Paul’s specific instruction to Christians in 1 Thes 5:16 is that we “Rejoice evermore.” Now I, certainly, have not obeyed this command all the time and I’m pretty sure that you haven’t either. One reason is that we haven’t been doing the things that cause Christians to rejoice.
There are some things you can do that will cause you to rejoice evermore. You can rejoice evermore:
By leading souls to Jesus Christ – I can’t think of a greater joy than being used by the Lord to lead someone to Jesus Christ. There is joy in the presence of the angels of God Lk 15:7, 10, and there is joy in the heart of the person who is used by the Holy Spirit to lead a soul to Jesus Christ, 1 Thes 2:19, Ps 126:5-6. Your joy will increase if you will start preaching the gospel to some of your lost friends and family.
By teaching new Christians to walk in truth – John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth,” 3 Jn 4. This happens to new believers as a result of discipleship. They must be taught how to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. You’ll rejoice when you see them growing and walking in truth. You will also rejoice if you teach your own children to walk in truth. When you see them walking in truth when they are older, you will have no greater joy. We have had missionaries lately who were taught to walk in truth by their parents and they are a tremendous joy to their parents today.
By praying until God answers your prayers – according to Jn 15:7-11, when you love the Lord and his words abide in you, your prayer life is going to become very fruitful. He said, “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” That’s quite a promise. But he didn’t leave it with that. He said, “if ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.” And then he topped it off with this great statement “These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” Seeing God answer your prayers , while abiding in his love, is great joy.
By suffering reproach for the name of Christ – Acts 5:41; 1 Pet 4:12-14. We are so chicken when it comes to bearing reproach for Christ’s name. We won’t risk the slightest ridicule or the least loss of income or the weakest relationship. So often we are so concerned with keeping our favor with men. We’re afraid of the loss of our reputation. And, thus, we never venture into this great realm of joy. God help us. Peter was one who suffered reproach and so he had first hand knowledge of the joy and happiness that results. Trust what he said.
By doing something good for someone else by God’s grace – 2 Cor 8:1-2. This is different than the satisfaction in the human spirit that comes from acts of kindness. This is a joy that God gives because what you did was done for God and by his grace. Most of us want to know that we have been used by the Lord in some way to help another by an act of kindness or an encouraging word. But be very careful not to concern yourself with whom God uses or how he uses them. Jesus said to Peter in Jn 21:19-22, “Follow Thou Me.” Don’t worry about how I use other people. And if you do what you do for the Lord, but you don’t hear about it, don’t go looking for your own glory, Prov 25:27. That’s very dangerous. God knows; that’s enough.
Conclusion: if you haven’t been experiencing the joy of the Lord in your Christian life, it may very well be that you haven’t been doing these things that we have discussed today. Start telling your friends about how to be saved, start teaching your children to walk in truth, keep praying while abiding in the love of Christ and while his words abide in you, suffer reproach for the name of Christ, and do something good by the grace of God for others. And may God help you then to rejoice evermore.