Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rejoice in the Lord

Joy is one of the most attractive fruits of the Spirit. After all, everyone wants joy. Or do they? Even joy can become a burden if it is taken wrongly. If we see joy as some perfect, unbroken happy feeling it can become impossible to fully maintain and a perpetual source of guilt. And it is easy to end up discouraged or faking it. But even Jesus, the perfect Man, is called the Man of Sorrows (Isaiah 53:3), and He expressed that sorrow at appropriate times (Mark 14:32-42; Luke 19:41-44; John 11:35). Now there are Christians who seem to reflect only a brittle legalism and little in the way of joy, and this must be avoided. But we need to approach the question carefully. We can rejoice in God (Philippians 4:4; Romans 5:11; Psalms 100:1) and what He has done to save us (Luke 10:20; John 15:11; Romans 5:2). We can also rejoice in the good things God gives us (John 16:23,24; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; James 1:17). We can even, though it is difficult, rejoice in times of trouble, knowing we can trust God to bring us through (John 16:33; James 1:2-4; Psalms 30:5). But none of this should be seen as a kind of mindless happiness pill that will make us feel no pain. And real joy comes not from working it up, but from looking to God and what He has done for us. Then we can have a deep joy that persists even in the midst of sorrows. Rather than a superficial one that pretends sorrows do not exist.


  1. I love something that Rick Warren once said. Here is my spin on it when I think about joys and sadness:

    Life is really not a series of joyful mountains and sad valleys but is really more like railroad tracks in that we always have things to rejoice about and always have things that sadden us.

    That said, I have to confess to you brother that in this season of my life it has been hard to be joyful. I ask of you to simply and prayerfully mourn with me in this season.

    1. I have through those seasons before, you have my prayers.