“I seem to be different to other Christians. I don’t seem to rejoice as they do. I would like to be always overflowing with gladness.”
But that is exactly what you are always going to be! You have received Christ as your Saviour. You rightly call upon God as your Father; that cry of relationship has been brought into your heart by the Spirit. You belong to the Lord, and with unspeakable gladness you are going to rejoice in Him for ever.
That is one reason why He died to put away our sins: that our happy lot might be in Him and with Him, amidst the song and splendour of God’s eternal glory. Nothing can alter that. Neither sorrow, nor suffering, nor tears can come there.
“Yes, I know that, thank God. But I would like to be always overflowing with joy and gladness NOW.”
You cannot mean that you wish for nothing but joy in this world, where our blessed Lord endured so much sorrow and suffering. It is written, “Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Phil. 1:29). It is true that in chapter 4 those same saints are exhorted to “rejoice in the Lord alway.”
There is, however, nothing contradictory in these two scriptures. We may indeed rejoice in the Lord always; but we live in a world which would rob us of this joy. Therefore it is essential for the preservation of our joy in Him, that we be ready for emergencies like the soldier serving his king on the field.
We must not forget that Christ is still rejected, and that we are left in a world where sin abounds, and where Satan’s snares are set to trip us up. We are therefore exhorted to be “sober” and “grave.” That joyful servant of Christ, the Apostle Paul, tells us that he was “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”
“Well, that is what I would like: to be always rejoicing in the Lord, and yet not to shirk any suffering that comes upon me for His sake.”
Very good. Seek, and ye shall find. Only see to it that you seek in the right way.
We are all apt to think so much about our own joy, that we give little thought to the joy of others and to the joy of the Lord. To the Corinthians Paul said, We are “helpers of your joy.” As we promote the gladness of others our own is increased; as we water we are watered; as we share with others the oil of gladness it flows richly upon ourselves. It freely flows down from our blessed Lord in His heavenly glory, for the cheer of those He is “not ashamed to call brethren”; for the encouragement and blessing of those who are His “companions.” How good to be able to pass a little of this along to another!
But think of His own joy in the glory of God. He is “anointed with the oil of gladness” above His companions (Heb. 1:9). Nor would we have it otherwise. No heart that knows Him would be so engrossed with its own gladness as not to rejoice that He who is so worthy has the greater measure thereof. His gladness must necessarily be above ours. He is pre-eminent in this, as He is also in glory. Our hearts say, He is worthy! Nevertheless, though the measure is greater, the character of the gladness is the same. It is the same excellent oil which anoints Him in glory that flows down to us here. The same Spirit that rests on Him has come to all those who belong to Him. We share in the same gladness with Him.
“In him and with him ever
Is found by grace our lot.”