Wow! This is it! The last lesson in this HabitFree course. You’ve come a long way in your walk with God. But, as I’m sure you’ve discovered, there’s still a long way to go. In this last lesson, we’re going to look at three reasons to rejoice through every inch of our Christian journey:
Reason 1: Rejoicing Gives Jesus Joy
Nothing makes Jesus more happy than seeing His children filled with joy. He’s given us everything to ensure our eternal well-being, and He longs to know that we appreciate and enjoy what He’s given.
“Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. … By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:12, 15).
When we face struggles and disappointment, we shouldn’t distrust God’s love for us. How would a mother feel if her children were always complaining as if she didn’t care one bit about them, when she is working every moment to make them happy? How does God feel when we distrust His love for us?
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34).
Purpose in your heart today to stop distrusting God’s love. Believe He loves you, and praise Him for it! You’ll make His day.
Reason 2: Rejoicing Encourages Those Around You
Believe it or not, the people around you are battling with sin just like you are. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13). They need encouragement in the battle for righteousness just like you do. Why not be that encouragement?
There is no better way to encourage those around us than to praise God for what He’s doing in our lives. After casting devils out of a man, Jesus said to him, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (Mark 5:19). He asks us to do the same thing.
How would you do this? You don’t necessarily have to share the details of secret sins. But look for opportunities to share how God has been blessing and leading you throughout the past week. Did Jesus help you to do something you were afraid to do? Tell someone who is struggling. Did you find an encouraging promise in your devotional time? Share it with someone who is discouraged. Have you found Jesus to be a faithful Friend? Let someone know.
By sharing your rejoicing with others, you just might change the entire course of someone’s life. Try it.
Reason 3: Rejoicing Gives You the Victory
Rejoicing gives us the victory.
“Wait: Are you saying that I’m supposed to rejoice even before I have victory?”
Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
You see, to rejoice even before you have received the fulfillment of God’s promise is faith. And faith is victory (1 John 5:4).
“Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Philippians 4:4). Does this verse say rejoice in the Lord when everything is going right and we’re having the victory? No. It says to rejoice in the Lord always. Rejoice that even though we are sinful, Christ is righteous; that even though we are unfaithful, Christ is faithful to forgive us when we confess our sins to Him (1 John 1:9), and to help us become new creatures in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“We are to trust in His promises. When we come to Him in faith, every petition enters the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it. Then we are to go about our duties, assured that the blessing will be realized when we need it most” (Desire of Ages, 200).
Every promise in the Bible is God’s assurance to you and me that what He has said will be done (Numbers 23:19). But God’s promise is only fulfilled to those who believe, who exercise faith (James 1:6, 7).
How do we exercise faith? We exercise faith by rejoicing that we have the promised blessing even before we see it.
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 42:11).
And God has given us so many precious promises to aid us in our Christian walk!
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10).
Does this mean that when we begin exercising faith we will no longer have to struggle against sin? No, not at all.
I can remember when I was baptized. I thought that baptism was some magical procedure that would turn you into a saint. After I came out of the water, I was convinced that I was glowing. As I stepped out of that baptismal pool, I thought, “I’ll never sin again! Life will be so happy now!” Just imagine how disappointed I was when, soon after, I again fell into temptation.
I thought that after I was baptised, I wouldn’t have to struggle against sin anymore. I thought that the battle was over.
But I was wrong.
I learned that the Christian experience is a continual battle. Satan is not happy that you are fighting him, and he will double his efforts to destroy you.
Faith doesn’t make the Christian walk easy, but it does make it joyful. Through claiming God’s promises and then rejoicing in their fulfillment even before you have them, through putting forth your effort and seeing God supply the lack, through seeing Satan fall back again and again, the Christian life becomes a life of progress, a life of victory, a life of unspeakable joy!
Every day this year, praise God for something different. Record what you’re thankful for, and make a list of your praises for each month. At the end of the month, share your list of what God has done for you with a friend or a family member.