Christians are commanded to rejoice, and not just occasionally or when circumstances are favorable. Christians are to rejoice always (Philippians 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 5:16).
When our Lord instructed His disciples just hours before His death, He taught them doctrine. He shared with them warnings, but above all, He offered them joy and hope (John 16:20-22).
The world’s joy is transient, and oftentimes merely tangible, happiness. It may be rooted in material goods or wealth, earthly relationships, or even sin. The “joy” of an unbeliever is dependent on his current situation and circumstances. It may be lost at any moment.
The joy of a Christian, however, transcends the inevitably changing conditions of life.
Steadfast joy distinguishes believers from the unbelieving world. No temporal, earthly circumstance should diminish the joy of one who has been saved by Christ. The command to rejoice returns our focus to our ultimate joy in Christ when the events of this life threaten to distract us from our hope.
Because our hope is not tied to this world, we can not only rejoice in times of ease and goodwill. We can also rejoice in times of trial (James 1:2) and even suffering and persecution for the sake of Christ (Matthew 5:10-12; 1 Peter 4:13).
How are these things possible?
As we have seen this weekend, we rejoice in who God is, what He has done, and what He has yet to do. As we return to the fundamentals of our faith, the Holy Spirit bestows joy and blessing on us (Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22). Our inward joy in outward trials is one way He supernaturally affirms the truth of Scripture to our hearts.
Christian, has your joy been diminished by the worries of this passing age? Take heart. In Christ, you have all you need to trust God in trying times. Remember these truths about your God and wait on him to show His faithfulness to you.
When he does, you’ll understand more fully why Scripture calls you to rejoice always.