I’m a crier. I weep. I lament. It’s who I am. It’s my temperament.
Phat laughs. He giggles. He jokes. It’s who he is. It’s his temperament.
I’ve finally come to realize it’s OK. It is the uniqueness of God’s plan for us. For the world.
It takes all kinds.
In my younger years I thought this temperament a curse. I see “need” so desperately, and feel others’ hurts almost physically, it is difficult sometimes to be happy. And then to have the command, “Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say, rejoice!” interpretted as “Be happy!” . . . well, you can see the “judgment” I felt from the “happy people.”
Joy . . . the second virtue given as the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. ~Galatians 5:23
If I have the Spirit within, then I have joy. I can rejoice. I can be glad.
What causes gladness? It’s not based upon our circumstances. When Paul wrote to “rejoice always,” he was in prison, chained to a guard 24/7. My circumstances, the happenings of my life, are not the reasons for rejoicing. My deep abiding friendship with the God of the Universe makes me glad.
Here are some of the ways we can “rejoice” as believers:
~being in the Lord. Philippians 3:1; 4:4
~rejoicing in His incarnation. Luke 1:14
~in His power which is available to us. Luke 13:17
~in His presence with the Father. John 14:28
~in His presence with His disciples. John 16:22; 20:20
~in His ultimate triumph! John 8:56
~in hearing the gospel. Acts 13:48
~in your salvation. Acts 8:39
~in receiving the Lord. Luke 19:6
~in your enrollment in Heaven. Luke 10:20
~in your liberty in Christ. Acts 15:31
~in your glorious hope. Romans 12:12; Romans 5:2; Revelations 19:7
~in the prospect of reward. Matthew 5:12
~in the obedience and godly conduct of fellow believers. Romans 16:19, 2Corinthians 7:7,9; 13:9; Colossians 2:5; 1Thessalonians 3:9; 2John 1:4; 3John 1:3
~in the proclamation of Christ. Philippians 1:18
~in the gospel harvest. John 4:36
~in suffering with Christ. Acts 5:41; 1Peter 4:13
~for suffering in the cause of the gospel. 2Corinthians 13:9 (1st part); Philippians 2:17 (1st part); Colossians 1:24
~in persecutions, trials and afflictions. Matthew 5:12; Luke 6:23; 2 Corinthians 6:10
~in the manifestation of grace. Acts 11:23
~in meeting with fellow believers. 1Corinthians 16:17; Philippians 2:28
~in receiving tokens of love and fellowship. Philippians 4:10
~in the “rejoicing” of others. Romans 12:15; 2Corinthians 7:13
~in learning of the well-being of others. 2Corinthians 7:16
Many, many reasons are given for rejoicing! I can choose to have joy in suffering, trials, tribulations and persecutions. Joy is much more than happiness. Even a brokenhearted, downtrodden person can rejoice IN. THE. LORD.
The LORD is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song.
Scripture references taken from Vine’s Expository Dictionary (rejoice — chairo)