IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: REJOICE IN THE LORD DESPITE HEAVINESS THROUGH MANIFOLD TEMPTATIONS
Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“And these things write we unto you that your joy may be full.”
1 John 1:4
IT is a wonderful proof of our Savior ’s deep attachment to His people that having made their salvation sure, He is also anxious concerning their present state of mind. He wishes that His people should be not only safe, but happy–that they should not be merely saved, but that they should rejoice in His salvation! It does not delight your Master for you to bow your heads as does the bulrush, or for you to go mourning all your days. He would have you rejoice, for again and again by His Apostles does He exhort you to rejoice in Him.
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
— Philippians 4:4.
What do you do when it seems like everything is going wrong, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Now you feel trapped and your wondering how did I get here?
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
THERE is a marvellous medicinal power in joy. Most medicines are distasteful; but this, which is the best of all medicines, is sweet to the taste, and comforting to the heart.
You cannot always rejoice, because although your treasure is not of this world, yet sometimes your affliction is here. Poverty is sometimes too heavy a cross for you to sing under it. Sickness casts you on a bed upon which you have not as yet learned to rejoice. There will be losses in business, disappointment of fond hopes. The forsaking of friends, the cruelty of foes and any of these may prove the winter nights and nip the green leaves of your joys and make them fade and fall from your bough. You cannot always rejoice, but sometimes there is a necessity that you should be, “in heaviness through manifold temptations.” None of us, I suppose, are so perfectly happy as to be without some external trials and our joy will, therefore, need to be looked after lest these floods should come in and quench it. We shall need, indeed, to cry to Him who alone can keep the flame burning, to trim our lamps and supply them with fresh oil.
Sometimes there will come deep depressions of heart–you can scarcely tell why. That strong wing on which once you could mount as an eagle, will seem to flap the air in vain. That heart of yours which once flew upwards as the lark rising from amidst the dew will lie cold and heavy as a stone on the earth. You will find it hard, indeed, to rejoice. Besetting sins, too, will cripple your holy mirth so that when, like David before the Ark, you, too, would dance for very joy, internal corruptions will make it almost impossible! Beloved, it is not easy to fight evil in our own souls and to sing at the same time. Christian soldiers we know, ought to do it and march to battle with songs of triumph, nerving their spirits to deeds of desperate valor, but oh, how often the garment rolled in dust and blood compels them to stay for a while the shout of certain victory. Trials from within–from Satan’s suggestions, from the uprising of the black fountains of corruption–are not easy to bear and we have reason enough, if our joy is to remain full, to be guarded and strengthened by a power not our own, even from God Himself!
And yet, have we not learned, Beloved in Jesus Christ, how exceedingly necessary it is that our joy should be full? When that joy is full, we are more than a match for all the devils of Hell! But when it is weak and low, then we tremble and, like Peter, can be vanquished by a pert little maid! When our joy in the Lord is at its fullest, we can bear that the fig tree should not blossom, and that the herd should be cut off from the stall, and the flocks from the fields–but how heavy our trials become when that joy has fled! When we can see the Savior ’s face without a veil between, then temptation has no power over us, for all the glittering gems that sin can offer by way of pleasure are eclipsed in tender brilliance and Divine attraction by the heavenly Pearl of Joy in the dear Savior which we posses! Than we can sing with intense truthfulness–
Thus the Christian, by his holy joy out-braves temptation and is strong to endure. Why, Christian, you can do anything when the joy of the Lord is within you! Like a roe, or a young hart, you leap over mountains and make them as stepping stones across the brook! The heaviest tempest that can lower over you cannot chill or dismay your courage, for your strong wings pierce it and mount above it all into the clear blue sky of fellowship with your God! But when this joy is gone, then we grow weak, and–
“Like Samson when his hair was lost Meet the Philistines to our cost.”
Learn to be content. And find joy in all circumstances.
The apostle Paul expressed it this way.
‘Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Paul had faced more serious situations in his life than just a snowy winter. During his years of ministry he had suffered shipwreck four times. He had received 39 lashes from a whip five times. Three times he was beaten with rods. And once he was stoned. Now he was writing from a Roman prison and his life hung in the balance.
Yet in the little book of Philippians he speaks of “joy” or “rejoicing” 18 times. Paul’s joy was founded in his faith. And his rejoicing was in his relationship with Christ. As a result he experienced joy, even while imprisoned, because Christ was preached. His fellowship with these brethren brought him joy. And he could joyfully anticipate the coming of Christ. So, he would admonish these brethren, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4)
Too often as Christians, we waste time grumbling and griping about our “lot in life.”
Bible expositor, William Barclay, expressed it this way: “There is no virtue in the Christian life which is not made radiant with joy; there is no circumstance and no occasion which is not illuminated with joy. A joyless life is not a Christian life, for joy is the one constant in the recipe of Christian living.”
Remember, “the fruit of the spirit is joy” (Gal. 5:22).
Remember, too, that though with regard to things of this world you may have sore trial, in every drop of bitterness your Father puts in your cup there is a whole sea of sweetness beneath. Trials wean us from the world and surely that is a most blessed thing!
“Weary souls that wander wide From the central source of bliss, Turn to Jesus Crucified Look to His dear wounds and live!”
May He accept me! May He accept you! And then in Him our joy shall be full!
The Lord bless you evermore! Amen.
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