PASTOR'S PEN: Finding a Reason to Rejoice!
By Rev. Joe Washington
Christ Community Church
In Philippians 4:4 Paul exhorts us to, "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice."
What does it mean to rejoice? Rejoice in Greek means to be full of cheer, calmly happy or well off. A greater study of cheer indicates a state of mind where the believer: 1) salutes or greets with shouts of joy and cheer, 2) dispels gloom, sorrow, apathy or silence, 3) infuses life, spirit, animation or incites, encourages or makes others cheerful.
Paul was letting us know we need to infuse life, joy, and cheer into our spirits, whereby we will rejoice in the Lord and not in our circumstances. Paul was saying we are or we ought to be happy, gladdened and full of cheer because we have the abiding presence of God and His wonderful fellowship in our lives.
But what about when all hell and turmoil is breaking loose in my life? Paul said "REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS!" Paul knew how you and I would feel at these awkward moments of trouble and that's why he went on to say "Again I say, rejoice."
We must encourage ourselves and become full of cheer in the Lord at all times, even though we might have to cry sometimes, face disappointment and setbacks often or endure heartache and pain caused by the attacks of the devil once in a while. There is cause to rejoice in the Lord today for God the Father said in Jeremiah 29:11, “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.”
I am convinced the most detailed plans can become derailed and upset by things beyond our control. You can either accept it for what it is and move forward, or you can beat yourself for what you may deem as a lack of control in your life. I have come to realize life and that adversary of my soul, the devil, is attempting to challenge our message and belief of rejoicing always in the Lord.
Although our plans are derailed and thwarted temporarily, we must still seek to rejoice in the Lord. We ought to rejoice in the fact we have access to the Holy of Holies through the death and blood of Jesus Christ. Prior to the redemptive work of Christ out on Calvary, a veil hung in the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies and no one except the family of Aaron (Levi priests) were allowed to come near the veil, otherwise death was the result. The purpose of the veil was to keep the people out of the presence of God due to their sinful nature. They were forced by God to go through the priests to seek forgiveness and cleansing for their sins.
Calvary changed all that.
Hebrews 10:19-20 tells us, "Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh." We need to rejoice in the fact that we can boldly come into the holiest place, or the very presence of God, with help from no one. Jesus paid it all and He destroyed the veil that kept us, the people, out of his presence.
As a result of the blood sacrifice of Jesus, He became our Great High Priest and as Romans 5:1-2 states, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
In other words, we need to rejoice since we now have peace with the Father and access to God through Jesus Christ, our mediator and advocate. This is why He invites us to come in boldly to the throne of grace and the very presence of God. We can come as often as we like, we can stay as long as we like, and we can talk to Him about whatever we like. We ought to rejoice in this awesome blessing and miracle of grace we have in God.