Rejoice Always

Lord, I indeed rejoice and praise You for all the trials and hardships You have given. I thank You for You have proven Yourself faithful and victorious in my life! Let it be so always.

 

Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. (2 Corinthians 8:2)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds (James 1:2)

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. (1 Peter 1:6)

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy (1 Peter 1:8)

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:12-13)

http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/nee/life_wins/chap09.htm

These verses show us how to live in the midst of trial. James tells us of manifold temptations, whether expected or unexpected, coming from foes or from friends, from the heathen or from the brethren, with good reason or not. All kinds of trial will come, yet none should cause us to lose our joy. Remember that when the Bible mentions joy, it often uses such descriptions as “greatly rejoice” or “exceeding joy” or “all joy” or “joy unspeakable.” For what God gives is always exceedingly great and full. The joy spoken of in 1 Peter 1.6 is “greatly rejoice”; whereas the “grief mentioned is “for a little while.” Is grief permitted? Grief seems to be unavoidable. Having eyes, tears will fall. Although tears are falling, there is still joy. Hence in 1.8 of 1 Peter, the word of God observes this: “yet believing, ye rejoice greatly with joy unspeakable and full of glory” This joy is unspeakable. How many times before the tears have dried up, the mouth has already uttered, Hallelujah! Or while the tears are still falling, the mouth has said, Thank and praise the Lord!

Many people shed tears on the one hand, yet praise and thank God on the other. Do recall the words of the hymn, “If the Path I Travel,” written by sister Margaret E. Barber:* “Let the spirit praise Thee, though the heart be riven.” While living on earth, your heart cannot help but be riven sometimes, for it has its feeling; yet your spirit is still joyful. According to the word of 1 Peter 4.12, you rejoice not only during the time of trial but you also rejoice when the trial initially “cometh upon you” In other words, you welcome trial. You thank and praise the Lord for trial is coming.

Some brothers and sisters “lock their eyebrows” when they see trial approaching. But Peter says to rejoice and thank the Lord for its coming. For whenever you are able to thank and praise Him, you are above the trial. There is nothing that enables us to rise above temptation, environment and trouble more than joy and thanks and praise. This is the note of victory which an overcomer ought to sound.

In Chefoo, one sister who had only recently crossed the threshold of victory was severely tested. Her daughter died a few hours later while her husband was far away from home. Many brothers and sisters went to comfort her. Though her eyes were flooded with tears, her face showed smiles. She testified that the loss of a child was indeed painful, yet she could not understand why she was joyful. She thanked and praised God. Those brothers and sisters who went to comfort her were comforted by her in stead. This is something no one can pretend. Victory is to be kept by such a note as this. Even in trial there is praise and thanks ascending to God.

Today we Christians on earth are to be God’s examples. Are these examples of ours beautiful? Are we different from the world? If we cry as the world cries and laugh as the world laughs, where is our victory? And where is God’s victory? We ought to let the world see that we have joy and strength. Though the world may look at us as mad, yet they cannot help admiring the Christ who causes us to appear as though mad. May God be gracious to us that we may manifest the victory of Christ in afflictions.

“Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you” (Matt. 5.11-12). When men reproach you, you may say you will be patient. When men revile you, you may say you will not speak back. Do not think that being patient and not speaking back are enough. The fact of the matter is you are already defeated. For to endure and not speak back is something the world is able to do. The Buddhists and the Confucianists can do that. You ought to be different from them. When men reproach you, you ought to be able to say in the victory of Christ, “Lord, I thank and praise You,” for you consider men’s reproach as something joyful. When men persecute you, you ought to say in the triumph of Christ, “Lord, I thank and praise You,” because you take their persecution as something to be joyous about. If yours is a genuine victory, you will rejoice and be exceedingly glad. A so-called victory that only endures what the world can endure is not genuine victory, but suppression. What the Lord does is always that which brings joy.

In the light of all that has been said, then, the issue here is whether or not the note is right. Today’s problem lies in considering silent patience as virtue par excellence. But when you are reproached by men, are you able to be exceedingly glad? Or do you merely look downward and keep quiet? Many are being persecuted. Many sisters are persecuted by their husbands. Many are being falsely and evilly spoken against. What, sisters, do you do? Do you ask the Lord to keep you from losing your temper so that you will not explode? Do you consider not exploding to be victory? You may think you have overcome, but this is not a victory which is given by the Lord. Were it His victory, you would be able to praise and thank Him greatly in the midst of man’s reproach and persecution. Let me reiterate that whenever you do not thank and praise God, you are already defeated. For the note and sound of victory is thanks and praise.

Once a brother in the Lord found himself sitting next to his great enemy in a tramcar. He asked the Lord to preserve him. Outwardly he maintained a good attitude by talking to his foe, even talking with him about the current news concerning an upcoming athletic event. But inwardly he was telling the Lord to hasten that foe’s departure from the car so that he might maintain his victory. He sighed after arriving at his destination and said it was not easy to have gained this victory. Yet was this a genuine victory in the Lord? Permit me to speak frankly that this was but a lying victory, a man-made victory, an empty triumph. Had it been God’s victory, he would not have needed to ask the Lord to keep him and give him patience; rather, he would have said to God that he thanked and praised Him for putting him in such a situation. Even if the ride were longer, it would not matter to him at all.

“Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil. 4.4a). Whenever the word of God mentions joy, it is often either couched in terms of “exceeding joy” or “full of joy” or “rejoice always.” “Always” here means persistently. Have you heard it? If you have not heard, then “again I will say, Rejoice” (4.4b). Such is the thrust of what Paul means to say: if it has not registered with you the first time I said it, then I will say again to you to rejoice! The life that God gives is a joyous one. Joy is the daily expression of a Christian’s walk. In spite of tribulation and trials, there is still joy. Its opposite is anxiety. Many are anxious about their children, money or business. But the word of the Lord declares: “In nothing be anxious” (Phil. 4.6). We think we have reason to be anxious, but the Lord counters with, “In nothing be anxious,” so that we may always rejoice.

We sin if we are not joyful even for a single day. Once at a meeting a brother spoke on the theme “In Nothing Be Anxious.” One sister present was very unhappy when she heard the message. She argued, how could anyone not be anxious! If the brothers were more anxious, she observed, the sisters might eat better food (this she said because the brothers were in charge of meals that day). The Lord, however, would not let her go till she saw that anxiety was sin indeed. Finally, she obtained the victory.

(Watchman Nee)

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