Ask Your Preacher
What are the general and specific qualities to the command "rejoice"? What are the boundaries by which I must confine my expression of joy and delight in the Lord?
The word ‘rejoice’ means ‘to be glad’. Php 4:4 says that we should rejoice at all times in Christ. That is a blanket statement about the attitude we ought to have as christians.
However, you also asked a second question. You asked what ways we are allowed to express that joy. That is a separate issue. Many religious groups break into all sorts of ludicrous behavior (shouting, wailing, rolling in the aisles, etc.) in the name of rejoicing. In order to see what ways are appropriate to show our joy (especially during worship), you need to go to other verses. A good article to read on worship is “Order Of Operations”.
Hey guys, you don’t know how much your answers mean to me. I really appreciate it, and I have another question on my mind that burdens me a lot. Does God test us, or does He allow us to be tested? Is it something similar to temptation when He allows us to be tempted, but doesn’t tempt us?
Dear Trial Trouble,
The Bible says that God never tempts us to do evil (Jas 1:13). God never purposefully puts us in a situation with a desire for us to sin. The devil wants to devour you with sin, but God never does (1 Pet 5:8). However, God does put us in situations in order to find out what we are made of. God tested Abraham when He asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1). God put Abraham in a position where he could succeed or fail – but the key is that God wanted him to succeed (Gen 22:14-18). Abraham was tried by God (Heb 11:17), so God could bless him. God may put us in circumstances that are difficult, but His desire is always to benefit us.
On the other hand, the devil tempts us for the purpose of destroying us – just like he did with Jesus in the wilderness (Matt 4:1). That is why God promises us that He will never allow the devil to tempt us beyond what we are able to handle (1 Cor 10:13). The devil tries to set us up for failure, and the Lord tries to set us up for success.
How do you forgive yourself as God has forgiven you?
What you are asking is one of the most difficult things in life – forgiving yourself. Like all things, God is better at forgiveness than we are. Many people hold on to the guilt and shame of sin far too keenly. God tells us that there are several things to remember:
- Even if your heart condemns you, God keeps His promises. On the Judgment Day, we will be judged by God's standards, not whether or not we feel worthy (1 Jn 3:20).
- We can reassure our own hearts that we have been forgiven when we study and live by the truth of the Bible (1 Jn 3:18-20). The more we immerse ourselves in God's teachings, the quicker we begin to realize that forgiveness isn't about being worthy… but about having faith in the mercy of God.
All in all, self-forgiveness takes time... just like all areas of growth.
Why did Jesus quite frequently refer to himself as the "Son of Man" (Matt 16:13) when it is so essential to our faith and salvation to recognize and confess him to be the "Son of the living God" (Matt 16:16-19)?
Dear Name Confusion,
Jesus was both Son of Man and Son of God – it is one of the great and awesome truths of the Bible. Jesus was completely Deity, and completely human at the same time. Verses like Jhn 1:1-3 and Col 3:15-17 make it clear that Jesus was and always has been God. He is eternal and existed before man – Jesus even said so Himself (Jhn 8:58). However, if Jesus had simply been God pretending to be a human, His sinless life wouldn’t have been nearly as impressive. Instead, we are told that Jesus suffered in all things exactly as all other people do – yet without sin (Heb 4:15). In all things, Jesus was a flesh-formed human just like the rest of us (Heb 2:17-18). Jesus often used the term ‘Son of Man’ because He spent a lot of His life emphasizing His humanity and empathy with the pains of mankind. Jesus spent little time pointing out His deity – His life did that for Him (Matt 27:54).
Where is God when we need Him most?
Dear Looking Around,
It is very normal to feel that God has forsaken us in our darkest hours. That is how David felt when he wrote Ps 22:1-2. What we must remember is that even though we may feel that God is far away, He never is. Paul said that God is near each one of us (Acts 17:27-28). In Job’s darkest hours, he felt abandoned by God… but God explained that there was a reason for Job’s suffering and that just because we don’t understand what is going on, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a purpose. After God explained this, Job accepted that there were things he couldn’t understand (Job 42:1-3). Even in our deepest afflictions, God promises us that all things will work together for good if we serve Him (Rom 8:28).