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The command to rejoice in scripture can be found just under 200 times. It’s one of the most repeated commands in all of the Bible. We are to rejoice in God, the salvation of the Lord, the work of our hands, with others who also rejoice, and even in our suffering. But even though all of these instructions are part of worship, the aspect of rejoicing that I want to focus on is that we are to rejoice…always. Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (NIV; See also 1 Thessalonians 5:16). Rejoicing is not something we turn on and off in our life, but rather a constant discipline of the heart, attitude, and spirit.

As I said earlier in this series, rejoicing has a connotation of being “happy” but the meaning here goes far deeper than a feeling or emotion. This command in scripture is to be glad, content, joyful, and thankful in all circumstances. Charles Finney said that “Christians should live so far above the world as not to need or seek its pleasures, and thus recommend religion to the world as the source of the highest and purest happiness.”

By living “rejoicing” out on a daily basis, we express one of the truest acts of worship by living a powerful testimony to the world that our satisfaction and joy is found only in Christ.

Although a believer is called to rejoice in every circumstance, a good model to use to simplify this in life and family is to think of it in three areas… our actions, our reactions, and our afflictions. Let’s briefly take a look at each one…


Our actions are words or deeds that we initiate that stems from the heart. With the words we use, the thoughts we think, and the attitude in which we express those thoughts and words, we will find out quickly whether those actions are filled with rejoicing or a different attitude. In other words, we must be the initiator of rejoicing to not only ourselves, but also to everyone and everything we come into contact with. When we live a life that rejoices through our actions, we worship from a deep place in our hearts that spills out into all we do.


We must choose to rejoice in our reactions as well. This discipline of responding with love, joy, and peace is one that seems to be most difficult to find in today’s age of social wars, political platforms, and social media. On every level, it seems that it takes just a small spark to ignite a large flame of contempt, bitterness, and anger. But for the believer, we respond to situations differently.

Through discernment and wisdom, we rejoice in every word or deed as we react to what is happening around and towards us. Though rejoicing in our reactions can be a difficult choice to make, it is a choice nonetheless.

Deuteronomy 30:15-20 urges us to choose life over death, and blessing over curse. Christians make seemingly insignificant choices every single day in our reactions to conversations or interactions. But we must not be deceived, in each exchange, our reaction discloses something about our worship. Will we choose life or death in this setting? Will we choose blessing or curse in this situation? It’s easy to respond with frustration, shortness, or apathy, but Christ called His children to a higher standard by living out the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) should be said of our reactions and when it is, it pleases the Father and therefore, worships Him.


Thirdly, we find immeasurable peace when we rejoice in our afflictions. Like Paul and Silas singing and praising within the walls of a prison cell (Acts 16:25-34), we too are to be joyful and even be grateful in our suffering. This kind of deep worship is possible because Jesus understands and even enters into these moments with us and shows us how to rejoice. He laid the ground work for worshipping through suffering in Matthew 26:39 when while carrying the weight of sin, He submitted to the Father and said, “yet not as I will, but as you will” (NIV).

Corey ten Boom, a Dutch Christian watchmaker and author of The Hiding Place, was captured by the Nazis after hiding Jews in her home. After living through the horrific events of being arrested, imprisoned in a concentration camp, abused in unthinkable ways, she still said with assurance, “Jesus did not promise to change the circumstances around us. He promised great peace and pure joy to those who would learn to believe that God actually controls all things.” When we have the same mindset as Corey, we will find a new sense of eternal perspective on every situation in our life, whether it seems grand or small. We must look to our heart to plant and grow this fruit of joy. This fruit of the Spirit comes from the heart and if we have frustration, bitterness, and contempt in our heart, then we will resort to faking true joy with a shallow happiness that will eventually wear off.

These 3 aspects of rejoicing, when taken seriously, can be truly transformational to our family worship. We must teach it, recognize it, believe it, and celebrate it when we see it within ourselves and our children.

Being joyful in every circumstance is a beautiful act of worship. How we act and react to situations throughout our days, both positive and difficult, speaks much about our character and how we worship.

John Bolin
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