Suggested Reading: Psalm 16:1-11
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly—Philippians 4:10
We are called by God to rejoice. Rejoicing is a high call because it is not a natural state of mind or heart, and certainly the world is not rejoicing—not in the Lord, or the right things, at any rate.
I have a friend who always ends her texts to me, with “Rejoice! Rejoice!” I really appreciate her special way of closing out a conversation. It is always a timely and needed reminder to me that no matter what, that is the state of mind and heart we are called by God to live in and have. She has been through a lot and I am always reminded that if she can rejoice, there is no excuse for me not to.
In the English Standard Version of the Bible the word Rejoice, without variations appears 430 times. There are 759 passages in the New Testament alone that contain the word rejoice. And if we look at the forms of rejoice, such as rejoicing, rejoiced, etc, the total number of times you might come across the word rejoice in the Bible is a whopping 3,657 times! That’s a lot of rejoicing in the Lord!
Paul writes that we are to rejoice in the Lord, in fact, he wrote an entire letter on the subject of not being anxious about life and rejoicing in the Lord in all things and at all times. One of the most memorized lines from his letter to the Philippians has become, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say rejoice.” (Php. 4:4).
When we read the Psalms we are constantly reminded to rejoice. I love the passage which says “Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy all you upright in heart!” (Ps. 32:11) David spends that entire Psalm rejoicing over the forgiveness of God for sinners. To rejoice in God because he has forgiven our sins is both comforting and liberating and should not leave our thoughts or heart for one second.
I have been amazed at the human spirit that managed to rejoice in the Lord during some terrible times in their life. I have seen those who managed to rejoice even though their children were being rebellious, their marriages tested, maybe even going through ha painful separation or divorce, their homes being foreclosed, their finances at the lowest point ever, their positions at work being phased out, their health diminishing; yet they were rejoicing in the Lord. Those who were suffering, experiencing trials, enduring hardship, in endless pain, brokenhearted, yet still managed to rejoice in God have gained my admiration.
Seeing or hearing others rejoice in their hardships is admirable because rejoicing is not easily accomplished and we have to make a conscious effort to do so. It’s far easier to be downcast, see the bad and ugly, be discouraged, look away from God, feel embittered, have an attitude of “wait-and-see” before we rejoice about something. So it’s a high spiritual achievement when rejoicing becomes automatic and our spirt, soul, and mouth does it without pause.
It’s not too far-fetched to believe, that by the end of our life we can easily exceed the number of times rejoicing is mentioned in the Bible; that 3,657 will merely be a drop in our rejoicing-in-the-Lord-bucket. We can. Especially if we start making a conscious effort to rejoice through everything; no matter what it is:
Wake up: rejoice in the Lord!
Wash our body: rejoice in the Lord!
Comb our hair, brush our teeth: rejoice in the Lord!
Have something to wear in our closet: rejoice in the Lord!
Put on shoes: rejoice in the Lord!
Eat breakfast: rejoice in the Lord!
Turn on and connect to others in this great big world, through some device and modern technology: rejoice in the Lord!
Have a family or someone who cares about us to say good morning to: rejoice in the Lord!
Have a job to go to; even if we do not particularly like the job we have: rejoice in the Lord!
Or, enjoying retirement as we have planned and dreamed: rejoice in the Lord!
Experiencing trials, difficulty, hurt, betrayal, financial hardship, persecution: rejoice in the Lord!
Survived trauma, abuses, violence, hurt, betrayal: rejoice in the Lord!
Reached the end of our day and we are still alive: rejoice in the Lord!
Of course, I have not covered anywhere near the things we could find to rejoice about in our day, week, or life. There are too many to write in this space; and maybe that is another reason to rejoice: that there are so many reasons to rejoice in the Lord we cannot possibly list or know them all from where we stand today. Let’s Pray,
Dear God, from morning to night, and even in our sleep may we rejoice in you! Your ways are good, and we rejoice that you are moved to share your goodness with us. We have no reason to complain and every reason to rejoice! May our heart be glad, and our soul rejoice in you, O God our Creator and Sustainer. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.