Rejoice “in the Lord” – what does that mean? Really, now, what does rejoicing, when coupled with “in the Lord” mean? Well, some think that it means to be doing something joyful, and then by the virtue of being a Christian, we are then rejoicing in the Lord. It would be somewhat like if we were children at school and we were having a good laugh we would be rejoicing in the schoolhouse. In this thinking we would focus on the rejoicing part to mean that it is just the rejoicing itself that is the focal point of this question, and since we are already in the Lord as Christians it simply means to be happy at the particular time. We would be trying to find a way to get our joy, to focus on joy, that is how we are to live in the Lord. You might be able to restate it thus: those of you in the Lord, rejoice. Is this all that Paul means, though?
In a sense we can say that this could be fine as far as that goes, for yes, we should have joy unspeakable and full of glory (1 Peter 1:8). Indeed the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Now think about that last statement for a minute. Friends, I have a different proposition to a make to you. When Paul speaks of rejoicing in the Lord, he is not suggesting that it is about a spirit or an attitude but about Christ Himself, that is the key. We rejoice, not in situations or circumstances but in the person of Jesus Christ. It is not a “way” of rejoicing but a “who” of rejoicing. Rejoicing in the Lord means to be rejoicing about who Jesus Christ is.
This is what we need to learn. This is the process of joy, the process to enjoy Christ as our all in all. Our desire builds as we discover the rich truths of His grace, not so much when we “do stuff”, even like ministry or using spiritual gifts. We need teachers who will teach us and believers who will help us to see the excitement in that, not to be bored. That is the problem; we are trying to find new ways to rejoice and new things to rejoice about as Christians, instead of finding ourselves rejoicing about Jesus Himself. We are focused on the joy instead of focusing on Jesus. When we focus on Christ alone we will have the One True thing we can have true joy in. We have to learn that but it takes time and real effort in a sense, and many people won’t do it so that is why we have to have so much other stuff instead of what should truly be our joy. If you truly want to be able to rejoice, rejoice in the Lord.