Some find the following statement by the apostle Paul hard to practice: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). The truth is that it is certainly possible to rejoice continually because the Lord never changes (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17). His love, His care, His power, are the same in times of trouble as in times of peace. Christ’s ability to give comfort to the heart does not depend on outer circumstances; so the heart that is focused on Him can always rejoice.
The children of God are called to be His representatives, showing forth His goodness and mercy. Jesus said, “As Thou hast sent Me into the world even so have I also sent them into the world … that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me” (John 17:18, 23). Christians who gather up gloom and sadness give the impression that God is not pleased to have His children happy, and in this they bear false witness against Him.
Therefore, when Satan tempts you, say not a word of doubt or darkness but carry everything to God in prayer and then rejoice (Psalm 56:3,4). Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare. We should not allow the perplexities and worries of everyday life to trouble our hearts (Proverbs 3:5,6).
When we doubt God’s love and distrust His promises, we dishonor Him especially after His infinite sacrifice at the cross (John 3:16; 15:13). Instead, we should thank Him for the bright hope He has given us: The Son of God leaving His Father’s throne, clothing His divinity with humanity, that He might save us from the power of Satan (Philippians 2:6-8). The apostle writes, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
Christ Our Example
Though Christ’s life was self-denying and shadowed with pain and suffering (Isaiah 53:4-6), His spirit was not crushed. In fact, just before His trial and crucifixion, Jesus sang songs of praise unto the Lord (Mark 14:26). His character was one of peace. His heart was a wellspring of life, and wherever He went He carried comfort, joy and gladness.
Jesus assured His disciples, “In the world,” He said, “ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 17:15; 16:33). And in His Sermon on the Mount, He taught His disciples precious lessons in regard to the necessity of trusting in God. He pointed to the birds of the air having no thoughts of care, for “they sow not, neither do they reap.” And yet the great Father provides for their needs. The Savior asked, “Are ye not much better than they?” (Matthew 6:26).
And He assured His followers, “My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 14:27; 15:11).
The happiness that is gained from selfish motives is passing but there is joy and satisfaction in the service of God. Christians may have the joy of communion with Christ; they may have the light of His love, the continual comfort of His presence here, the joy of ministering to God’s children, and the hope of eternal life (John 10:28).
Therefore, let us not cast away our confidence, but have firm assurance in Him who loved us unto death. And let’s not be discouraged by the sorrows that come our way but look forward to the joys that God has prepared us. We can certainly rejoice now for the future glories that await us for “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
In His service,