Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! (Philippians 4:4 -NIV)
As we start the Christmas season, it is important to reflect on one of the themes associated with it: Joyfulness
Some one defined Joyfulness as “the bright spirit and radiant countenance that come by being in full fellowship in the Lord.”
The Book of Philippians is sometimes called an Epistle of Joy. The theme of joy pervades the entire book. In this short letter the word “joy’ and words related to it like “rejoice” occur about 16 times. In our times, when we hear the word “joy” we think of emotions, “pleasure, happiness, ecstasy” In the Bible, joy is not only associated with dancing, blessings and prosperity, feasting or offering sacrifices, but is also associated with sufferings. For Christians joyfulness is something that we can experience regardless of our circumstances. To be joyful is a choice that we make.
In the coming weeks we will take a journey thorough the book of Philippians, allowing God to help us to understand what it means to be joyful. At the time apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians he was in prison, most likely in Rome, facing a possibility of execution for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He could have chosen to complain about his circumstances, yet he was filled with joy. Was he happy? No. Was he is pain? Yes. Did he like the circumstances he was in? No. BUT was he joyful? Yes!
As you may have noticed my title is open-ended: “Joyful Regardless…” God is calling us to a journey of joyfulness – a journey of joyful trust. It is my prayer that during this season the Holy Spirit will help us to understand what it means to live joyful lives.