OPEN HEAVENS Devotional – Monday February 15th 2016
TOPIC: COMMANDED TO REJOICE
Memorize: For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
Read: Philippians 4:1-7,
1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Bible in one year: Luke 2:22-4:15, Job 22: 1-11
The commandment to rejoice seems to be a repeated theme in the book of Philippians. First, Philippians 2:18, then 3:1, and 4:4. Why did Paul pay so much attention to the word rejoice? On a closer look at the passages, it becomes clear that he focus of Apostle Paul is not the word “rejoice” at all, rather, Paul’s emphasis is on the term “rejoice in the Lord”. He was trying to draw a line between the common rejoicing that happens to all human beings and the art of rejoicing in the Lord. God wants us to know that joy is a matter of realm, because there are diverse types of joy and it is the realm of joy that makes the difference.
There is a rejoicing that is common to all men, it is a feeling of joy that depends on situations and circumstances around us and it is temporal and short-lived: this joy is unsubstantial and evanescent. However, there is a delight that comes with God’s presence, it is divine and powerful; the joy of the Lord. This joy is also called the ‘joy of salvation’, it is real, it is a great kind of joy, it is endless, and an everlasting joy that brings down the presence of God into the hearts of men. Apostle Peter had this to say about this kind of rejoicing in 1st Peter 1:8:
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:”
What makes rejoicing in the Lord so important that God had to repeatedly command us to rejoice? It is the very first miracle that happens to a person when he becomes born again. The joy of the Lord is immediately shed in the heart of the fellow. The unspeakable expression of the joy of salvation is therefore the most vital and undeniable proof that a person is genuinely born of God. The wisdom of God commanded it repeatedly in the Bible, and emphasised it in Philippians at least for two major reasons.
First, being born again is a spiritual walk with God, the joy of the Lord is the token of our connectedness to God, losing the joy therefore, is another token of disconnection from God. You will never be disconnected from God in Jesus’ name.
Secondly, God knows that a genuine conversion to Christianity would cause a forceful separation and disconnection from the worldly system of thought and action, which naturally
leads to rejection, persecution, and diverse temptations. Therefore, the joy of the Lord is provided as an offensive weapon of consolation, encouragement, and strength in the face of persecution. That is why Philippians 4:4 says;
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”
God commanded His people to rejoice, He was not giving a suggestion or permission, neither did He make it a matter of choice. We are compelled to rejoice in the Lord as a necessary ingredient to the Christian faith. Rejoicing is founded on and derived through the Word of God, it is needful in affliction, it brings comfort and strength to press forward in times of trouble.
Father, please fill my heart with your heavenly joy, that is all I need from You today.