You Have a Right to Rejoice
I want to introduce this month’s devotional to give you a little background on it. Please bear with me as this introduction extends today’s devotional well past its usual length.
I originally wrote this devotional back in 2008. I have used it in my ministry many times since then. In my counseling over the years, I have found it helpful in some situations to give a person a copy of this devotional.
This devotional starts with a passage of scripture that is one of the most helpful promises of God (beyond the promises of forgiveness of our sins):
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4)
There are two things I felt might be helpful before you start this devotional.
First, we must recognize that there is a difference between rejoicing and happiness. If this passage of scripture told us to always be happy, that would be impossible for us to achieve.
Happiness is an emotion that we experience at a given moment of time. It is very dependent on the circumstances in which we find ourselves. As you well know, there are many circumstances that do not allow us to be “happy” at that moment.
However, always rejoicing in the Lord is possible because it is not dependent on circumstances. Our rejoicing is in the Lord, who never changes! For believers, joy is always about the fact that God gives us eternal life. No matter what we are going through God will make sure it will turn out for our good and His glory!
Second, focus on the phrase “in the Lord”.
I cannot and do not rejoice in many things about this life. We live in a world that is full of perversion and hatred. Even in the church we experience hurt and disappointment with our fellow believers. We do not need to pretend that we rejoice in these things. Jesus even told His followers not to rejoice over their spiritual work but rejoice that God has written our names in heaven! (Luke 10:20).
The title for this devotional is “You Have a Right to Rejoice”. God gives every believer this “right” to live a life of joy!
But never forget, God does not give believers a right to be “happy”. Jesus reminds us that the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous; no one is going to be happy all the time.
In the unhappy times of a believer, we can keep our joy “in the Lord” because we know that God has written our names in heaven. We also know that God has a way of making our unhappy times turn out to be good for us in the long run!
I hope you enjoy this month’s devotional, but even more important, I hope you will learn to rejoice in the Lord, always!
Thank you, Pastor Ben
Our Persistence in Rejoicing
Scripture Reading: Philippians 4:5-7
Key Verse: Philippians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Our series for this month is based on one of my favorite passages of scripture. It has helped me through some dark nights of my life. I hope it will be an encouragement to you. I’ve entitled our theme: “Our Right to Rejoice” because God has provided us a great privilege of walking in joy. But, just like our right to vote in this country, it is a choice to rejoice. Blood has been spilled to provide both these rights!
The Apostle Paul starts with a push for persistence. Rejoice, he writes, and then immediately repeats himself: “I will say it again: Rejoice.” The apostle doesn’t want anyone to give up their right to rejoice. Webster defines the word “persist”: “Continue in spite of obstacles or objections.” Are there reasons Christ followers would choose not to rejoice? Sure! Just like there are reasons Americans choose not to vote! These reasons, in both cases, are not founded on the great truths of the Bible or our country. Unfortunately we humans don’t always make our decisions based on facts!
Christ followers must go back to the Bible and claim its promises for our lives if we are going to rejoice in the Lord—always! Problems of life will wear us down and rob us of joy! We must daily remind ourselves of the reasons for our hope and the privilege of rejoicing! Yes, all Christ followers have reason to rejoice. Let’s determine to choose joy over doubt and sadness!
Father, remind me to be persistent in my joy today. Help me to fight off the demons of doubt and give my full praise to you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.