1 Thessalonians 5:16

1 Thessalonians 5:16

“Rejoice always”
(1 Thessalonians 5:16 NKJV)

In Him we can “rejoice always.”

Our first glance at this verse might lead us to think it is either a joke or is based on an extremely naïve outlook on life. Who remains cheerful ‘always’? Who smiles in the face of pain or disaster? Let’s give our passage a closer look.

This memory verse does not take a lot of work to memorize. Most regard John 11:35 (‘Jesus wept’) as the shortest in the New Testament. Actually, this verse is shorter. Both verses seem to focus on opposite actions: Jesus wept … but we must rejoice. But why did Jesus weep? Because He sympathizes with the family that grieves over the death of Lazarus, illustrating Hebrews 4:15—Our High Priest is able to sympathize with our weaknesses, to feel our pain. He cares. The Greeks had pretend gods who not only did not care, but also bullied and punished people without pity. They prompted fear, not cheer. Jesus knows, He cares, and He saves. We rejoice.

Paul illustrates this rejoicing in his own life. His thorn in the flesh was painful and persistent, and yet upon learning the spiritual benefits of the thorn, he could say, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10-11).

Our joy is not based on circumstances. We do not ride the emotional rollercoaster of the world. A mother who lost her teenage son explained why she was smiling through her tears—she would see him again. With feet planted on higher ground, she did not sorrow as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). In Him we can “rejoice always.”

– Rick Duggin