Rejoice Through The Spirit

October 16, 2013

Friends,
When we walk in the Spirit (as we are commanded to do –Gal. 5:16), then we will “be filled with the Spirit.” (Eph. 5:18) When we are filled with the Spirit, we will do what the Spirit tells us to do –whether that be proclaiming God’s Word and Gospel, serving others with love and compassion, or rejoicing in grateful praise to God.

Preaching and serving with love is commonly emphasized in Christian circles, but joyful, grateful praise often is not. It likely is not stressed because people are not really that grateful or happy, and because praising God can be time-consuming and even strenuous. In fact, if there is a lack of faith or if there is any sin the person is trying to hold on to, it can be next to impossible to rejoice before God. Of course there is corporate praise which sin-harboring people do participate in at church as they hypocritically join the genuine praisers, but I mean individual praise lifted up to God while alone with Him in worship and through one’s heart, spirit, and mouth. Such a practice seems rare.

However, what does God’s Word command us to do? It tells us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4) We are to always rejoice in the Lord. Why not? Even amid storms, do we not have much to be happy about? We have the Lord! We have Heaven as our home! And while we wait, we have the Lord’s voice, His Word, His guidance, His comfort, His presence! What cause to rejoice!

God’s Word says, “Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” (Ja. 5:13) “But that’s just it,” someone may respond. “I’m not happy.” And they will tell us why they are angry or fearful or lonely or depressed. But what does this show? It shows that such a person is not fully trusting God, not fully submitted to God’s will. True, we may have such feelings waft through us, but we do not harbor them. True, we do, and should, mourn over our sin (Ps. 51:17 // Ja. 4:9) and “grieve over the ruin of Joseph” (Amos 6:6), but even in the midst of these laments, true Spirit-filled people cannot help but rejoice in the Lord.

And how do we rejoice when we are filled with the Spirit? We use “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19) to “sing and make music in our hearts to the Lord,” (see same verse), “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (same verse)

So “may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” (Ps. 68:3) And may we always say, “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.” (Isa. 61:10) Certainly these are mighty causes to rejoice in the Lord!

Sincerely,
with love,
Rachel

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