“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4 (HCSB)
Series Focus: “Coffee Talk”
Think back to a time when you literally “jumped for joy!” Was it years ago, as a child? Or perhaps as recent as yesterday! This heightened emotional expression may have resulted from good news for you or someone close to you. A new job. A passing grade. A new home. A confirmation of healing. A new baby. An answered prayer. Even something as simple as a home run by a favorite team.
The list of possible causes of elation goes on and on. Many times, the physical reactions seem uncontainable as the victorious reality sinks into our souls. Maybe you are super expressive in your rejoicing, or more conservative. There’s no right or wrong way to feel this joy. However, we would be wise to examine our hearts and determine if we celebrate equally in the successes and victories of others as we do for ourselves.
In Romans 12:15 (HCSB), Paul wrote:
Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.
As we grow in our relationship with God, we understand the depth and magnitude of His love for us. We see Jesus rejoice with those celebrating and moved with compassion as He witnesses people without a Shepherd. His Holy Spirit brings comfort and leads people in truth. Jesus mourns with those who mourn. And God sings over those He created for His glory. (That would be you and me!)
What a tremendous friend we have in our God! What a perfect example of friendship we have in Jesus.
Proverbs 10:11 (HCSB) says:
The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
In John’s Gospel, John the Baptist shares some awesome truths about rejoicing with a friend. In John 3:29 (HCSB), he says:
“He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete.”
James, in 2:23 (ESV), wrote about Abraham and how he was called a friend of God:
and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
Speaking truth with those closest to us helps us grow in righteousness and keeps us accountable to act upon the truth we know. Rejoicing in the good news of others causes us to put away envy and strife as we promote the greater good and upward success of all. We deepen our friendships and strengthen our connections when we speak the truth in love with our friends and celebrate their victories as exuberantly as if they were our own.
The last time you jumped for joy, was it a result of something good for you, or for another? Transparently, I did recently jump and holler with excitement during a home run at the ballpark. That was fun. But not quite the heartfelt, surrendered celebration of a friend hanging in the balance of life and death, hope and fear.
It’s not always easy to speak the truth, encourage our friends in righteousness, or celebrate their successes—especially if we’ve been in a rut of struggle and defeat ourselves. But we are created and called to be friends like Jesus: to model and encourage righteousness and to rejoice with those who rejoice. Who can you jump for joy with this week?
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: Phillipians 4:4; Romans 12:15; Proverbs 10:11; John 3:29; James 2:23