Rejoice and Be Glad
“Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven . . .” (Matthew 5:11).
Joy and gladness go together in the Bible like peanut butter and jelly on a sandwich. Joy and gladness are more than happiness, they are part of Jesus’ own character that He brings with His indwelling presence. His joy resides in our hearts through the presence of God, the Holy Spirit. His constant witness is an assurance, deep in the soul, of the sufficient power of the Messiah’s suffering and victory, His cross and resurrection, for the redemption of my life and the lives of all who trust Him.
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (see John 15:8–11).
The beauty of this spiritual joy is how it carries us through trials if we keep perspective and do not faint.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may redound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ… Without having seen Him, you love Him, though you do not now see Him you believe in Him and rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy” (see 1 Peter 1:3–8).
The world is groaning for Christ’s return and the human race seems to be spiraling mindlessly and callously away from the Lord instead of consciously running to Him for help. Joy and gladness keep us sane in the midst of a blinded world. And when we are in the cross-hairs of persecution it is His joy, in the depths of our soul, that testifies as an irrefutable witness of the reality and truth of the Gospel.
Rejoice and be glad! Christ was persecuted unjustly, as were the prophets and Christ-followers through the centuries. We will likely join them, as will those around us and those coming behind us, for the world is confused and doesn’t understand the peace, love and joy they see in you and misunderstanding leads to rejection in the simple-minded. But some will see Jesus in you, sense the unexplainable joy in your life and be drawn to Him and repent, and oh the joy they will find!
(Photo of the 100,000 Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi)