I Thessalonians 5:16-19 Rejoice evermore.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Rejoice evermore means to start rejoicing and continue to rejoice. Obviously that is what it means because it is that type of thing here where it says, Pray without ceasing. Pray and keep praying. In every thing give thanks – always have that thankfulness. Everything is a continuation, so rejoice, rejoice evermore. Now go to Philippians.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
It says the same thing here only it uses a few more words. Paul is saying we should rejoice.
Philippians 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
The Lord is at hand. He is close to you so rejoice. Thessalonians says to rejoice evermore. Here it says rejoice in the Lord. So Paul in Thessalonians tells you what to do: Rejoice and keep on rejoicing. It is to be forevermore. But here in Philippians 4:4, he tells you how that rejoicing is to be done – in the Lord always.
The reason this came to me is because for the last two or three days I have felt a rejoicing I have never felt before. I do a lot of waiting on the Lord at nighttime when I go to bed. I do a lot of praying after I go to bed. I’ve done it so much that I tend to pray while I’m asleep. I rejoice and I thank the Lord for what He is doing. I find there is life in it. I look back and we used to say, “Well, we need to rejoice.” So we would rejoice and sing a lot of rejoicing songs. We would make a rejoicing-type noise. Unless it is something that is living in you, there just isn’t much life in it. I have heard a lot of worship services that just sounded like a lot of sweet, syrupy nothing with no life in it. When you try to force the rejoicing, it just does not have any life in it. But when that rejoicing has been worked in you, it is because He is rejoicing in you. That is rejoicing!
Hebrews 2:12 I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee.
This is Christ speaking: …in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto Thee. So, we cannot do a rejoicing on our own. It is not something we can generate. If it’s not there, you can try but there isn’t much life in it. It is when Christ is in you and He is rejoicing through you. Why is He praising God and rejoicing in you? He is rejoicing because of the victory He has had in your life. That is where the difference is. What creates this rejoicing? A lot of dying, a lot of emptying out of self because if the self hasn’t been emptied out then it is self that is trying to rejoice. I assure you right now self cannot rejoice in the Lord. It can make a lot of happy sounding noises, but it cannot rejoice in the Lord. “In the Lord” tells you where that rejoicing is; it is in Him! So because of the victory that He is winning within us, He rejoices. It is not something that we conjure up. It’s not something we decided we are going to do and so we start rejoicing.
I think Christians make a big mistake in looking at the promises or the commandments of the Lord and saying, “Well, I’m supposed to do this, so I’m going to start doing it.” That is not the way the Word is. When the Lord says, “Thou shalt rejoice,” what He is saying is, “I want to rejoice in you.” When He says, “Be filled with the Spirit,” then He is saying, “I want to fill you with the Spirit. Keep My Word.”
“Oh, let’s see. How am I going to keep God’s Word? First, I’ve got to find out what the Word is. What is He saying? What is He speaking? And then I’ve got to be able to do it.”
No, that is not the way. God wants to do it in you. It is always what He wants to do, but we get caught up in that thing of trying to please the Lord with our walk with Him, please the Lord in our response to the Scriptures, and the commandments of God. We get caught up in that and consequently we do not please the Lord at all because it is not Him doing it through us. That is what makes the difference.
In John 14:15 Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” So you say, “Well, I love You, Lord. I’m going to keep Your commandments. I’m going to do that. First of all, I have to find out what they are and then I’m going to be obedient to keep Your commandments.” No, He is saying, “You love Me and the commandments will be kept. Just love Me. Then you will be able to keep the commandments that are Mine.” That is the way it is written in the Greek: If you love Me, keep the commandments that are Mine. The way you keep the commandments is by letting Christ keep them in you.
That is the way the rejoicing has to be. As long as we try to rejoice it just isn’t going to work. It is the same as intercession. Do you remember how intercession used to be? “Oh, we’ve got to intercede. Oh man, I don’t like to do this but everybody else is doing it and I’ve got to enter into it.” It just wasn’t good. You didn’t even feel good doing it! You felt all bound up and everything. But when the Lord has done a work in your life and He begins to speak through you and intercede through you, it is not you doing it. Then you have entered into the rest of the Lord. “Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for My yoke is easy and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28-30). That is what the Sabbath rest is all about where we are not doing it in ourselves but we become the channel through which the Lord does it.
Let’s face the facts. In ourselves we cannot keep any of the commandments of God. None of them, not one! Paul makes that very clear in Romans 3:10 when he says: There is none righteous, no, not one. There are none that are righteous, no, not even one, and Paul says it emphatically. “In my flesh,” he says, “is no good thing.” So there is nothing you can do in yourself that is going to merit anything; nothing that you can do that is going to please God. It is a matter of emptying out of self and letting God live through you. Let Him love through you. Let Him move through you.
Let Him rejoice through you. There hasn’t been a whole lot of rejoicing and you say, “Well, if God wasn’t dealing with me so much with this work of the cross business, I believe I could rejoice a little bit more.” No, you would be surprised. It is the work of the cross in you, the denying of self, that opens the door for the real rejoicing to take place. Christ comes forth in your life conquering that old flesh nature you have because you have opened the door for Him by saying, “Lord, come on forth in me. Arise and let my enemies be scattered.” He starts scattering those enemies in your flesh and the next thing you know, Christ has become victorious in a certain area and He is rejoicing! You feel it because it just takes over your whole spirit and you begin rejoicing because you sense the victory of the Lord.
Then there is a cycle where God deals with you some more. There is more victory and a higher realm of rejoicing that comes. The rejoicing is something that just automatically comes with the victory of Christ in your life. It just happens and then you say, “My circumstances are not good at all!” It doesn’t have anything to do with circumstances. Do you remember Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:23-31)? They were cold and in chains. What were they doing there? The circumstances definitely were not good, but they were singing hymns and rejoicing. If you don’t have those difficult circumstances, how is the Lord going to have any victory in your life? Those things of your flesh nature have to rise up so that He can come forth in you and conquer them. Sit in your jail of circumstances rejoicing and singing. Next thing you know, the chains have fallen off and you have your release. “But my circumstances haven’t changed.” Maybe not, but the futility has been broken. Being free of the futility the circumstances just don’t mean much anymore, and you rejoice because it is the Lord rejoicing in you.
If we can walk in this, we’ll be doing well. But it has to be the rejoicing that God creates within you because of the victories He has in your life. There is nothing worse than that feeling of insecurity and that feeling of futility and helplessness. But when you give up the things of self that is when the Lord begins coming forth in you. He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30. When that happens, you begin rejoicing, rejoicing evermore.
Copyright © 2009 by Henry DuBose