I see many people who call themselves Christians. It doesn't matter what side of the divide they are on (division in the church is a nightmare!), they're angry. Yet the Bible says (Galatians 5) that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Why are we not seeing many believers showing these things? Part of it is that the world is informing our walk; the media, social and otherwise, take a more prominent position in our daily lives than God's word. And, if God's word were to take a more prominent role in our lives we would be forced to step back (Be still!) and rejoice in all circumstances! Consider, if you will, the Apostles reaction to being beaten and told not to preach the Gospel in Acts 4 and 5; how did they respond? They rejoiced, and they prayed for even more boldness! How did Paul and Silas respond to being beaten, having a riot incited against them, and being tossed in to a roman prison? They sang songs! How did James say we should respond to trials of various kinds? By counting it all joy! While anger and mourning are, at times, appropriate (even called for by Scripture), even during such times, we need to rejoice!
What benefit does rejoicing bring us? It draws attention off of ourselves, and on to the bigger picture: God is glorified, the Kingdom grows when we face trials! Rejoicing draws our eyes off of this world, and helps us prepare for the next. Some day, there will be no more tears, trials, or pain, but rejoicing reminds us of these things, that the One who promises such is faithful to fulfill. It's easy to complain. It's easy to be angry and shout our frustrations, but it is godly to rejoice regardless of our feelings or circumstances. Philippians 4:1-13 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.