We who are God’s children should be the most joyful of all people! Psalm 100 tells us to “serve the Lord with gladness.” And we are also told to rejoice always, giving thanks in all in things.
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 WEB
But is it even possible to rejoice always?
Are we supposed to just sit around with our head in the clouds, or our nose in the Bible – thinking only good and holy thoughts? What about when disappointments come? Or bad things happen? It’s hard to find joy and gratitude then, isn’t it?
So is this verse in the Bible because it would be a good thing for us to do – but God doesn’t really expect us to hold to such an unreasonably high standard?
Obviously not. God had better things to do than fill the Scripture with moot rhetoric! So how CAN we obey this command?
I think the answer lies in how we define joy. Dictionaries usually define joy as an emotion or feeling of happiness or great delight, caused some pleasure or by something good. With this rationale though, we can only experience joy when something good happens. And conversely bad happenings will rob our joy.
But the Bible defines joy as a fruit of the Spirit.
The moment we believe in Christ, his Holy Spirit indwells us and gives us his fruit – including joy. The Greek word for joy, in fact, is chara, which is closely related to charis, meaning gift or a grace.
So joy is a gift, ours through grace. One that doesn’t disappear when bad things happen, because God’s gifts are irrevocable (Romans 11:29).
True joy is linked to God and his grace. And this is what enables us to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all things.
True joy is based on who God is, and this brings us back to Psalm 100.
Known as the Psalm for giving thanks, it provides great insight on how and why we can be ever thankful and full of joy!
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.Psalm 100:1-5 KJV
9 reasons for rejoicing always, from Psalm 100:
- We know God, vs 3.
- We know who he is, vs 3.
- He is our Creator, vs 3.
- He is our shepherd, vs 3.
- We can go into his presence, vs 4.
- We know that he is eternal, vs 5.
- He is good, vs 5.
- His steadfast love endures forever, vs 5.
- He is faithful to all generations, vs 5.
Basing our joy or happiness on circumstances or happenings is a sure set up for depression or despair. Because things do not always go according to plan. Bad things do happen. Discouragement does come.
But real joy is a fruit of the Spirit. It is based on God and who he is.
So when you feel your joy slipping away, think on God and all he’s done for you. Remind yourself of who he is, and who he will always be. Remember that his love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.
And if that’s not reason enough to rejoice always, I don’t know what it is!
Have you been basing your joy on circumstances, and wondering why it always seems to slip away?
Then take Psalm 100 to heart! Choose at least one of these 9 reasons to focus on and rejoice over this week. Or better yet, focus on them all. And then let us know in the comments how it’s helped you to recover true joy!!