You were lied to. “Jesus Wept” in John 11:35 is not the shortest verse in the Bible. It’s just the shortest verse in English. The shortest verse in the original Greek is 1 Thessalonians 5:16 – “Rejoice Always.” That might be a rather simple verse, but man is that tough to live out. The News is filled with nothing but terrorism and refugees, racism and protests. It’s depressing. Fox News tells me its Obama’s fault. MSNBC tells me it’s the richest 1% fault. CNN tells me it’s Sea World’s fault. I think people are sick of the division and fighting, but the second someone comes up with a “solution” so to speak, it just angers people further. It’s because no big problem has a simple solution, and to treat it as such is offensive to many. Yet, despite my own advice, I’m going to give a solution that can begin solving any problem in your life. Rejoice Always. Listen to me very carefully. I could see your white-knuckles ready to write a scathing response. Would I tell the Syrian Refugees that all their problems will be solved if they just Rejoiced Always? Would I tell the Black Lives Matter Movement to overlook their problems and just Rejoice Always? Would I tell everyone living on Social Security or Minimum Wage or Welfare to just Rejoice Always? Nope, nope, and triple nope. So what did I just say? I said I have a solution that can begin solving any problem in your life. It works on an individual basis. What Dave Ramsey does in Financial Peace University or his book The Total Money Make-over isn’t trying to solve the national debt. It’s trying to solve your debt problem. I would never tell a group of people to just Rejoice Always, but I absolutely would counsel any individual Christian to Rejoice Always. I want to hear what’s going on in their lives, but I honestly don’t have to. I can sincerely tell them to Rejoice despite whatever is going on in their lives. On the surface, it seem like this won’t work. How is someone who was just laid-off supposed to Rejoice Always? How is someone diagnosed with cancer supposed to Rejoice Always? How is someone who just lost their child supposed to Rejoice Always? Well, this got depressing real fast, but many people have many reasons to be depressed. So how can people going through such darkness and horrors Rejoice Always?
1) Rejoice that Jesus Is Always with You
No matter what you are going through, Jesus is right there with you. He doesn’t leave you. He will be with you through every moment of your life. That’s worthy of rejoicing.
2) Rejoice that Jesus Still Has Plans for You
If God was done with you, He’d take you home to heaven. He has a purpose for what you are going through. You might not understand why, and you might never know why. But I know why we go through trials – to strengthen our faith. Jesus loves you and that’s worthy of your rejoicing.
3) Rejoice that You are Promised Heaven
If you have put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ then you are guaranteed heaven. Even if things get unbearable here, we can know that it won’t last forever. For a Christian, “forever” is in heaven with Jesus. That is worthy of rejoicing.
4) Rejoice in What You Can Be Thankful for
There is something that’s going well. Even if “everything” is collapsing around you, there is something, even if it’s just 1 thing, which you can be thankful for. Rejoice over that 1 thing. Anything good is worthy of rejoicing.
An optimist and the pessimist might go through identical circumstances. The difference between the 2 is what they focus on. When we purposefully look for what we can be thankful for, we will find it. If you are obsessed with what’s going wrong, then that will consume you. Paul gave us a gargantuan amount of wisdom with two little words – Rejoice Always. It’s not made to solve every problem. It’s how you begin solving any problem. It shifts our minds from what is happening to us, and onto Christ who has radically changed our life and who will continue to radically change our life. Rejoicing brings perspective. Rejoicing brings hope. Rejoicing brings direction. So Rejoice Always!