It’s been a long time since I’ve posted on here, but today I have a guest post to share with you from Kaleigh S. who has written for us about 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Thank you for sharing this with us, Kaleigh!!
1 Thessalonians 5:16
Two simple words. Yet the weight of that command carries further than outward actions.
Paul speaks a lot about joy. As a man who endured great persecution, he is continually encouraging others to find their joy in the Lord, in other believers, and in their salvation.
Paul found his joy in the Lord.
He couldn’t base it on his circumstances because they were constantly changing. Imprisonment, beatings, shipwrecks, wayward churches and “believers”, and false teachers provided Paul with more than enough hardships to complain about. Yet, he didn’t. In 2 Corinthians 7:4 he says “I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation”. Paul knew where to find his joy, and because he clung to the steadfast joy of the Lord, he was able to say, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.” We have the hope of a Savior who is sovereign, and not only do we have that hope, but along with that God provides joy when we believe and trust in His will. “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 15:13) God fills us with joy! We can’t outwardly express joy every single minute, because some of our circumstances are truly not joyful. But that is not what determines what we feel like. The only way to be genuinely joyful is to allow Christ’s joy and peace to reign in our hearts. Jesus said to His disciples “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full”. (John 15:11) It is the commands of Christ and the comforts of the Spirit that will fill us with joy.
Paul found his joy in other believers.
“Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.” (2 Corinthians 7:13) There should be (and often is) joy among fellow believers. We share the same faith; we encourage one another in our walks with the Lord; we rejoice with those who rejoice. Titus’ “spirit was refreshed” and that caused joy for Paul and many other fellow believers. Joy is contagious; often it’s a domino effect. You can’t help but pick up the joyfulness of someone when they are happy. And that’s a good thing. Paul also had joy in other believers because he had confidence in them. “I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.” (2 Corinthians 7:16) Paul was joyful when lifting up fellow believers from Philippi in prayer. He greatly longed to be with them in person, but his joy stemmed from pleading for them before the throne of God. “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy.”(Philippians 1:4) He knew that his and their joy would once again be fulfilled when they could fellowship in person again. “And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.” (Philippians 1:25-26)
Paul found joy in his salvation.
It was from Paul’s deep faith in Christ, that his joy increased. “…but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:11) If Christ had not provided a way of salvation, then our happiness in this world would be painfully temporary. While the happiness in this life is still short-lived, we have an ever-abiding joy because of the cross. The Man of Sorrows, the one who endured the excruciating death of the cross, bore the shame of the world with joy! And He it is who is the author and finisher of our faith. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Paul found joy in seeing the steadfast faith of the Colossian believers: “…I [am] with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 2:5) Watching others–maybe even people you’ve discipled–increase in their faith and grow in their stedfastness in the Lord is truly a joy. And you rejoice with them, because, as Matthew Henry states, “For by faith we stand firmly, and live safely and comfortable. Our strength and ability are owning to faith, and our comfort and joy must flow from faith”. When you see others standing firmly for the Lord it provides great joy for the people around them. David, in his Psalm of repentance, prayed“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation…” (Psalm 51:12). Salvation carries with it the joy of forgiveness–nothing held against you in spite of continual failures. The grace and mercy freely given to us provides us with a restored vision and a humble spirit to continually press onward.
And then in conclusion, Paul commands the Thessalonian believers to “rejoice evermore”. Not just through wonderful circumstances; not just on a cheerful Sunday morning; not just when the depth of salvation is so real. No, he says “evermore”. Always. Continually. Never-ending. The joy of the Lord is our strength. His joy and strength never fails, and the Author and Finisher of our faith has no end, either.
Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)
When we come boldly to the throne of grace, there…only there, will we find that in His presence is fullness of joy. (Psalm 16:11)
About the author: Kaleigh is a 21-year-old senior in online college, seeking to walk worthy of the Lord’s calling and encouraging other believers to hold fast to One who saved them. You can read more of her writings at her blog Facing the Waves.