"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice." Philippians 4:4
St. Paul wrote those words even though he had a terrible affliction of some sort he called "a thorn in his flesh."
In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 he wrote: "Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Paul was beaten, stoned, persecuted, imprisoned, and suffered much abuse for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet he wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always..."
What does that word "rejoice" mean?
The Strong's Bible Dictionary defines it:
Definition: to be "cheer"ful, i.e. calmly happy or well-off; impersonally, especially as salutation (on meeting or parting), be well
Usage: be glad, God speed, greeting joy(- fully), rejoice.
Paul is saying, "Don't despair! Don't be discouraged! Instead, choose to be happy, choose to rejoice. To rejoice in spite of our discouragements, trials, and sufferings is a choice we can make.
The apostle James told us to rejoice despite our circumstances.
James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Instead of being discouraged by our challenges, we need to focus on our blessings. There is always something we can be thankful for.
It is good to keep in mind that no matter how much we are suffering, there is always someone somewhere who is suffering far more than we are, and we should pray for that person.
The prophet Jeremiah saw terrible tragedy all around him. Yet he wrote in Lamentations 3:22-23:
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."
Gratitude is a wonderful antidote for discouragement and will bring the blessing of joy into our hearts.
Starting today may it be our choice to "Rejoice in the Lord always!"
Heavenly Father, may You help us choose to rejoice always in You and to be grateful for all the ways You have blessed us and been so faithful to us throughout our lives. We love You, in Jesus' name, amen.
"Rejoice in The Lord Always"© 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. Scripture Illustration © 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved. Scripture References King James Bible, Strong's Bible Dictionary, NIV Bible Translation © 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® All Rights Reserved. Unto The Least of These © 2015 Suzanne Davis Harden All Rights Reserved.