BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you” (Philippians 3:1 NIV).
In its simplest definition, to rejoice means to be glad, express joy, be cheerful or celebrate. It means to be full of joy or to be joyful. There are many reasons people give for lack of joy, namely death, failure, illness, disappointment, etc. However, sometimes everything could be going on well for someone, yet he might find it difficult to rejoice. That’s the devil! The Bible talks about the spirit of heaviness or mourning. Jesus came to deliver humanity from such. The spirit of the LORD was upon him to, among other things, “console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isaiah 61:3 NKJV).
Joy has nothing to do with what happens to you. It is part of what the Holy Spirit produces in the life of a believer – the fruit of the Spirit. Joy is listed as part of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. A child of God must not become a captive of his circumstance; he must rejoice always. This is the right thing to do.
Prison custody is the last place one would expect someone to rejoice or encourage others to do the same. However, Paul was in the Roman prison, and he didn’t allow his condition to rob him of joy. He rejoiced in his tribulation and urged believers to cultivate the same attitude. In Philippians 4:4, Paul urges the church, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (NKJV). The New Living Translation puts it thus: “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice!” To rejoice in the Lord is to be full of joy in the Lord in spite of one’s circumstances.
There’re enough reasons for a child of God to rejoice; there are no valid reasons not to. My mission in this message is to show you the reasons for you to rejoice. It’s in your interest to rejoice and make it a lifestyle. No matter what happens or doesn’t, rejoice. Paul said, “Our hearts ache, but we always have joy” (2 Corinthians 6:10a NLT). Let your rejoicing be independent of your circumstances. Negative circumstances are temporary; don’t prolong them or make them permanent by your wrong attitude!
Reasons a child of God should rejoice
1.Rejoice because your name is written in the book of life. Salvation is the greatest miracle anyone can receive. It’s greater than any sign and wonder that God can perform through anyone or anyone can experience.
Because of salvation, when a child of God dies, he doesn’t go to hellfire – his name is written in the book of life. Jesus said in Luke 10:20, “But don’t rejoice just because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered as citizens of heaven” (NLT).
Paul wrote, from prison, “But even if my life is to be poured out like a drink offering to complete the sacrifice of your faithful service (that is, if I am to die for you), I will rejoice, and I want to share my joy with all of you. And you should be happy about this and rejoice with me” (Philippians 2:17-18 NLT). Do you value eternity with God above all the earthly things human beings are chasing at the expense of eternity? Appreciate your salvation and rejoice in it. Rejoice!
2. Rejoice because you have a wonderful relationship with God. This is related to the first reason. Every child of God is saved and has a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He’s not a stranger. God is his heavenly Father (Matt 6:9). He’s not a bastard. This calls for rejoicing. Romans 5:11says, “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God — all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done for us in making us friends of God” (NLT).
This wonderful relationship confers on the child of God rights (benefits) and responsibilities, all because of Jesus Christ. He can draw near with boldness to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). Rejoice!
3. Rejoice because Jesus is coming soon. Philippians 4:4-5 says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again — rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon” (NLT). Are you prepared for the LORD’s coming? Are you ready for the rapture?
Our present afflictions, the imperfections of the earthly system, will soon be over and give way to eternity with God. God has leased the earth to man to govern (Genesis 1:28). Psalm 115:16 says, “The heavens belong to the LORD, but he has given the earth to all humanity” (NLT). God, Himself, has set an expiration date for the lease. Things won’t continue like this. Injustice, persecution, ungodliness, wickedness, and so forth are temporary. 2 Corinthians 4:17a says, “Our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long” (NLT).
Child of God, don’t be discouraged. Don’t be weary in well-doing – there is a reward for you if you faint not (Galatians 6:9). Rev 22:12 says, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work” (NKJV). Be faithful to the end. Rejoice!
4. Rejoice because troubles and trials are working for your good. Your troubles are part of the process of building your character and the outcome will be in your favour. Romans 5:3-4 says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation” (NLT).
Don’t let the enemy rob you of your joy. Sitting down lamenting solves no problem. Apostle James writes, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy” (James 1:2 NLT). Trials are not things of joy, but decide to rejoice in the LORD, not for the trouble. Count it all joy. Psalm 5:11 says, “But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You; Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them; Let those also who love Your name be joyful in You” (NKJV). God is defending you. Rejoice!
5. Rejoice because the joy of the Lord is your strength. When you rejoice in your relationship with the LORD, his strength comes upon you. Nehemiah says, “Don’t be dejected and sad, the joy of the LORD is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8:10 NLT).
If the joy of the LORD is your strength, it means if you lose that joy, you lack strength. What can you do without divine strength? No matter what happens to you, rejoice in God your Saviour, and he shall strengthen you. Mary, in the Magnificat, says “Oh, how I praise the Lord. How I rejoice in God my Savior!” (Luke 1:46-47 NLT) Rejoice!
