What are your first thoughts when you read the bible and see the words “Rejoice in the Lord always” or “the joy of the Lord”. We sing this every day in church and we also use these words to encourage each other, but does it really sink in? I guess the question today is what does the joy of the Lord truly mean?
Does it mean I have joy when all my problems are over; I am healthy or financially equipped? No.
Take a look at these bible verses;
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice”.
Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Peter 1:8 “though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”.
We notice that in every verse, joy always precedes trials, circumstances, faith, and hope. In order words, the joy of the Lord is not only present when all is hunky-dory but also when you face your darkest hours. You see Satan is afraid of the joy that Jesus brings, so he attacks your mind so that you give no thought to positive things.
As Paul talks about the joy of the Lord in Philippians, he also explains that to get joy, you must continuously think about pure, honest, worthy, heavenly things. All of which is in the person of Jesus Christ (who is grace and salvation himself).
Paul wrote about joy when he was in prison which is the very opposite of what people expected. While he was in there, he had the King of kings in his mind and heart so he was not really in prison.
As I learned this, I thought to myself, if I receive a negative report, think on Jesus, if I am ill, think on Jesus, if things don’t go my way, think on Jesus and every problem becomes small.
Elevate Jesus in your heart, and your problems become small. Jesus was not joking when he said in Matthew 11:28 “come to me all you who labor and heavy laden and I will give you rest”. “Joy in the Lord means freedom from sin and access to salvation”.
I also believe joy in the Lord is the basis for worship and a real relationship with God. Zephaniah 3:17 says “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing”. God wants us to draw strength and joy from him, especially when things are not going well (Hebrews 4:16; 2 Corinthians 12:9). His love is eternal in that, no matter where you are or what you have done, there is always a chance to return to God.
Erin Greneaux says “Being in God’s presence doesn’t change the circumstances, but it does change our perspective in them”
I encourage you today, no matter what you face, to rejoice in the Lord always, and the peace of Jesus will gladden your heart and make a way for you in Jesus name amen.