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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Joy--Part 2

"Rejoice in the Lord always."

These words might appear to some as "very strange" coming from a man who was imprisoned and facing possible martyrdom; but, the truth of the matter is, these words not only best describe the very life of the Apostle Paul, but they also best describe the very essence of true Christianity!

Yet, one might ask, "How is such a thing possible for the believer?" To "rejoice always", when as believers we are confronted so often with heavy trials, fightings from within and from without, and burdened with a sense of our own sins and infirmities, not to mention our own shortcomings and failures? The Apostle Paul gives us the answer to all those questions, and more.

"Rejoice in the Lord always."

You see, our rejoicing is not to be found in anything of ourselves, nor in the circumstances we might be facing, be they pleasant or discomforting. This rejoicing, of which the Apostle speaks, is a rejoicing found "outside of ourselves", not to be dictated by our circumstances, nor governed by our situations. It's not dependent upon any merit of our own, nor can it be quenched by our most fiery trials. It's far above Satan's devices and more powerful than all principalities and powers.

For this "rejoicing" is "in the Lord." There, where no power in heaven or on earth can destroy or weaken its influence. Being "in the Lord," it possesses a sovereign and effectual power on all those who are themselves "in Him." "Ye are complete in Him." (Col. 2:10)

If then the believer is "complete in Him", then surely such "rejoicing in the Lord, and that always" is a portion of his inheritance. A vital and essential part of true Christianity, and an undeniable evidence of our truly being "in Christ."

The first thing which "in the Lord" implies is that the source, or origin, of this rejoicing is not found in any outward circumstances, situations or conditions in which we might find ourselves, but solely "in the Lord." That is, being in the Lord, this "rejoicing" is far beyond those powers and influences of trying and difficult circumstances and situations which might otherwise threaten such rejoicing. For the source of this "rejoicing" is found in Him "who is head of all principalities and powers, and who is gone into heaven and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject to Him". (1 Pet.3:22)

"All things are subject to Him", meaning that nothing nor anybody, be they men, angels or demons can withstand or dictate to Him what He does and how He does it. They all being "subject to Him." And while this "rejoicing is in Him", the originator, author and sustainer of such rejoicing, it is secure against all and every situation and circumstance of life which might appear to threaten or thwart its powerful influence.

Pastor Audey Shepard

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