In prison, Paul wrote, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4), so I believe today is a great day to rejoice and I will share five reasons why below. Before I do, let’s look at the three main sources of joy that I have experienced (of which rejoicing is one of them):
- Truth joy – “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing…” (Romans 15:13). Hope increases with the believing of truth, and it decreases when we renew our minds with lies. “All joy” accompanies this belief-infused hope. We will experience more joy when we increase our godly beliefs.
- Holy Spirit joy – “In His presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11). I have been in meetings where an outbreak of joy seemingly happens spontaneously. People became euphoric and laughed uncontrollably. This happened frequently in the 1990s and was termed “Holy Laughter.” As with many other God encounters, this Holy Spirit joy can jumpstart us into a joy breakthrough and can shift our theology, so joy is prioritized more highly in the future.
- Choosing joy – “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” Often I need to tell myself, “Steve, you are going to stir up your joy now. You are going to celebrate and ‘re-joy’ yourself. You need to defeat the discouragement you feel now.” This is a necessary part of victorious living.
It is this third source I want to go deeper into today. Here are five reasons that will inspire us to choose joy:
- It shifts the atmosphere around us – We are called to be thermostats, not thermometers. Paul and Silas in Acts 16 were “thermostatic” in a prison. They remained spiritually excited in a very difficult situation, and it caused salvation and freedom.
- It activates God’s promises – One of the main things to rejoice in is God’s promises. When we jubilate in them, we are releasing faith, causing them to manifest in our lives.
- It opens our eyes to what we have – Rejoicing and thanksgiving go hand in hand. When we are grateful, it causes us to see the blessings we already have. We understand that most of the people in the world would probably want to trade places with us.
- It helps us to focus on the eternal – The greatest thing to rejoice in is the fact that, as followers of Jesus, we have eternal life. If we can find no other joy-igniting truth, then this one is worthy of much emotional celebration.
- It is our strength – Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that the joy of the Lord is our strength. We don’t need strength at the end of the battle, but we need it in the middle of the battle – in unresolved situations, uncertainty, and other life challenges. There is no convenient time to radically rejoice, so let’s stir it up today.
ABOUT STEVE BACKLUND
Steve Backlund was a senior pastor for seventeen years before joining the team at Bethel Church in Redding, CA in 2008. Steve is a leader developer, joy activist, a revivalist teacher, and as Senior Associate Director, is a key part of the Global Legacy (a ministry of Bethel Church) leadership team. He travels extensively throughout the world encouraging churches and leaders and has authored a number of books.