Weatherproof – 5
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad
In the Beatitudes, found in Matthew 5:2-12 and Luke 6:20-26, Jesus gives a concise profile of the spiritual life of a Christian. The Beatitudes are like a pathway into the Kingdom of God and life in Christ.
Each one begins with the word “blessed” which means, simply, “happy.” “Happy are the poor in spirit,” “Happy are those who mourn,” “Happy are the meek,” etc. The final beatitude describes the happiness of one who is persecuted for their faith. In this beatitude we discover another precept of Christ, another command that will serve to make our life weatherproof against all of life’s trials, tribulation, pain and heartache, in fact, this command is directly connected to suffering. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:11-12
We are blessed, or happy, when persecuted for our faith in Christ, and then, as if to underline this attitude, Jesus gives the command to rejoice and be exceedingly glad. That is, to express a calmly happy, victorious joy, like a selfless well of cool water that springs from our heart of hearts, with the assurance that everything is going to be okay. God is with us, and in us, and He is Lord of whatever situation we find ourselves in. And it is real, it is not false hope. If you have been there you know.
It is clear from the context of each of the beatitudes that the happiness and rejoicing referred to here are not what we typically equate to earthly happiness. This rejoicing is possible because of a depth of joy that is not automatically part of our DNA. This is the joy of believing that God infuses into the hearts of those who trust in Christ.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
This is the source of our unfathomable joy. By the resurrection of Jesus Christ, those who follow Him have an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance in His eternal kingdom. And while on earth, through every situation, they are kept, protected, surrounded, and encompassed by the power of God!
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…” 1 Peter 1:6-8
When Jesus commands us to rejoice, it is really the natural consequence of walking through trials and suffering through faith in Him. Having a faith tested by fire that reveals to the world, to the heavenly realms, even to our own soul, the reality of our love for Jesus – and leads to rejoicing with joy inexpressible and full of glory!
Joy and suffering go together, joy doesn’t come later, after successfully navigating the trials. Joy in Christ and Suffering in Christ are companions. We each have family and friends who can attest that this was when, “they know, that they know, that they know,” the love of God and the reality of Christ. Because they found His rich and unexplainable joy carrying their hearts through the very thing that Satan hoped would break them and crush their faith and spirit. The opposite is actually accomplished and the Christian is stronger than ever and full of the joy of the Lord, in, through, and after, suffering.
By rejoicing and being exceedingly glad, through faith in Christ, even while being pummeled by tribulation and the fiery darts of the wicked one—we actually gain strength, we discover the mysteries of Christ in us, and we become unbreakable. Weatherproof.