Rejoice in the Lord Always
Song – Rejoice in the Lord Always – written and recorded by Rebecca Wills Robinson copyright 1995
Am I the only person who struggles with being joyful? It actually bothers me that I am not naturally filled with joy all the time. It is common that when things are going great we are flying high with joy. When things are not so great, I look more like I was baptized in pickle juice and I know it. Really, there are times when I need to give myself a shake.
I don’t live in Africa. My parents never died from Aids. I have three meals a day and a nice warm home to live in. I have a wonderful husband and not to mention the greatest gift ever; my Saviour Jesus. For some reason, often I get bogged down with many of life’s darts which seem to penetrate just deep enough to steal my joy.
It can be like when that first wave of warmth comes in Spring. You pull the dusty lawn chair from storage, clean it off, set it in the sun on the deck, get out that favourite book and music with a nice cold drink sitting on the table. You sit down in the chair, put on your glasses and settle into the chair, lift up your drink and go to take a sip and notice a fly in your juice. You get rid of the fly and allow your crinkled nose to go back into place and snuff off the fly. You take a sip, lick your lips and put the glass down, turn the page in your book and begin to read. Next thing you know, the mosquitoes are buzzing in your ears and taking chunks out of your flesh. Frustration begins to build and after you can’t stand the mosquitoes and black flies any longer, you huff and puff your way back into the house where you most likely have been hibernating for the long cold winter. That joy you had five minutes ago has already began to fade. If we are Christians we should have the joy of Jesus. Why don’t we always have that joy. How do we live this life we have been called to live filled with joy? I don’t get it? I don’t always have that joy?
I remember one particular day, years ago. I was feeling really depressed. Actually there have been many days like that one. I was feeling really glum. The hustle and bustle of life, appointments taking the children here and there. Now they are older and live out on their own and oh how I wish I could turn back the clock. If you are a mother, you can relate; especially if you are now in the empty nest syndrome. I need not say more. Mother’s and Father’s can get worn down and the joy can get sucked right out of you. That is how I was feeling on this day. I turned on the radio and there was a very impacting sermon, I needed to hear just at that right moment. My perspective began to change. I actually went back home feeling more joyful and I wrote this song inspired by the sermon on 100.3. It was inspired by the verse where Paul says,
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4 KJV)
It is so easy and natural to start looking for joy in the things of the world. While happiness, is an emotion; emotions come and go. They are fickle. Happiness and joy are two different things. Happiness is a state of mind. Joy is the predominant feature of an Epistle. It is so important to have joy. In that verse Paul reiterated it twice. To rejoice in The Lord; find joy in knowing you are in Him and He is in you know (always) even in the midst of the afflictions which are suffering you. Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter.
The prison he was in was not like the Canadian prison. He was in a Roman prison, yet talking about joy. Interesting. Paul has no rights or luxuries. In fact Paul’s days were numbered. He knew he was soon to be put to death. Most likely, he was not happy but he was joyful. Happiness and joy are two different ideas. One is from the world – one is from God.
Joy is a gift from God, a quality of life. It does not rely on what is happening. Joy means to leap or spin around with joy. Bliss or celebration. It is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace. You get one you get them all.
To grow a grapevine takes a lot of work, pruning. Fruit is not instantaneous. It has to endure the weather of the season. We need Holy Spirit to prune away anything that hinders the growth of the fruit. What has happened to all your joy?
“I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.” (2 Corinthians 7:16 ESV)
“Therefore we are comforted. And besides our own comfort, we rejoiced still more at the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.” (2 Corinthians 7:13 ESV)
“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.” (Philippians 4:12 ESV)
What are some Joy stealers?
1. Unsatisfied expectations – joyless routines. Not content with the way our lives have been progressing. There is a mystery; a secret to contentment. Contentment comes when you want everything you have.
2. Unresolved conflict. When an offence occupies our thoughts and then it obscures our view of God.
3. Un-confessed sin. Sin can send joy away. David ignored the Holy Spirit. Psalm 32:1-5
What are some Joy builders?
1. Recognize God as joyful. Did you know God is joyful? We can be helped greatly if we see him not as a task master, but as joyous.
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV)
2. Rehearse God’s attributes in worship.
Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah (Psalm 66:1-4 ESV)
When we sing or worship God we get more joy. When you focus on the things you love about God you can’t help but be filled with joy.
3. Reaffirm your relationships with one another. If we are not in fellowship with other believers, our joy will leak out. When you start talking to one another and building each other up in fellowship. It is the joy of Jesus (Spirit of God within us) that builds each other up. When we live in loving relationships with one another it is a beautiful thing.
4. Reignite your evangelism. If you have never had the pleasure of leading someone to The Lord, you are missing out on a beautiful thing. This is what you will experience when you lead someone to Christ.
5. Release your problems to the LORD. You can experience Christian joy in the experience of loss. You may not be happy but you can still have joy. Joy is the response of the presence of God in your life. You have that joy because he is living in you.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, (Acts 16:25 ESV) They were not worried about their circumstances, they were rejoicing.”
6. Remain close to JESUS. Be obedient to Christ. Abandon the search for joy, look for Jesus. When you have Him you have joy.
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:10, 11 ESV)
“Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.” (John 4:36 ESV)
“and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 1:6 ESV)
Holy Spirit will tell you what to say.
“And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:5-7 ESV)
“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Selah. (Psalms 32:1-5 KJV)
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;”(Hebrews 12:14, 15 ESV)
“complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.” (Philippians 2:2 ESV)
Do all these points. If you don’t have Jesus living in your life, ask Him into your life today. Joy is continuous as long as you don’t let it leak out. Praise be to our God and Father of The Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!
Inspired by: Sermon notes Pastor Bryan Vaughan
Hope For Today Fellowship