If joy (noun) is a deep-seated peace and contentment even in the face of challenging circumstances, than rejoicing (verb) is the ability to be glad and experience well-being even when challenges, pain or uncertainty are present.
Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. (ESV)
So, when we respond to the call to joy or rejoicing in every situation we are not discounting our external situation, but we are choosing to allow our inner disposition—full heart and mind dependence on the Lord—to rule.
We are allowing the Lord to be central and provide the right perspective—even when we cannot understand our current situation or cannot anticipate a way that this situation will be resolved positively.
And on top of simply providing perspective, we are trusting the Lord to govern our emotional response. Trusting Him to help us be glad, joyful and rejoicing in the midst of difficult or painful situations—without diminishing the reality of the situation.
Scripture challenges us, not to dismiss the reality of pain, but to look into uncertainty, difficulty, and pain and then defiantly; through the presence, power and perspective of the Lord; to declare—Nevertheless, I will rejoice!
Inspired by the study of Philippians, Winter 2019
“Joy” and “Rejoice” occur 14 times in Philippians
The name of Jesus Christ (in some form: Jesus OR Christ OR “Jesus Christ” OR “Christ Jesus” OR Lord OR “Lord Jesus Christ” OR “Lord Jesus”) occurs 101 times in 46 verses. Stated another way, 44% of the verses in Philippians refer to Jesus.
The reason we can rejoice in difficult times is through Jesus Christ—His work on our behalf, on the cross, in continued care and intimate connection.