1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice at all times.”

I find it interesting in all the ways the Word of God instructs us to live. I’ve witnessed through personal experience the benefits of knowing God’s promises through obedience and by failure. The more I live by these instructions, the better my life becomes, my finances are in better order, my career is more certain, my children live in peace, my wife is fulfilled, and the Lord uses me in greater measure to glorify His name.

The promises of God are not trivial.

When I survey the commands of how to live every moment of every day I realize they are not shouts or demands by God, just quiet nudges given to those who seek Him.

Do you want to know the fullness of living in Christ? Do you want to see why God has established a pattern for how to live?

The more we embrace His ways, the more reasons we have to rejoice. All that we find contentment in and all that brings fulfillment is found along the path of righteousness.

Always Rejoicing

If you are always rejoicing, you have found eternal life!

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

When the joy of the Lord is continually on your lips, then you have come to know the way to live each day in Christ. There are those people who exude a spirit of joy, they seem to be always rejoicing in God’s goodness, they continually praise the Lord for His love and faithfulness while each moment is a new expression of victory they have found. Joyful people don’t necessarily have everything going great, what they have found is that joy is not dependent on circumstances.

It can be easy to be critical of joyful people, especially if your going through the valley of the shadow of death. There are moments in life when joy is hard to find, the loss of a loved one, plans that go awry, a prayer that seems to go unanswered—when we find ourselves in these times of darkness, we still have reason to rejoice.

Psalm 5:11 “But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.”

Knowing we have a refuge in Christ brings comfort and peace. Knowing God is still leading even in the midst of the storm brings a reassurance that He will lead us through.

Are you going through the storm today?

The way we handle ourselves in the storm often determines our outcome. The storm doesn’t change God’s plans nor can it add to or take away one second from your life, the storm only exposes our weaknesses and purifies us for the journey ahead.

James 1:2-4 “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

As God refines and purifies His people…rejoicing continues.

Performing Poorly

I have found myself in the midst of a trial and wondered why I was carrying so much bitterness. I felt justified for holding my anger against my offender because I knew I had been wronged. The longer I held onto the bitterness, the more poisonous I became, my words cut deeply, my love grew cold, and revenge was on my mind.

James 1:19-21 “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.”

When I read the Word of God and spend time with brother’s in Christ who speak the truth in love, I am reminded of my responsibility as a man of God. Living in bitterness is miserable. Acting out of anger produces heartache, it destroys relationships, and ruins our testimony before a lost and dying world.

James 1:26 “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.”

As I examine the wisdom of James, I am reminded once again of my responsibility before the Lord—I am reminded why I have lost my joy. I have let the circumstances that I can’t control become my downfall.

How can I pull out of this darkness that I’ve found myself in?

James 3:17-18 “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.  And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.”

If I want to see my joy restored, I must begin with purity!

The Restored Heart

Purity is the byproduct of faithfulness. Faithfulness comes by way of obedience and that is acquired by hearing and practicing the Word of God.

The Lord is leading His people in purity, it is only when we take our eyes off Him do we stray.

Proverbs 4:10-13 “Hear, my son, and receive my sayings,
And the years of your life will be many.
I have taught you in the way of wisdom;
I have led you in right paths.
When you walk, your steps will not be hindered,
And when you run, you will not stumble.
Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go;
Keep her, for she is your life.”

At the end of God’s path is freedom. Freedom from sin, freedom from shame, and freedom from death. In God’s presence is everlasting joy and the fullness of that joy will be known to all who complete the journey of faith.

Until that journey ends, we have been given a taste of what is to come. Even in the midst of all the pain and suffering this world entails, joy can be found in the midst of it. Whether in sickness or in health, in plenty or in want, we have this joy that supersedes anything this world can inflict.

If you’ve found yourself surrounded by trouble, if it seems the darkness is closing in—be of good cheer, your redeemer draws nigh.

Psalm 34:17-20 “The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed. The righteous person faces many troubles, but the LORD comes to the rescue each time. For the LORD protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken!”

If you’ve never trusted in the Lord, your sorrow can be turned to gladness in just a moment. In a moment of humility and repentance does the Lord receive those who call on His name.

There is always opportunity to rejoice, God’s people have been rejoicing from the moment of salvation and it will continue into eternity. If you have been counted among the throng of the righteous, let your rejoicing be known to those around you.

The world needs to see that there is hope to be found and that hope is found in Jesus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s