‘Rejoice evermore.’ — 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Things were very difficult for the Christians in Thessalonica. They went through ‘much affliction’ (1:6) and, like Paul, suffered many things at the hands of their countrymen (2:14-16). The return of Christ was to be a source of great joy and comfort to them, which is why Paul repeatedly reminded them of it. Then, at the end of this first letter, Paul said, ‘Rejoice evermore’.
This is a clear and direct command – Rejoice! This is not optional for the Christian. Those who have been saved and have experienced the marvellous grace of our loving Lord should rejoice. There are no caveats, qualifications, or conditions. We are not allowed to say, ‘I’ll rejoice if I feel like…if things are going well…if everyone treats me nicely, etc.’ We are simply commanded to rejoice.
And we are told to, ‘Rejoice evermore!’ There should be no end to our rejoicing. Forever and ever, we should rejoice in the Lord. He loved us with us an everlasting love. He established an eternal relationship with us. Because of that, our joy in the Lord should never end or ever be allowed to diminish.
The idea here is not that we seek to manufacture some artificial ‘feel-good’ attitude all the time. It is that we realise that because of who God is and what God has done for us we always and forever have a reason to rejoice. It is like the joy of a newly engages or newly married couple. Poverty, sickness, and external problems cannot dampen the joy they have because they are ‘living on love’. Obviously, their love and joy can fade, but that illustrates how we should rejoice in the love God has for us.
David understood this and expressed it in His Psalms:
- ‘Delight thyself also in the Lord; And he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.’ — Psalm 37:4
- ‘Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: Let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.’ — Psalm 40:16
So, what will we do with this day? Will we live it in joy? Will we rejoice in the Lord today regardless of our circumstances? Focus on the Lord. Remember His love. Think of the cross. And let the joy of the Lord be your strength.