“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

Philippians 4:4-5

The Apostle Paul issues it as a command and repeats it for emphasis: “Be filled with joy!” It’s a command with universal appeal. What believer does not want to rejoice in the Lord? Surely this is something that would not be difficult to obey. Or is it? 

How do we rejoice always, regardless of circumstance? Does Paul expect believers to turn off their emotions and wear a mask of superficial happiness when nothing could be further from the truth? 

Jesus Himself wept at the death of a friend. Elsewhere Paul instructs believers to mourn with those who mourn. So there must be more to having joy in the Lord than just emotional happiness. The uniqueness of having joy in the Lord begins with its source. It does not come from within us, contrary to what the world may tell you today. It is not derived from our circumstances. Rather, it comes from the Lord. Joy is ours because we are in Him and He is in us (John 17:22-23). In a mysterious way, the joy of the Lord dwells deeply in the hearts of those who rest in and belong to Him. 

About the Author

David Wollen is a longtime member of the Haven team, having served as its COO for more than a decade. He continues to contribute to the ministry of Haven as an advisor, and also as the host of ANCHOR Today, the one-minute radio counterpart of the print ANCHOR Devotional. He lives in the greater Chicago area where he serves as an elder at New Covenant Bible Church in St. Charles, Illinois. David is married to Marci, his wife of 15 years, and together they have three children.

Scripture Focus

John 17:20-26


Is joy the furthest emotion from your heart today? There is no need for guilt. Jesus bids us to come as we are.

Bible In A Year

  • Job 41-42
  • Psalm 62
  • John 1