God's Gifts To Rejoice In
The Holy Spirit encourages us to rejoice in the Lord (Psalm 32:11; Philippians 4:4). God is everything that is good. He is extremely loving, faithful, gracious, merciful, patient, forgiving, and so much more. Not one of us deserves to be in a relationship with Him. Therefore, it is so crucial that we take delight in the presence of the Lord before the presents of the Lord (Psalm 37:4). God Himself is more than worthy of our praise and celebration. It is certainly true that He desires for us to enjoy the many blessings He has given us from His own hand (1 Timothy 6:17). As long as we revel in the Lord’s attendance in our lives first and foremost, it is definitely healthy for all of us to find happiness in His many gifts, especially those of a spiritual nature – those that can only be found once one is in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).
With that in mind, let's take a glimpse of a very brief list of the many blessings we have in our lives to rejoice in because of the Lord.
Regeneration/Renewal – We can do absolutely nothing to save ourselves from eternal damnation. If we die without faith in Jesus Christ, then it won’t matter if we were “good” people who lived “good” lives. When we consider Titus 3:3-7 we find that we can’t earn our way to heaven by works of righteousness. The good we have done over the years can't cancel out our evil deeds. Only God's forgiveness can do that. All of us naturally tend to rebel against God's will. However, God is naturally everything we are not. Amen. And it is only by His kindness, love, mercy, grace, washing of regeneration (baptism), and renewal by the Holy Spirit that we can be declared righteous and have the hope of eternal life. Hallelujah! Those of us who are in the Lord should rejoice. For we are new creations, having been born again; the old has passed away, and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
Restrictions – Parents will often put restrictions on their children. Is this simply to annoy or anger them? Absolutely not. On the contrary, boundaries keep them (not to mention adults) safe and healthy in several ways. We should glory in the fact that our heavenly Father puts limitations on us. Of course, He doesn’t do this forcefully but rather by His many warnings via His word. So rather than resentment, let us find joy in the Lord’s restrictions. For they are for our own good. And we can be confident of that, knowing they come from our loving God's very own knowledge, understanding, and wisdom (Proverbs 3:5-18).
Rebukes – Continuing with our parent-child analogy, our heavenly Father rebukes/disciplines us, His children, out of sincere love for us, having our best interests in mind (Hebrews 12:3-11). We know God no longer speaks to us directly. He does, however, speak to us through His Scriptures. And we would foolish not to yield to His correction as He seeks to help us move in the right direction in life. His help may come in a few different ways. One would be by way of reading the Bible and being pricked in our hearts to repent (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Another way may come from someone dearly loved in the Lord. Nathan rebuked David (2 Samuel 12:1-14). And Paul reproved Peter (Galatians 2:11-21). Let’s take this even a step further. There may be times when unbelievers correct us if they see us being imperfect or outright hypocritical. When they rebuke us, it may come from evil motives, perhaps just to embarrass us. Nonetheless, we must consider their words soberly in case they are correct. After all, truth is truth, no matter who says it. At any rate, however, when we are rebuked, we must change our ways for the better if we are in the wrong. For every rebuke ultimately comes from the love of the Lord who desires our repentance (Revelation 3:19).
Reminders – We are a very forgetful people. It’s most likely one of the reasons we are to set time aside each first day of the week to remember the Lord’s sacrifice for us. (May we never forget.) It’s very good for us to be reminded of subjects in the Scriptures. Paul warned the believers throughout the region of Galatia again about the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). And to the saints at Philippi, he repeated himself for their sake (Philippians 3:1). Peter reminded fellow foreigners about the second coming of Jesus Christ so that they would remain focused and not lose hope (2 Peter 3:1-14). So, let us be thankful when we read or hear the same things from the Bible repeatedly. It’s beneficial to our souls.
Reward – Jesus has promised us He is coming soon with His reward in order to repay us according to our works (Revelation 22:12). But His reward of eternal life and rest from all our labors is only for those who remain faithful and die in Him (Revelation 14:13). Therefore, may we all have the mindset of our deceased brother, Paul. For he knew he had not yet attained the heavenly reward while still alive on Earth. Nevertheless, he faithfully reached forward until he drew his dying breath (Philippians 3:12-14; 2 Timothy 4:6-8). May we imitate him as he imitated Christ.