“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.”—Philippians 4:4
Even though you may not be where you want to be in life, nor have everything you desire right now, nor living out your dreams yet, enjoy the journey until you get there. Life is a journey, filled with ups and downs, twists and turns. We know not that it is not a bed of roses, for we have our joys as well as our sorrows, and there are many pitfalls along the way. In other words, we’ve got problems, issues, trouble on every side. Yet, we are instructed to rejoice in the Lord, not once, not twice, but always.
Why Should We Rejoice?
Apart from being obedient to the Word, we should rejoice because it is good for us. If we make it a point to enjoy where are, what we are doing, and what we have at present, we will fare better spiritually, mentally, and physically. Proverbs 17:22 says:
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (NKJV)
The New Living Translation puts it this way:
“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” (NLT)
So, you see, there is healing power in being joyful or rejoicing; but sickness and even death can result from a broken or depressed spirit.
To be truthful, life can get depressing, and everyone goes through periods of melancholy and sadness; but we don’t have to stay there, and it does not have to consume us. When king David was depressed, he cried out to God for help and he made a choice to rejoice in God for his victory. In Psalm 43:5, he says:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.” (NKJV)
The New Living Translation puts it like this:
“Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Savior and my God!” (NLT)
And the NET Bible sums it up like this:
“Why are you depressed, O my soul? Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention.” (NET Bible)
So, praising God can save us from the dangers of depression, if we choose to praise Him and wait for our change to come.
Another benefit of rejoicing is the peace that we have when we do so.
Proverbs 14:30 in the New Living Translation puts it like this:
“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” (NLT)
The NKJV says it this way:
“A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.”
And the NET Bible says it like this:
“A tranquil spirit revives the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.”
When we rejoice in the Lord, He gives us peace, even in the midst of the storm. So, having peace of mind is worth the effort.
How Can We Rejoice?
But, how can we rejoice when we are not happy with our present situation? How can we rejoice when we hate our jobs, covet what we don’t have, or envy our neighbor? How can we “enjoy the journey” if we are heavily in debt, paying rent when we would rather own, or living from paycheck to paycheck? We can rejoice and enjoy the journey by being thankful. Give God thanks for what you have, for where you are compared to some place worse, for what He’s doing in your life, and for the bright future that lies just ahead.
When we are thankful for what God has already blessed us with, He gives us the ability to enjoy the journey, even if everything is not the way we would like it to be. Our souls will prosper with the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7), and we will be healthy. (3 John 1:2) When we are thankful for what is yet to come, we exercise our “Now-faith” in God and open the door to the storehouse of blessings. Hebrews 11: 1 says:
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (NKJV)
The NLT puts it like this:
“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”
And the NET Bible says it this way:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for; being convinced of what we do not see.”
Don’t Wait ‘til the Journey Is Over
There is a gospel song by Walter Hawkins that encourages believers thus: “Don’t wait ‘til the battle is over; shout now! You know in the end, you’re gonna win!” I say to you: Don’t wait ‘til the journey is over; rejoice now! Your success has already been promised.
Rejoicing while you are in the valley, going through life’s difficulties is the key to your victory; it is the key your breakthrough. Though it may not happen when or how you want it, it will happen if you are faithful to keep on rejoicing in the Lord. If you are mindful to thank and praise God for His goodness, before you know it, you will be where you want to be, doing what you want to be doing, and having what you want to have.
As the scripture in the English Standard Version says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”—Psalm 37:4 (ESV)
The NET Bible says it this way:
“Then you will take delight in the Lord, and He will answer your prayers.”
And the Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) puts it like this:
“Enjoy serving the Lord, and He will give you whatever you ask for.”
There is no doubt that God will come through for you. He will come through at just the right time and under the right circumstances because He knows just what you need, and His timing is best. In the meantime, keep pressing on, and enjoy the journey.