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Rejoice and Give Thanks

November 24, 2016

“Rejoice evermore.”

The command to rejoice evermore seems impossible. At the very least it seems to promote a sort of false joviality that acts as if problems are not troublesome and pain is not painful. Rejoicing at all times is not a jocularity that imagines the skies are always blue. Always rejoicing looks like Paul in 2 Corinthians 4. He endured a variety of emotional turmoil and physical suffering. Yet through all those troubles Paul says he was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

Paul rejoiced because he knew the true weight of trouble. “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” For the child of God every suffering is temporary.

The children of God are not appointed to God’s wrath. The Christian’s sorrow will not endure long. Even the suffering of those with lifelong congenital diseases is temporary. Troubles will pass and will be replaced by something eternal and glorious.

Temporary sorrows produce an eternal gain far greater than the suffering itself. Romans 8 says, “the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” The suffering endured by the child of God is for his good. That is why Paul also says in Romans 8 “all things work together for good to them that love God.”

God is working through your suffering to produce in you a great and an eternal benefit. You can rejoice evermore, even in tribulations, because sorrow is temporary. You can rejoice evermore, even in tribulations, because the good produced by temporary sorrow is eternal.

Christian rejoicing looks beyond circumstances and even in the midst of great grief gives joy in the Lord. Rejoice evermore. Not because your life is all you would like it to be, because you have a comfortable home or because your life is free from pain and sorrow. Rejoice evermore because your sorrow is brief and every thing that happens is God’s perfect plan for your eternal benefit.

“In everything give thanks.”

Hebrews 13:15 is possibly the most vivid description of thankfulness. “By Him, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” All the sacrifices of the Old Testament have been done away. Men no longer bring burnt offerings, sin offerings, heave offerings, peace offerings or trespass offerings to God. The altar once continually filled with the bodies of thousands of slain animals is now empty. All those offerings have been ended by the one offering of Jesus on the cross.

The New Testament Christian has an offering, not of animals or grains, but of thanks. The believer’s offering to His God and Savior is thankfulness that bubbles up from the heart and spills out of the lips in praise to God.

We give thanks to God because of all the rich blessings that are ours in Jesus. Circumstances never change those blessings.

We give thanks to God because of the eternal hope that is ours in Jesus. Circumstances never change that hope.

We give thanks to God because of the present working of God in our life. Circumstances, whether good or evil, are the means by which God works His perfecting work in us.

Give thanks to God because He is worthy of all thanks.

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