David Roper tells a story about a 92-year-old Christian woman who was legally blind. In spite of her limitation, she was always neatly dressed, with her hair carefully brushed and her makeup tastefully applied. Each morning she would meet the new day with eagerness.
After her husband of 70 years died, it became necessary for her to go to a nursing home where she could receive proper care. On the day of the move, a helpful neighbor drove her there and guided her into the lobby. Her room wasn’t ready, so she waited patiently in the lobby for several hours.
When an attendant finally came for her, she smiled sweetly as she maneuvered her walker to the elevator. The staff member described her room to her, including the new curtains that had been hung on the windows.
“I love it,” she declared.
“But Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen your room yet,” the attendant replied.
“That doesn’t have anything to do with it,” she said. “Happiness is something you choose. Whether I like my room or not doesn’t depend on how it’s arranged. It’s how I arrange my mind.”
What a great attitude. And what a wonderfully scriptural approach to life. Too often we allow the problems, pressures and predicaments of life to rob us of our joy. To sap our strength. To dampen our enthusiasm. And drain our energy.
Our word of the week, “rejoice,” is found 199 times in the Bible.
To rejoice is to arrange the mind in way that focuses on the goodness of God instead of the worries of the World. That accentuates the positive instead of the negative. And chooses to see life as a beautiful blessing to enjoy instead of cumbersome burden to bear.
How do you develop the spirit of rejoicing?
(1) Begin your day rejoicing.
The Psalmist said, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:24). Appreciate each day as a gift from God. Dedicate each day to the glory of God. And celebrate each day the goodness of God. Whatever the day brings, find in it joy. Happiness. Hope. And strength to deal with whatever challenges it brings.
(2) Look for opportunities to rejoice with others.
The Bible commands us to “rejoice with those that rejoice (Rom. 12:15). Be glad for the good fortune of your friends. Celebrate the success of your co-workers, employees or business associates. Praise the accomplishments of your children. And rejoice in the achievements of your family. Don’t lower yourself to bitterness, envy and jealousy. It will drain you of your joy.
(3) Rejoice in the Guidance of God’s Word.
David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote, “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure” (Ps. 119:162). He also said, “Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart ” (Ps 119:111).
Open your Bible. Drink deeply of its wisdom. Take comfort in its counsel. Revel in its promises. Find strength in its assurances. And receive encouragement in its admonitions. Rejoicing, then, will be a natural state of mind.
(4) When persecution assails you and trials assault you, rejoice anyway.
I know. It seems impossible to rejoice when we’re enduring difficulties. Yet, in the face of persecution Jesus said, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:12).
Peter put it this way. When the “fiery trial” strikes, “rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (I Pet. 4:13). Don’t let problems make you bitter, use them to become better. In that, you can rejoice.
We rejoice in all circumstances because we have a hope that transcends this life. Because we have been justified by faith, enjoy peace with God, and live in a state of grace, we can “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2).
Indeed, as Alexander Pope said, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” Literally. For the child of God.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil 4:4)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman