Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice”. What does that mean? I don’t think it means that it is wrong to grieve or to be sad. Jesus was grieved and sad on numerous occasions, and obviously what He did wouldn’t be wrong for us to do.
Matthew 26:37 And Jesus took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.
I don’t think it means that we have to smile all the time and be happy in spite of trials or hard times. Let’s look at how Jesus rejoiced while on the cross being tortured to death.
Hebrews 12:1-2 let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
“Who for the joy set before Him”. Jesus looked ahead and saw all those who would be with Him in heaven because of His death on the cross, and that joy was what gave Him the strength to endure the pain of the cross. We can do that, we can look ahead to our entry into heaven, we can look ahead to the rewards we will receive at the “Judgment Seat of Christ”, we can look ahead to the people who will be in heaven because we witnessed to them. To rejoice basically means to trust God that He knows what He is doing and every event in our life will work together for our character growth and much fruit. To rejoice means to submit to Him even when we don’t understand and when nothing makes sense in life.