“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4 NKJV
Have you ever met someone who sharply responds with ‘God forbid’ at the mention of any negative happening? It is usually the same set of people that would rather say, ‘Supposing my enemy falls sick’ in place of themselves while holding conversations.
We live in a world where people reject the possibility of ever facing challenges. There is an underlying fear of unfavourable circumstances and even some believers tend to lean towards the school of thought that they can live a life without tribulations. Whereas on the contrary, Christ assures us that in this world, we will face tribulations but our hope remains that He has overcome the world (John 16:33).
The world is in a fallen state, this is the reason why we are susceptible to illnesses, pain and discomfort. More so, in a bid to proclaim the message of Christ to the world, we will certainly face backlash and persecution just as the apostles and even Christ Himself faced (John 13:16). How we respond to these persecutions, is what sets us apart from the world.
The natural response to pain and suffering is despair, frustration and depression but as believers and carriers of God’s Spirit, we are conditioned to respond differently. For a believer, joy is not just a response to only favorable situations, it is our default disposition at all times, both in good and bad situations.
The use of the word, ‘always’ in our anchor text emphasizes this. We are capable of maintaining joy always because our joy is not circumstantial, it is a fruit of our newborn Spirit (Galatians 5:22). The Holy Spirit empowers us to remain joyful even in the most unfavorable conditions.
We see the Apostles who were seized by the Jewish leaders and beaten because of their refusal to stop preaching the gospel, the Bible records that they went away rejoicing that they could suffer shame for the sake of Christ, and they kept preaching the gospel from house to house daily (Acts 5:40-41). The apostles were unmoved by persecution, they didn’t lose sight of the task at hand. Just as the Bible instructs in James 1:2, they counted it all joy to suffer persecution for the sake of Christ.
Again, we see Paul and Silas singing and praising God in prison, when arrested and beaten as ordered by the magistrates in Macedonia. Despite the pains and humiliation they faced, they sang joyfully to God (Acts 16:25-34).
It appears completely illogical that people who had been beaten, imprisoned and disgraced would be found rejoicing and praising God but by the Spirit, the apostles laid an example for us so that we also, through the Spirit, can live a life of unhindered and consistent joy.
SAY THIS: My joy is not circumstantial, it is a fruit of my newborn Spirit. I rejoice always.
Bible Reading Plan: Amos 6-9