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Rejoice. It’s one of my favorite words. But, what does it mean? There’s a dictionary definition, then – there’s the picture definition my brain comes up with to give me understanding.
The dictionary definition is easy, anyone can look it up. It’s right there at your fingertips, there on your phone. We call up the magical world of Google with just the touch of a finger. There we can see that rejoice means: to be glad; take delight in, to make joyful; gladden. (from dictionary.com)
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But, what of the word picture in my head? I suppose, since none of us thinks exactly alike, the word picture in your head is likely quite different than mine. I listened as a woman read the definition of the word aloud the other day, and this is where my brain took me:
Picture, if you will, your favorite bowl. At the moment, mine is a decorative blue bowl with a scripture around the edges. Inside there’s a magical liquid that can be sloshed around, spilled out, poured over my head; I can drink from it, I can dip my fingers in it, I can pour some into your bowl…. I can do most anything I choose with the magical potion, yet the bowl never goes empty.
No, not Love Potion No. 9 – but, a love potion from the Creator of everything, He calls it joy.
Of course, I don’t take this bowl with me everywhere I go, if you knew how clumsy I can be, you know I’d break it the very first day we ventured out into the world together. The next part of the word picture is to imagine this bowl inside of me (you). I see it resting on my diaphragm. It goes with me everywhere, and not once have I dropped it or laid it down somewhere and forgotten about it.
It’s there every time I need to dip into it. The contents are there sloshing around, reminding me that I can always choose joy. It’s warm and soothing, letting me know that no matter the situation, I can draw from it.
I may find myself receiving harsh news, or growing impatient in traffic, or battling a headache. Or I may see someone else in need, someone I love – or someone I don’t even know yet. The situation doesn’t need to be futile; I have joy to dip into!
Part of the Bible that thrills me completely, is Philippians 4:4-8. Verse four tells us to: “Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again, I say, rejoice!”
People look at you like you have three heads if you suggest they rejoice while going through a tough situation. But, three-headed Child of God, or not, that’s just what we need to hear. We need to hear it in our ears, and we need to hear it in our heart.
I’ll admit it, if I’m in a grumpy mood and you tell me to rejoice, I may not shoot the most pleasant glance your way. It’s the exact opposite of what we’d naturally do in a rough spot. The carnal way of responding is with sorrow, or even anger. (By the way, carnal simply means, perceived by our five senses, it doesn’t necessarily mean sinful. Just thought you should know.)
That’s when we most need that bowl of joy within us stirred up and poured all over us. That’s when we need to reach into the resources God already gave us when we chose Him.
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God supplies the joy, just as He provides every other blessing we’ll ever need – or want. Whether we ask for the joy or not, it’s right there inside of us, waiting to be tapped into.
What color is your bowl? Whether you need a sip, or a shower from the bowl, it’s brimming with the greatness of God; His joy – to be enjoyed every minute of the day or night.
“…the joy of the Lord is our strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10 (KJV)
No wonder the enemy of our soul attempts so strenuously to hide our bowl from us.
“Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:4-8 (KJV)