Ann Farabee column: The choice to rejoice
Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 17, 2021
By Ann Farabee
We need to make the choice to rejoice!
The words, “Be glad and rejoice with all your heart,” come straight out of Zephaniah 3:14. Three verses later, we are told that God rejoices over us with joy!
What? God made the choice to rejoice over us?
How could that be?
We sure don’t deserve it.
But it could be because:
He loved us enough to sacrifice his Son, so that we could have eternal life.
He is rich in mercy.
His love is everlasting.
He abounds in faithfulness.
He has plans to give us hope and a future.
If God rejoices over us, how much more then, should we make the choice to rejoice over him?
In Philippians 4:4, Paul, who was in prison, penned these words, “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Obviously, he believed that we need to rejoice in spite of our circumstance. He believed it so much that he thought it needed to be repeated — so he said it twice.
Rejoice is an action word.
It is not only something we can do — but it is something we are instructed to do.
We are to be glad and rejoice with all our heart.
There is that word all.
All means all.
All our heart means with great willingness, great pleasure, and with our deepest feelings and deepest devotion.
The command does not stop with Zephaniah 3:14 and 3:17.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 also makes it quite clear, “Rejoice evermore.”
Evermore means forever and always.
Evermore does not just mean in heaven — but also on earth.
So, we are not to wait until we get to our heavenly home to rejoice.
We should make the choice — to rejoice — now!
Research shows that there are benefits to making the choice to rejoice:
We will have a stronger heart.
We will be more resilient in times of stress.
We will have a stronger immune system.
We will be following God’s commands.
We will be setting our minds on things above.
Nehemiah 8:10 says that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
Romans 15:13 tells us that the God of hope will fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in him.
We will be filled with all joy and peace as we trust in him?
There is that word all again.
All means all.
Let’s make the choice — to rejoice!
Ann Farabee is a teacher, writer and speaker. Contact her at email@example.com or annfarabee.com.