God’s Will V
Rejoice always - 1 Thessalonians 5:16
True joy is unnatural, really. The natural reaction to difficult situations is not joy; anger, outrage, disgust, etc… those are the natural reactions to difficult situations. Yet Paul tells us to rejoice always, not just when things are going our way, when the sun is shining, when we have food on the table and money in the bank. No, Paul said to rejoice always, that includes times when things are going tough, when the car has broken down, when there’s not enough money in the bank, when there’s no food on the table. Those are the challenging times, the times when our flesh can get the best of us. The joy that Paul is writing laughs in the face of the worst of circumstances.
The apostles were imprisoned for merely preaching the Gospel. The books of Acts says that they suffered dishonor on the count of Jesus, yet they rejoiced because of it (Acts 5:40-42). Paul was stoned (by rocks being thrown at him), imprisoned, and beaten; yet through his suffering he rejoiced for the sake of the Colossians (Colossians 1:23-24).
So, why is rejoicing so important?
1. The Bible tells us to (Philippians 4:4)
2. Rejoicing helps to change our focus from our problems. When we’re focused on our problems, we’re focused on ourselves. When we’re focused on ourselves, we lose sight of what God is doing in our lives and we also lose focus of others around us.
3. Rejoicing no matter what the circumstance shows faith in God and His ability to come through whereas turning to our problems shows a lack of faith in God to come through.
4. It confuses people and messes with their head (it’s true). There have been Christians in situations where it appears that their world has fallen apart and they are facing desperate situations, and yet they are able to rejoice in God. Then people around these Christians ask, “How are you able to have such peace even though you are going through all of this junk?” This is a ready and instant segue to share the Gospel of Jesus which empowers that ability to rejoice.
5. Lest we forget, the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Rejoicing doesn’t take away the pain or the damage during hard times or rough circumstances, but it does is bring things into perspective and puts the focus back on Jesus where it should be.