Just about every Christian before Hymnals were replaced by screens knows the old children’s song that proclaims, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice”. That is actually based on Philippians 4:4-6, “Rejoice in union with the Lord always! I will say it again: rejoice! 5 Let everyone see how reasonable and gentle you are. The Lord is near! 6 Don’t worry about anything; on the contrary, make your requests known to God by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.”
How beautiful the sound of rejoicing especially when we know in truth that through God nothing is impossible. But what does rejoice mean? The transitive and intransitive verb meanings are: to give joy to, and to feel joy or great delight. But to rejoice in something means to have joy. Joy is an emotion which Christians possess that is given by the Holy Spirit.
A great example of receiving Joy and the rejoicing that comes is found in Acts when Paul and Silas are accused of ruining a person’s livelihood that depended on a demon possessed fortune telling slave girl. They called out the demon from her and she was freed from the sin. Here we catch up on the situation:
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” Acts 16:22-35
What an example of joyous faith in suffering. How great is our God that freely showers us in His Love and Joy no matter how much we suffer. The jailer was ready to die from the embarrassment of dishonor yet he was saved because of the joy in his prisoner’s hearts. Their example turned him and his family to Christ. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.