Wednesday, November 5, 2008

In Christ We Can Choose to Rejoice Always!

Philippians 4:4,6 commands us as believers in Christ, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!...Be anxious for nothing...”

“But what if my candidates all lose? (and they did!) What if the country continues to morally decline? (and it is) What if I lose my job or get laid off? (that could realistically happen in the near future) What if I am not sleeping well and not feeling well? (and at times I'm not) How can I NOT worry or be anxious? How can I NOT be more irritable and restless…even depressed? How do I rejoice then?"

But is joy/rejoicing merely a feeling—a feeling that depends on our outward circumstances? Or is joy a state of mind that in the Lord we can choose at any time to enter into—based not on our outward circumstances, but based on spiritual realities, on what the Lord Jesus Christ has bought for us at the cross?

Jesus said in John 8:31-32, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” That’s an amazing promise Jesus makes! Knowing the truth about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us, knowing His plan and His promises, will set us free from anger and anxiety and depression--and enable us to rejoice always.

John Piper has often said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” And we must CHOOSE to be most satisfied in Him, like the psalmist in Psalm 73 who chooses to desire God more than anything on earth and be satisfied in Him. And God is glorified especially when we choose that in the midst of suffering, loss, and hard times. Rejoicing in the Lord always in our duty, our calling, and our privilege. It is a choice we can make through Christ who strengthen us.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 simply says, "Rejoice always." How, Paul? For one, Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose...” (and keep reading!). There is something we can always rejoice in, that even the most difficult and trying times in our lives have a good purpose in God’s plan for us. And this is only one of many promises of God to His elect people, purchased by the blood of Christ.

So on this day after the election, REJOICE, BROTHERS!

Pastor Jeff Ryan
Calvary Bible Church
Rogers City, MI

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