There are some things that should go without saying, but often bear repeating. For example, it should be perfectly clear and self-evident that the Christian life is joyful. However, as we learn in the book of Philippians, Christians often need to be reminded that the Christian life is joyful. We need a continual reminder because it is easy to forfeit our joy and peace when the trials and troubles of this life appear. Christians must reject the idea that our joy comes from favorable circumstances and embrace the truth that our joy comes from the Lord.
The main theme of Paul’s letter to the Philippians is joy; namely, we can rejoice in the Lord. This is a message Paul repeats again and again. In Philippians 3:1, Paul emphasizes this point when he wrote, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me and it is a safeguard for you.”
The Basis of our Joy
When we discuss joy, we must be careful to distinguish it from happiness. Yes, there is some overlap in the meaning of both words, but the joy referenced in the Bible is much more than the happiness spoken of in the world.
Our joy does not come from prestige, power, or possessions.
When our culture speaks about happiness, they are referring to good feelings that are tied to pleasure. It is an emotional state that is dependent on what is happening. For example, I can be happy if the happenings (things, people, etc.) around me are good. Also, I cannot be happy if the happenings around me are not good. Our joy does not come from prestige, power, or possessions. There is nothing in this world that can give you true and lasting joy.
Our joy comes from the Lord.
Jesus frees us from this type of bondage to our circumstances by reconciling us to God. We are bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20) and to live our lives for a higher calling. We are not promised favorable happenings or our best life now, but we are promised joy inexpressible (1 Peter 1:8).
Our joy comes from the Lord. The fruit of the Spirit includes joy (Gal 5:22). We have joy because we have peace with God (Rom 5:2). Jesus Christ has saved us from our sin and has reconciled us to the Father. We can rejoice in the Lord because He gives us hope. Great is your reward in heaven (Matt 5:12). Because your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20). Because we will one day see Jesus (John 16:22). Psalm 35:9 says we rejoice in His salvation.
The Benefits of our Joy
Joy protects us from physical, mental, and spiritual threats. We must safeguard our joy because our joy acts as a safeguard for us.
Joy protects us from physical and mental threats.
Joy protects us physically and mentally. Consider laughter. According to a recent study, laughter is a potent endorphin releaser, protects your heart, fosters brain connectivity, and can have an effect similar to antidepressants. Proverbs 17:22 tells us “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.”
Joy protects us from spiritual threats.
Joy protects us spiritually. We can rejoice in the Lord because He gives us hope and protects us during suffering. The various trials we endure are meant for the testing of your faith (1 Peter 1:6-7) because suffering produces endurance (Rom 5:3), endurance produces character (5:4), character produces hope (5:4) and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom 5:5). Troubles and trials are an opportunity for rejoicing for Christians. Jesus even said of persecution: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:12).
So, this message bears repeating: Rejoice in the Lord. Refuse to give up your joy. Take your stand and fight for what God has granted to you to take hold of. No one can take your joy and peace from you. Fill in the blank and take the truth to heart: I am struggling with ________, nevertheless, I choose to rejoice in the Lord for He is my hope and my strength.