Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (Phil. 4:4)
Ironically, this is one of the most difficult commands in all of the Bible to obey. Its terms are rigorous. We are to be rejoicing always. And because we are commanded to rejoice always, one must conclude that our ability to obey this command cannot be dependent upon our circumstances, because our circumstances cannot and will not always be joy-inducing.
And therein lies the key to obedience. If we keep on looking to our circumstances to give us the ability to be joy-filled, we will only have momentary spurts of joyfulness—not an ever-present countenance of joy that the Apostle Paul is saying should permeate our lives every single day. So how can we effectively obey this command? Well, Paul gives us the clear answer right away. We are to rejoice in the Lord. We can certainly rejoice in our circumstances when they warrant such rejoicing. However, when we rejoice in the Lord, we will never run out of cause for rejoicing.
This is the heart of Christian Hedonism. That our ongoing, everyday attitude of joy is ultimately dependent upon our adoration of and dependence upon our great God, means that the joy-killing circumstances in our lives needn’t and shouldn’t have a lasting effect on us. And this attitude of joy is easy to spot in people. They are the kind of people who you want to be like and who you want to be around. They have a positive impact on everyone they meet and interact with.
I saw one such person yesterday as I was waiting for my car to be serviced. A young mom was there for service as well. She had a toddler with her who was active and inquisitive. It was easy to see how she delighted in him and enjoyed interacting with him—no matter who else in the room was observing her. She also interacted in an equally pleasant way with the service personnel and other people in the waiting area. She was a woman who had joy as her natural countenance, and it was infectious.
That’s what the Lord wants all of us to be like. To be filled with a joyful countenance so as to communicate to others that our joy is from the Lord and not from our circumstances. Because if we recognize Him as the supreme source of joy and delight and satisfaction in our lives, nothing will be able to shake us from having an attitude of joyfulness that will give Him the glory He deserves.
May the Lord grant all of us an attitude of rejoicing in the Lord always!
- Please pray for our students and faculty this summer as they work, do missions trips, conduct research and writing projects, and prepare themselves the coming school year. May they do it with joy in the Lord!
- Please also be in prayer for our group of faculty and staff in Cameroon, Africa right now. They are there helping Bethlehem College & Seminary alum, Dr. Dieudonné Tamfu, establish an Extension Site of our school there. Pray for success with government officials, church partners, and for good health for the travelers.
- Please pray for the Lord’s grace and mercy to abound toward us as we seek to fill up our incoming freshman class. Pray that the Lord would lead several more well qualified students to join our fall class.
- And, praise the Lord with us that we are finishing our fiscal year (end of June) having met our need for the year. God is so good!