Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice (Philippians 4:4).
Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
They therefore departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name (Acts 5:41).
And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip; and the eunuch saw him no more, for he went on his way rejoicing (Acts 8:39).
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing stedfastly in prayer, (Romans 12:12).
As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things, (2 Corinthians 6:10).
These verses, and many others, should help us understand that God has called upon us to rejoice. Joy should be a part of every Christian’s life.
Yet how often do we find ourselves depressed, discouraged, or for whatever reason unhappy with our lives in Christ and with the church?
Let us be clear: it is very easy to get discouraged and to get cynical about ourselves and the church. We are all human beings, and we all have our flaws and problems. We all, at times, disappoint, and we all, at times, are more a source of discouragement than encouragement.
Just because we get down or discouraged, however, does not mean that we must stay that way. We are not called upon in the Scriptures to remain discouraged– we are called upon to rejoice.
Paul gives us an idea of how to do this in Philippians 4:8:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
When we focus on the good things in our lives it will make the more difficult things seem more bearable. While it may be easy to focus on the flaws that others in the church have, when we remember that Christ died for them also and that they have a share in the Book of Life, it is easier to encourage them (cf. Romans 14:15, Revelation 20:12). While it is easy to be discouraged by the sin that so easily besets us, we can remember that God is with us and will not allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to handle it, and if we persevere we will be better for it (cf. Hebrews 12:1, 1 Corinthians 10:13, James 1:2-4). No matter what, we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus has died for our sins and we have been made whole in Him, and that if we obey we are headed for eternal life (John 3:16, Romans 6:17-18).
Consider Romans 8:31-39 in this regard, and rejoice. We are commanded to rejoice, and it is not burdensome, because we of all people have so many blessings that allow us to rejoice. Christians, we must not be seen by the world as the most dreary people, but should be seen as the most happy. Rejoice!