The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Choice To Rejoice"
"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4).
The believer's choice of obedience to always rejoice in God and His truth often takes place amid greatly challenging circumstances, situations, and conditions. The Apostle Paul wrote of being "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" (II Corinthians 6:10). This seems contradictory upon first consideration. How can we be both sorrowful and joyful at the same time? The answer lies in the Heavenly and earthly components of our being that presently constitute our existence and experience.
"For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other" (Galatians 5:17).
The human faculties and members of even the most godly believer feel and respond to the realities of the fallen world in which we live. The Christian life involves the overcoming of contrary inclinations and impulses rather than the elimination of them. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself experienced temptation throughout a lifetime in which He "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Regarding our current discussion, He experienced sorrow more than any other: "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief" (Isaiah 53:3). However, Scripture also declares Him as the most joyful human being who ever lived: "anointed with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows" (Hebrews 1:9). This perfectly defines Paul's meaning: "as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." Our Savior felt woe more keenly than all. Amid the challenge, however, He determined within His heart to rejoice in His Father and His Father's truth.
The same Christ now lives in believers to enable our walk of making inward determinations to rejoice, even as we feel the sorrows of this present world. Biblical joy involves something far more and far deeper than mere emotion. It rather consists of an inner choice of faith - the choice to rejoice - regardless of how we feel. We can rejoice even in times when we feel little or no gladness because the realities of our spiritual being transcend the sensibilities of our flesh. "Walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). Indeed, we presently "walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). This means we must often rejoice by faith when feelings may profoundly conflict with our affirmation of a joy based not on sight, sound, or emotion, but on the living and true God, as known by His Spirit and His truth.
No Biblical confession of faith more confirms the choice to rejoice than the prophet Habbakuk's confession amid great challenge and difficulty. We close in the holy light of his confidence and joy in God and His truth:
"Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places."
Weekly Memory Verse
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness."