(The following is post 3 of 5 on Five Personal Benefits of God's Word)
According to Philippians 4:4, rejoicing is a command from the Lord! Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul exclaimed, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I will say rejoice!” And if saying ‘rejoice’ twice in this passage wasn’t enough... in case we didn’t get it, Paul says it again in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “rejoice always”. Rejoicing isn’t a suggestion here, but rather an imperative.
But sometimes rejoicing is not the option we really want to choose. However, God is telling us to do it, so it must be the BEST option regardless of our circumstances or how we feel. Whether we are high on the mountaintop or down deep in the valley, the Lord has given us the BEST tool in His toolbox to help us rejoice: His Word!!! Psalm 19:8 gives us great encouragement when it says, “the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart”. Similarly, in Psalm 119:111, it is God’s testimonies “that are the joy of my heart!”
What is it about God’s Word that would cause our hearts to rejoice? That's a great question to ask! When we are immersing ourselves into our Bible reading disciplines by studying, memorizing and meditating, then that means we are literally in God’s presence. We are experiencing deep fellowship with our Creator as we let the scriptures sink deep down into our souls. In God’s presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11)!
The Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8 had a providential divine meeting with Philip that resulted in the eunuch’s salvation! After he was baptized and Philip was snatched away, he went away rejoicing! What led to his rejoicing? He had just had a life-changing encounter with God’s Word! He was reading a passage from Isaiah in his chariot and the scripture changed his life.
“Christian joy is not the temporal kind, which comes and goes with one’s circumstances; rather, it is predicated altogether on one’s relationship with the Lord, and is thus an abiding, deeply spiritual quality of life”. ~ Gordon D. Fee, Paul’s Letter to the Philippians.
Every time we open the Bible, it should be a life-altering experience. The Word of God has the ability to do amazing things in our lives. God’s Word will accomplish every purpose for which He intended it (see Isaiah 55:10-11). If we’re teachable, like the Ethiopian eunuch, then we can also go away rejoicing!
What circumstances in your life steal your joy? Is there a reason you would let something steal your joy, when joy is from the Lord?
If joy is elusive in your life, do you think spending more time in God’s Word will help you with that? What steps can you take in your pursuit of ‘rejoicing always’?
Write a brief prayer, expressing to the Lord the joy of your salvation!
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. - Psalm 19:8a