because our sins are washed away and we have hope of life eternal, we should “rejoice evermore.” God has blessed us greatly. Rejoice!
Joy comes from within our hearts when we trust in God and believe His promises. If we are not joyful, we may have allowed our faith and trust in God to decline. We may not always be happy about our circumstances, but we can rejoice in our salvation and the blessings of God. Paul and Silas were certainly not happy about being in prison, but they were praying and singing hymns to God at midnight (Acts 16:25). They realized they still had reason to rejoice!
How might we exhibit our joy? We can express our joy in worship to God from whom all blessings flow. Worship toward God is a natural outpouring of our joy and adoration. We can also make known our joy by being positive, optimistic and cheerful in our everyday lives. In every area of our lives, we need to obey the command, “rejoice always.” If we are going to be seen as lights in the world, we must reflect a Christ-like attitude as we joyfully demonstrate Christ living in us.