Thursday, September 12, 2019

"Rejoice Always?"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe… 

"Rejoice Always?"      

   Is there any circumstance, situation, or condition in which born again believers cannot rejoice?  The Apostle Paul plainly states the answer:

   "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).

   The capacity of the believer to rejoice in all things is so possible that Paul repeats the command twice.  However, if we define joy according to human understanding, we will find countless instances in life wherein rejoicing is impossible.  The world - and many believers - think of joy in emotional terms (as being synonymous with happiness).  This meaning does sometimes apply.  We can feel happiness because we are joyful.  "I will be glad and rejoice in Thee" (Psalm 9:2).  However, joy may also exist concurrently with sadness: "as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (II Corinthians 6:10).  The world knows nothing of such joy.  It's definition of joy precludes sorrow.  However, believers well-versed in Scripture and in walking with the Lord know that a joyful heart sometimes coincides with heartache and even heartbreak.  

    "Count it all joy when fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying (testing) of your faith worketh patience" (James 1:2-3).

    What then is joy?  In the verse above, James provides the answer.  He commands that we "count it all joy."  The word "count" in the original Greek means to consider with authority.  Our Heavenly Father calls us to view everything in our lives according to the truth of His Word - consider - and in context of His rule in our lives - authority.  What does the Bible declare that could cause us to "count it all joy" in both happy and sorrowful experiences?  Romans 8:28 provides the most definitive Biblical answer: 

   "For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, and who are the called according to His purpose.''  

    We may not feel happy as we remember and affirm this truth.  However, we fulfill the Biblical definition of joy as we think in terms of God and His truth, choosing to consider His Lordship of our lives.  Joy, as defined by God, journeys with both happiness and sadness in our present lives.  This references a chosen perspective more than a felt emotion, that is, rejoicing involves "the obedience of faith" (Romans 8:26).

   In any moment, if we could find the born again believer experiencing the greatest measure of the Lord's joy, it would likely be the one who is also experiencing the deepest sorrow.  "My strength is made perfect in weakness" declared the Lord to thorn-pierced Paul (II Corinthians 1:9).  That brother or sister may weep tears even in this moment, as did the Lord Jesus Christ in sorrowful Gethsemane when performing the greatest act of obedience to God in history: "Not My will, but Thine be done" (Matthew 26:38; Luke 22:42).  However, deep in the heart, the Holy Spirit moves upon the face of troubled waters to lead our brother or sister to confess, "Father, I rejoice in You, and I rejoice in Your working in my life."  Happy feelings may not accompany the affirmation.  Holy faithfulness nevertheless flows upon the current of God's grace received by faith, and expressed in faithfulness.  This is joy, the joy of Christ known on bright summits, in dark valleys, and wherever a trusting heart opens its eyes to see and to make the choice, the choice to rejoice….

"The light shineth in darkness."
(John 1:5)

Weekly Memory Verse

    "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.  Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His" (Romans 8:9).



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