Choosing to rejoice

3 May

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4, HCSB)

That’s a short, simple verse, but boy is it packed with meaning. First of all, the Greek word translated “rejoice” is chairete which has several shades of meaning as used in the New Testament.  According to the language tools I consulted, the word means “to greet, to be glad, to have joy…”  Rejoicing is something that all of us have done at many points in our lives.

We get what it means to rejoice. What we often miss is the source of our rejoicing. Did you notice that the Lord is to be our place of rejoicing?  Rejoice “in the Lord…” Our joy is to come from the Lord. He makes us glad. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t enjoy life. We should enjoy our family and friends. We should enjoy our careers and the blessings of work. We should enjoy healthy recreation and leisure. We should enjoy life, but we do that knowing that life hurts and we will often be disappointed.  However, joy goes deeper than our circumstances.  True joy comes from the Lord. That is why we are told to rejoice in Him.  Many Christians are miserable right now because they are looking in the wrong places for their joy.

In this verse, we are also told to rejoice in the Lord “always.”  In the original Greek, this word means “always.”  Rejoice in Him all the time -in good times and bad. Rejoice in the Lord when the kids are doing well and rejoice in the Lord when one of them rebels. Rejoice in the Lord when things are great in your marriage and rejoice in the Lord when things haven’t been great in your marriage in years. Rejoice in the Lord when you are young and rejoice in the Lord when you are old. Rejoice in the Lord when you love your job and rejoice in the Lord when you hate your job and pray every day for another one!  If the Lord is truly our joy, then we can look to Him in every single situation of life. Think about it.

Finally, this verse teaches us that to rejoice is our choice.  Philippians 4:4 begins a series of imperatives for believers. It is no accident that rejoicing in the Lord begins the list because that is the foundation for Christian behavior. To rejoice is a choice. We can choose to rejoice in our Lord, no matter what we are facing or how we feel. We can choose to rejoice in the Lord as we finish reading a blog post!  Again, I say rejoice!

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