Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.

For emphasis, this Scripture tells us twice to rejoice. So, rejoicing must be important. When are we to rejoice? Always.

Does that mean we are to rejoice when someone dies, becomes ill, has an accident, has relationship problems, has a great financial loss, or meets with some disaster? Notice what it says.

This Scripture does not to say to rejoice in those things. It says we are to rejoice in the Lord always. No matter what we are experiencing, even in dreadful or sad things, we are to rejoice in the Lord. Why? Because He is with us through all things and He gives us His strength to endure and persevere.

Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.

Again, I remind you, we cannot rejoice in the Lord always without His grace. Grace keeps our eyes on Jesus and empowers us to “tread” over the tribulations and heartbreaks in our life. Without grace, we look at the winds and waves of the disasters that affect us. And like Peter, and we begin to sink. But faith in Jesus will give us grace to rejoice in Him and overcome the things in the world.

1 John 5:4-5 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

So, how can we rejoice in the Lord always? By faith, yes, but what prevents us from experiencing this grace? Why do we still get discouraged, anxious, and fearful? There are several reasons our faith is disabled.

John 15:9-11 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

There is no grace to be joyful, nor any grace to rejoice in the Lord when we are walking in disobedience to the Lord. Sin separates us from God’s grace.

The devil will tell us that joy is found in doing as we please. If it feels good, do it. You have a right to pursue your happiness. However, the devil is a liar and a deceiver.

Therefore, the first and most important step to experiencing this grace to rejoice in the Lord is to repent of all sin and keep His commandments. Jesus told us this so that His joy would be in us, and our joy would be full. So, don’t ignore this essential component of faith. Repent.

Secondly, after repentance, we should seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit, because joy is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-24 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

It is difficult to be filled with the Holy Spirit when we are full of ourselves. Jesus told us to deny self, pick up a cross daily, and follow Him. That includes crucifying the flesh with its passions and desires. When we are emptied of self and yielded to God, He fills us with the Holy Spirit and we have grace to rejoice in the Lord always.

Philippians 2:1-11 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Selfishness and pride are real joy killers. But, we think if we just had our way, we would be joyful. Clearly, this thinking is not rejoicing is the Lord, but attributing joy to things of the world. Those, who continue to think this way, will be greatly disappointed.

Joy in the Lord comes from having a humble spirit like Jesus. Humility considers others and serves them. Those, with a humble spirit, find that blessing others gives them the joy of the Lord.

Therefore, whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord and not as unto men. Do all things without grumbling or complaining and the joy of the Lord will be your strength.

Thirdly, to rejoice in the Lord always, we must forsake the things of this world. Gaining worldly things is a short-lived joy. We should have all learned this from items we purchased. At first, we were glad to own them, but that joy quickly faded and we began seeking something else.

Contrary to that, the joy found in Jesus surpasses everything in the world and never fades away. It is new every morning. Seek Him instead of things in the world.

Philippians 3:7-11 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Therefore, seek intimacy with Jesus instead of the world and you will have grace to rejoice in the Lord always. Jesus will become all you need and all you desire.

Fourth, to rejoice in the Lord always, we need to forget the past. It doesn’t matter whether the past is good or bad, a success or a failure. Either way, if we are focusing on the past, we are missing the grace of God now.

Philippians 3:12-14 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The enemy uses past failures and successes to discourage us or make us prideful. This spiritual battle requires that we remain repentant, forget what is behind, and press on toward what lies ahead. When we look forward to the goal, the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus, we have grace to rejoice in the Lord always. After all, what we focus on affects our joy. And so, we are instructed in:

Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Therefore, keep your mind on Jesus. He is the only One who meets all these criteria. We can defeat the devil and overcome his temptations by focusing on Jesus with praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord. Practicing these things will keep us filled with the Spirit and the joy of the Lord.

1 Thess.  5:16-18 Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

When we do this, the Spirit of the Lord is near. In His presence, there is peace and joy. In His presence, we are not afraid or anxious. This is different from the world’s suggestion “Don’t, worry, be happy.” This is different from fleshly fortitude. This is the grace of God to pray with thanksgiving and to rejoice in the Lord always, regardless of the situation. This is grace from God to face the world and all its sin with our mind on the Lord. And it is grace to walk by the Spirit instead of the desires of our flesh.

Remember, Jesus said in John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

In summary, we can rejoice in the Lord always if:

1. We repent of sin and disobedience to God’s Word.

2. We seek God’s grace daily by asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

3. We pick up our cross daily and die to self by crucifying our fleshly passions and desires.

4. We humble ourselves and serve others without grumbling and complaining.

5. We forsake the things of this world and pursue intimacy with Christ.

6. We forget past successes and failures and focus on Jesus now.

7. We pray, praise, and give thanks to the Lord in all circumstances. In His presence, there is peace and joy.

This list will only provide joy from the Lord if you belong to Him. Without Jesus, you have no source of real joy nor any grace to rejoice in the Lord.

However, you can experience His joy today if you believe Jesus is the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the cross. If you believe that, then publicly declare your faith and repent of your sin. Sin is basically being your own god, making your own rules, and doing what you want to do.

Make Jesus your God by dying to self in baptism. Then you will be born again of the Holy Spirit, who will fill you with the joy of the Lord and give you grace to rejoice in the Lord always.