Daily Bible Reading: Nehemiah 8:10; Psalm 16:11; Isaiah 12:3; 61:3; Ephesians 6:10; Philippians 4:4
It is important that we as believers learn to rejoice! To be spiritually healthy, we must give place to the joy of the Lord.
We might compare rejoicing in the Lord to baking a perfect cake. For example, we could mix eggs, sugar, vanilla, and baking soda, etc. together — but if we didn’t add flour to the batter, the cake that came out of the oven would be very flat! That’s how it is with our spiritual walk. If we don’t add rejoicing, we’re going to have a very flat Christian experience.
Of course, we all know that we don’t always feel like rejoicing. However, that doesn’t change the fact that we’re actually commanded to rejoice!
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
We need to focus on rejoicing and do it on purpose instead of just waiting for some kind of feeling to overtake us that makes us want to rejoice. I never realized this truth more than during my recent study of Philippians 4:4. As I was studying this verse, I discovered that Paul wrote this letter to the believers in Philippi while he was suffering in prison. Not only did Paul tell us we were to rejoice in the Lord — he said we were to rejoice in the Lord always!
If that wasn’t enough, Paul then said, “…And again I say, Rejoice.” It was as if Paul was saying, “Rejoice in the Lord always — and in case you didn’t get it the first time, I’m saying it again: Rejoice!”
Just as we’ve been given the Ten Commandments, such as, “Thou shalt not kill” and, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” God has also commanded us to rejoice! We must each make a decision whether to obey or ignore this holy command to rejoice. Subscribe to Denise’s 28-Day Journey Email Devotionals! But how can we ignore God’s command to rejoice always? Rejoicing causes a spiritual transformation to take place in our lives. When we look in the mirror each morning and tell ourselves to rejoice in the Lord, it powerfully affects our attitude. And it’s not just a demonstration of “mind over matter.” When we choose to rejoice, the spiritual force of joy is manifested, and we carry that joy with us — to our family in the kitchen, to our co-workers on the job, and to strangers in the marketplace.
When you walk into your workplace full of joy, the joy you exhibit is one of the hallmark signs that you’re a believer. Anyone can frown. Anyone can complain about the economy or worry about finances. But it takes a strong person to look at his problems — as the apostle Paul looked at his situation in prison — and make the choice to rejoice!
Darkness surrounded Paul in that prison where he wrote the book of Philippians. Paul wasn’t surrounded with creature comforts — he had really serious problems! I’m certain that the problems you face are serious too. I’m not making light of anything the enemy would bring against you to distract you or overwhelm you and try to swallow you up with hopelessness or anguish of soul. But you can be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might because the joy of the Lord really is your strength (Ephesians 6:10; Nehemiah 8:10)!
With the challenges I’ve faced living in the former Soviet Union for nearly 25 years, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to get out of bed in the morning with a gloomy look on my face. But I have learned that I “create my world” with my attitude and that all it takes is one small decision — one simple act on purpose — to create it right! So instead of allowing myself to feel discouraged, I throw my feet firmly on the floor, walk over to my mirror, stare into my own eyes, and say, “Denise, this is the day that the Lord has made. You will rejoice and be glad in it!”
As an act of my will, I began speaking from the depths of my spirit to my flesh and my soul. I didn’t start smiling the first time I exhorted myself in this way. But I stayed with it because I knew it was my choice to rejoice — and it’s your choice as well. You choose whether you will rejoice in the Lord no matter what you’re facing or how you feel.
Along with rejoicing comes the huge benefit of increased strength — spirit, soul, and body. I know you need God’s strength today and every day, just as I do, and the Bible says that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). However, it’s only as we choose to stir up joy that we actually experience His strength.
The Bible also says that God will give you the garment of praise in place of the spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). Just as you can put on a garment of praise, you may have to take off a garment of heaviness. Heaviness can be like a cloak that someone wraps around you, but it’s your choice to wear it. God has given you the ability to take off that garment of heaviness and to put on another garment called praise! When you put on your praise garment, you begin to draw from the wells of salvation and provision (Isaiah 12:3). As you praise God, He immediately comes on the scene. And in His presence you begin to find fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
How can we pray for you today? Let us know how we can stand with you in faith. God wants to answer your prayers and cause your joy to be made full and complete!
In His great love,