January 14, 2012

The Secret to Joyfulness

1 Thessalonians 5:16-22

Rejoice always.
1 Thessalonians 5:16


Our verse for today is one of the shortest in the Bible. But what a big message these two words convey!

This verse is a command, which means joy is not optional for Christians. Joyless Christians are disobedient Christians. Not only that, this verse tells us to rejoice always. But how can we possibly do that?

The main thing to consider is the source of our joy. Sometimes we’re tempted to think that the level of our joy is directly related to the situation we are in. The more pleasant our environment, the greater our joy will be. The problem with that way of thinking is that we can’t always choose or control our circumstances. Our health may decline; we may lose our job; a loved one may pass away. What’s more, there’s no guarantee that a happy environment will always produce a happy heart. The playwright George Bernard Shaw once said there are two sources of unhappiness in life: the first is not getting what you want, and the second is getting it.

The only reliable source of joy is Jesus Christ. The external realities of our lives will change, but the internal reality of having Jesus dwell in our hearts never changes.

If we stay connected to Jesus, the command to be joyful takes care of itself.

Lord Jesus, help us to see our relationship with you as the most important part of our lives, and to find joy in you despite difficult circumstances. Thank you for your faithful love. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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