6. Rejoice because the name of Jesus is being magnified. If you’re Kingdom-minded, you should rejoice whenever the name of the LORD is magnified. But if you’re self-centred, you’ll only be concerned about yourself. The truth is that God is not committed to your comfort; He is committed to His will!
Sometimes, God may allow you to go through some negative situations in order to achieve a higher purpose. Regarding Lazarus’ sickness, Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4 NKJV).
Concerning the man born blind, Jesus said, “He was born blind so the power of God could be seen in him” (John 9:3 NLT). Neither the man nor his parents sinned. God had a higher purpose to achieve.
Paul says in Philippians 1:18, “But whether or not their motives are pure, the fact remains that the message about Christ is being preached, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice” (NLT). What mattered to him was the preaching of Christ, not the preachers’ motive. Rejoice because the name of Jesus is being magnified. Rejoice!
7. Rejoice because God is going to turn your situation around. Your change will soon manifest. Rejoice by faith while you wait for your turnaround. “For it is written: ‘Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband’” (Galatians 4:27 NKJV). This is a reference to Isaiah 54:1.
The barren should rejoice because God will make her fruitful. “He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children” (Psalm 113:9 NKJV). God can make the barren bear seven children! (1 Samuel 2:5) He can do much more than that.
Don’t allow what happens to you to determine your attitude. Even in that unpleasant condition, rejoice. It’s a matter of attitude. Cooperate with the Holy Spirit to produce joy in your heart.
Paul, while in Roman prison, wrote, “For I know that as you pray for me and as the Spirit of Jesus Christ helps me, this will all turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19 NLT).
The LORD will give you victory over your enemy; your story will change (Zephaniah 3:14-15 NLT). Let your rejoicing provoke your turnaround. Rejoice in all situations.
Your present negative experience isn’t the last chapter of your life. Don’t wait for your turnaround to manifest before you rejoice; start rejoicing in advance. God will do a new thing in your life (Isaiah 43:19). Despite crop failure and the death of animals, Prophet Habakkuk said, “I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:18 NKJV). Rejoice!
8. Rejoice because it opens the door for God’s visitation. Rejoicing provokes the supernatural. This happens when you turn your troubles to an opportunity to rejoice. God visits you before long and gives you a miracle when He sees that you’re not denying the faith but you’re rejoicing and praying for His intervention.
Paul and Silas were in prison for the sake of the Gospel. At midnight, they were praying and singing praises to God. Other prisoners heard them, obviously wondering what was wrong with them. Suddenly, a great earthquake rocked the foundations of the prison, forced all the doors open, and loosed everyone’s bands (Acts 16:25-26). They were free, but didn’t escape!
Paul and Silas didn’t weep in their negative condition. They prayed and rejoiced in their tribulation. Rejoice!
9. Rejoice because of those who are rejoicing. Join others in their rejoicing notwithstanding what you’re going through. Don’t be envious or jealous because they’re rejoicing. They could be rejoicing because of promotion, deliverance, breakthrough, etc. These are good reasons to rejoice, though not the only time to rejoice. However, if people are rejoicing because of any of these reasons, rejoice with them; don’t be envious. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15 NKJV). Your turn to celebrate your marriage, baby, employment, promotion, school admission, healing, breakthrough, etc. will soon come. Start rejoicing now!
Remember that whatever you sow, you’ll reap. Don’t become sad because someone is rejoicing. Sow a seed by joining him or her to rejoice. Very soon, others will rejoice with you also. Rejoice!
10. Rejoice because it is good for your health. Don’t forget rejoicing is a positive attitude. When you rejoice by singing praises to God, dancing in appreciation of God or even shouting, leaping, or laughing to thank Him, you break the yoke of sadness or depression which is a negative reaction inimical to your health. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength” (NLT).
Rejoicing has a healing effect. It helps to boost your immune system. There is a relationship between emotions and physical health. Rejoicing makes your heart healthier. Rejoicing helps you to cope with stress and all the negative events so prevalent in our society today which also affect Christians, directly or indirectly. Research on happiness has shown all this.
A sad look makes you look ugly! Sadness drains you of your spiritual and physical strength. The first-century Christians rejoiced in the midst of persecutions (Acts 5:40-41). Rejoice!
Conclusion: Psalm 33:1 says, “Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful” (NKJV). Don’t downplay rejoicing in your life. It affects your spiritual, physical, and emotional health.
Have you noticed that people tend to easily connect with those who’re cheerful? A sad attitude will keep people away from you, even those who should be a blessing to you.
Rejoice, come what may. Rejoice in God’s mercy (Psalm 31:7). Rejoice in His decrees (Psalm 119:14). Rejoice at His Word (Psalm 119:162). Rejoice always!
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947