Paul now turns to deal with the attitude of the individual Christian. Spiritual responsibilities towards others call for us to address our subjective attitude. Paul now prescribes the personal issues that correspond to the fellowship of the saints.
This is the shortest verse in the Greek New Testament.
A rejoicing attitude does not tumble into a survival mode toward life. The Holy Spirit commands the believer at Thessalonica to “rejoice” even in duress situations. The Thessalonians were living with deep and daily persecution. Their circumstances did not alter their joy. True joy transcends circumstance. This is not self-hypnosis. Biblical joy rests in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God wants us to rejoice “always,” not just some of the time but all of the time.
At the heart of Christianity is the outlook of joy.
We cannot constantly carry joy in our lives if we look to the circumstances of life. Joy is not the same thing as happiness. Happiness depends on circumstances being right. If I get a new car, I am happy. If someone bumps my fender in the parking lot, I am not happy. Joy is the inner animation of the soul regardless of circumstance. Our joy depends on our orientation to God’s providence and promises.
The foundation for the believer’s rejoicing is in who God is and what He does. There are many reasons why a Christian should always rejoice:
· God’s presence – Psalm 16:11
· The God of our salvation – Habakkuk 3:18
· Answered prayer – John 16:24
· Our hope — Acts 5:41
· Our hope — Romans 5:2
· Our hope — Romans 12:12
· The Holy Spirit — Romans 14:17
· The fruit of the Spirit – Ga 5:22
· The Lord is the source of our joy — Philippians 4:4
· Tribulation works endurance — James 1:2-3
· Purpose in suffering – 1 Peter 4:12,13
· Joy in trial — 1 Peter 1:5-8