“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:”
(1 Peter 1:8)
“[Cast] all your care upon him,” wrote the spokesman for the apostles, “for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). As we study the Scriptures, God’s care and concern for our whole person becomes apparent. He is not concerned with mere outward obedience to His commands, rather, He is seeking that which is truly good, pure, noble and lovely even in the deepest recesses of our hearts. “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart” is the greatest command said Jesus (Matthew 22:37). His stern warnings to the Ephesian church make clear the fact that doctrinal orthodoxy and religious ritual are insufficient. The required inward change of heart position and attitude is synergistic in nature. Though we are to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling,” it is nevertheless “God which worketh in [us] both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). Though we are to train ourselves to be godly (1 Timothy 4:7) it is God Who is working in us “that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ” (Hebrews 13:21). These inward changes taking place in us, which involve taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) are calculated not only to glorify the Lord, to Whom this glory is due, but to bless us, His redeemed image-bearers. Indicating His genuine care and concern for our mental and emotional health, the Lord instructed us, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27b). “These things I have spoken unto you,” said the Savior, “that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Gospel means “good news,” and the Gospel of our salvation is the best news the world has ever heard. When we remind ourselves of these things, we cannot help but rejoice. No wonder we see so many references in the Scriptures to preaching the Gospel, not only to the unevangelized, but to believers also (Romans 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8). It is also little wonder that Satan and the forces of darkness are working so hard at pulling our minds away from “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). This he does to steal our joy, to neutralize our labor in the Lord and halt the growth and edification of the church. The enemy may resort to inflicting hardship and tragedy in an attempt to accomplish his goals. Against spiritually mature Christians who see through the eyes of faith, however, this has proven largely unsuccessful. A more subtle tactic is to deceive Christians into thinking that joyfulness itself is sinful or irreverent. The account of David and Michal (2 Samuel 6:14-23) ought to be antidote enough for this errant thinking. Reflecting on God and His matchless love and amazing grace, let us “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
God bless you, dear saints!