BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not irksome to me, and is safe for you” (Philippians 3:1 NKJV).
Webster’s 1913 Dictionary defines the word rejoice (intransitive verb) as “To feel joy; to experience gladness in a high degree; to have pleasurable satisfaction; to be delighted.” There are many reasons why people do not rejoice, including the death of a loved one, failure, illness, disappointment, etc.
However, sometimes everything could be going on well for someone, yet the person might find it difficult to rejoice. The Bible talks about the spirit of heaviness or mourning. Jesus came to deliver humanity from this. 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 goes beyond 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 should rejoice always.
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. “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not irksome to me, and is safe for you” (Philippians 3:1 NKJV).
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 despite one’s circumstances. There are enough reasons for a child of God to rejoice. I want to share with you, in this message, these reasons. You should make rejoicing a lifestyle. No matter what happens or doesn’t, rejoice. Talking about how he and his fellow workers conducted themselves as ministers of God, Paul said they were, among other things, sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10a). You, too, can rejoice independent of your circumstances.
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 signs and wonders 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 told His disciples in Luke 10:20, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven” (NKJV).
Writing from the Roman prison, Paul said, “Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.” (Philippians 2:17-18 NKJV). 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. God is his heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9). He is not a bastard. This calls for rejoicing. Romans 5:11 says, “And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (NKJV). The New Living Translation calls this reconciliation a wonderful relationship. “So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God” (Romans 5:11).
This wonderful relationship confers rights (benefits) and responsibilities on the child of God, 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, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand” (NKJV). 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 are the LORD’s but the earth He has given to the children of men. God, Himself, has set an expiration date for the lease. Things won’t continue like this. Injustice, persecution, ungodliness, wickedness, and others are temporary. 2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (NKJV). The New Living Translation renders it thus: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!”
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). Jesus says he is coming quickly, and His reward is with Him, to give to everyone according to his work (Revelation 22:12). 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, “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (NIV).
Don’t let the enemy rob you of your joy. Sitting down lamenting solves no problem. The Apostle James writes, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (NKJV). In other words, “when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great” (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 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, “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him” (John 9:3 NLT). The New King James Version says he was born blind “that the works of God should be revealed in him.” Neither the man nor his parents sinned. God had a higher purpose to achieve.
Paul says in Philippians 1:18 that whether or not the motives of those who preached Christ were pure, the fact remained that the message about Christ was being preached, and he rejoiced about that and would continue to rejoice. Rejoice because the name of Jesus is being magnified. Rejoice!
6. 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, “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV). The New Century Version puts it this way: “Don’t be sad, because the joy of the Lord will make you strong.”
No matter what happens to you, rejoice in God your Saviour, and He shall strengthen you. Mary, in the Magnificat, said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47 NKJV). Rejoice!
7. Rejoice because God is going to turn your situation around. Your change will soon manifest. Rejoice by faith while you await 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. Even in that unpleasant condition, cooperate with the Holy Spirit to produce joy in your heart. Rejoice!
Paul, while in the Roman prison, wrote, “Yes, and I shall rejoice. For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19 NKJV). The Lord will give you victory over your enemy; your story will change (Zephaniah 3:14-15). 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 into 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 prayed and sang 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 they didn’t escape!
Paul and Silas didn’t weep in their negative condition but prayed and rejoiced in their tribulation. Rejoice!
9. Rejoice because of those who are rejoicing. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (NKJV). Join others in their rejoicing despite what you’re going through. Don’t be envious or jealous of those who are rejoicing. If people are rejoicing because of marriage, baby, employment, promotion, school admission, healing, breakthrough, etc, rejoice with them. Your turn to celebrate will soon come. Start rejoicing now!
Don’t become sad because someone is rejoicing. Sow a seed by joining the person to rejoice. Remember that whatever you sow, you’ll reap. Very soon, others will rejoice with you also.
10. Rejoice because it is good for your health. 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 merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones” (NKJV). A broken spirit will sap someone’s strength.
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. 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 amid persecution. They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Jesus (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 bless you.
Rejoice. Rejoice in God’s mercy (Psalm 31:7). Rejoice in His decrees (Psalm 119:14). Rejoice in 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 that 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 God raised Him on 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 a palm tree and grow like a 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 of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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