“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).
God’s children should make it a matter of conscience to rejoice in him at all times and in every circumstance. Rejoicing is not our choice; it is God’s command! If we treat these words as an option, we undermine God’s imperative to us.
Until God has our delight, he really does not have our heart. There are three steps that will help us maintain a stance of rejoicing in our Savior:
- Put aside every obstacle that interferes with rejoicing
- Persuade yourself that rejoicing is necessary
- Practice rejoicing forever
This definitely will not be easy and you sometimes will think it doesn’t make sense. Whether the world crumbles or stands, whether we lose or keep everything and everyone precious to us, the Lord himself remains the source of our satisfaction. “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).
God created a place in his children for joy. This place will be filled with something, either with the toys and trivia of worldly achievement and accumulation or with heavenly things of the Creator. There will always be carnal cravings that lure us away from God. “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14).
Those who have had a new, divine nature put into them by God are not satisfied with things of the world anymore. A change of heart implies a change of desire — a pure heart after God wants what he wants. “Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful” (Psalm 33:1).
A practical side of rejoicing is that it cannot be sustained if it is not continually exercised. Do not neglect this great portion of God’s salvation lest it become shriveled and crippled and too sluggish to sing out love songs to Jesus. But constant use will make it a strong fiber of your soul; willing and able to control every other emotion. Make the choice today to seek after the serene life of godliness and gratitude.