Rejoice. All the time. It is the most simple yet liberating thing we can do as Christians. And, who better to learn from than Apostle Paul whom issues this advice whilst behind prison bars. You, too, can rejoice regardless of your circumstances when you understand what it truly means to have joy. This brings us to our key text coming out of Philippians 4:1,4 (KJV). The Word of the Lord reads:
1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved….4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say Rejoice.
The first thing we learn about joy from this text is that it is not self generated. It is a gift given to us by God, and we must decide whether or not we are going to accept it. Paul states, “…my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord.” God is the origin of his joy, and because this is true, no one can take his joy away. For when all else is uncertain, God remains the same.
The second thing we learn about joy is that Christians should practice it all the time. How can believers be joyous all the time when our circumstances are not always good? By taking God up on His offer of joy. I recently heard a sermon wherein the preacher said, “I once heard it said by a preacher that ‘joy’ stands for ‘Jesus over you.’ Whereas that is true, I much rather think of the ‘o’ as not standing for ‘over’ but standing for ‘zero’ — ‘nothing.’ Joy is truly had when nothing stands between you and Jesus.” Hence, when we place our hands in the outstretched hands of Jesus, we are blessed with the comfort of feeling His divine presence in our lives when times are good and when times are bad. How can one not rejoice always when in such warm fellowship with Christ? This is why Paul can do so while in prison for preaching God’s Word, and He wanted us to know that we can and should experience the same thing.
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