Joy Redefined

In the original language, the word translated “rejoice” in Philippians 4:4 is a verb that means “favorably disposed” or even “leaning towards”. It comes from the same family of words meaning “grace”. The word implies that we somehow our joy in grace. This means the source of joy is grace, and the way joy is maintained is by reminding yourself of grace. Greek lexicons apply the verb by saying it’s the action of delighting in God’s grace, experiencing God’s grace, or being conscious of God’s grace. This is significant to our walk with the Lord because of where else the same word is used. Jesus applies it in a profound way. He says that despite trials of every kind, including persecution, we are to “rejoice and be glad” because of our reward in heaven (Matthew 5:11-12). Alternatively, when the 72 evangelists achieved great ministry “success”, Jesus redefines their joy by decoupling it from visible results. In fact they shouldn’t be rejoicing in their apparent success, but should “rejoice” that their names were written in Heaven (Luke 10:17-20). So grace rules over the hard times and the good times. It trumps circumstances that on the surface look like failure or success.

4 thoughts on “Joy Redefined

  1. Reading this reminds me of when the apostles were arrested in Acts 5 for preaching the Gospel. After being beaten in vs 40 for being bold and faithful to spread the Good News it continues in 41 “Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” “rejoice” in this text is the same word as you mentioned. What a great example how we should respond in the tough times. As you mentioned above “grace rules over the hard times and the good times.”

  2. Thank you, Jon for expanding my understanding of joy in your last two blogs and especially in lasts weeks sermon. It certainly helps to focus on the right thing.

  3. Jon, we recently had the privilege of attending a beautiful wedding between Andrew and Anna-Leah. The vows and pledges made span the range from joy and sorrow, sickness and health, riches and wanting. Happiness seems to dwell in the realm of good things and joy seems to rise above the extremes and settles in the security of knowing we serve a sovereign and loving God Who dispenses the correct doses to each of us. To learn from the apostle Paul would serve us well: be content with the grace of God and in His son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

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