“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.” (Philippians 4:4–5 ESV)
The Apostle once again brings rejoicing back in to focus. Rejoicing (joy) is a deep contentment, an abiding joy, a soul level happiness that is not dependent upon our circumstances – it has at its root a dependent trust in and reliance upon a good and sovereign God. All Christians know that they are supposed to be joyful, after all if is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). So why are so few Christians really joyfully?
We may think that it is our responsibility to manufacture joy (and many other traits like love, patience, compassion). But it is not our responsibility to produce these traits in our lives – we cannot and will not ever be able to manufacture these. Most Christian’s wear themselves out trying to produce them. Simply put, we lack the resources on our own to produce good things in our lives. Joy is a byproduct of something deeper – it is the fruit of something that is happening inside.
So how do we become joyful like the Apostle is admonishing us to be? Our lack of joy indicates a deeper problem. We all know, that we can’t just make ourselves joyful. Lacking joy, indicates a lack of faith (trust) in God which is often times manifested in our believing that we know what is best (though we’d never say it) as if we have ultimate vision and perspective on things or that God is not really after our good. Do you see that? We think we are privy to how things really work. We think we have things all figured out. We think we know what is best. We are not convinced that God is really after OUR good. Our work (and it is work) is to believe that God is good and that He is able to do all that He has promised (Philippians 3:20-21). The more that we believe this and draw near to Jesus in utter dependance, the more He will produce wonderful things in our lives. Your role is dependance and faith, His role is producing beautiful things – don’t get those backwards or you’ll be frustrated and fruitless.