Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Always means always.
This scripture is not a mandate to be fake and phony. No. This scripture is brilliantly reminding us what we are to truly focus on all the time regardless of our circumstances and situations. My circumstances change, but Jesus does not. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)). Because he is always the same, my joy in him can always be the same during bad times as well as the good. Always.
Remember, God is telling me to always be full of joy in the Lord - not that I should be full of joy over unemployment, cancer, car accidents, or natural disasters. It is during these times, as well as favorable times, that I can think about the One who has overcome all the troubles I could ever possibly encounter (John 16:33); be joyful about THAT.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 says, “Always be joyful.” Always. And verse 18 goes on to say, “be thankful in all circumstances.” There’s a big difference between being thankful and joyful FOR all circumstances and IN all circumstances. There are plenty of situations and circumstances for which I am NOT joyful. But because of Jesus, wonderful Jesus, I can be joyful during them because I choose to always be full of joy in the Lord, always mindful of how good he is, and always happy that he is always with me regardless of what’s happening to me.
This is how I fix my thoughts on heaven (Colossians 3:2) and concentrate on what is lovely and pure (Philippians 4:8) and avoid getting overwhelmed by trouble that is light and momentary anyway (2 Corinthians 4:17) - I think about Jesus and what he has done, how much he loves me, and how much I love him, and that fills my heart with joy. Always.
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for never changing and always staying the same so that I can always be full of JOY! You do not disappoint, discourage, or fail me, and I am so thankful. Thank you for your love and comfort, for your forgiveness and grace, and for your many blessings in my life. Thank you that I can choose to let this thinking dominate my thoughts and not be overwhelmed by troubles when they come. I love you and praise you and pray in your name, amen