“Rejoice always.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16 (ESV)
Wow. I began to contemplate the meaning of this verse, as it was clearly a directive from God. In my contemplations, I thought about the fact that a joyful heart and a joyful spirit are clearly important to God, and the word “joy” is mentioned throughout all the books of the Bible. I had always been a “happy” person and generally saw the rosy side of things, but joy is clearly different than happiness. It is not based on circumstances, but on the presence, hope, and promises of God. Even when it feels as if we are being crushed by earthly troubles, we can remain joyful. If we keep our focus on God, our spirit cannot be trampled. Joy is a state of mind and a state of being. It reflects a conscious choice to believe in the promises of the Bible.
Excerpted from To Heaven and Back by Mary C. Neal, MD
How does the idea that joy is based on the promises of God change your view of God’s command to rejoice always?