Daily Devotional: Friday, September 16 - Authentic Rejoicing

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he … will rejoice over you with singing.” — Zephaniah 3:17

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I always love the videos that come out this time of year where coaches get to inform their walk-on players that they’ve earned a scholarship. It’s always heart-warming to see the reaction of the teammates or family members as they acknowledge the hard work and dedication that individual has displayed in earning their way toward their personal goals and a spot on the team. 

As I’ve seen some of these videos recently, it’s gotten me thinking about how we celebrate others and their achievements. How do we rejoice over others and, perhaps more importantly, how does God rejoice over us? 

The Bible makes it very clear that celebrating others is important. We are called to actively take an interest and participate in one another’s stories, being present and supportive for the lows as well as the highs of our individual journeys. Sometimes this can be hard to do, especially when it seems like they’ve gotten the answer to prayer or the miracle or the scholarship or the promotion that you were wanting and working toward yourself. To still join in their joy and be genuinely happy for them shows our maturity and acceptance of the situation, and conveys love to them in their situation.

Our ability to take delight in another’s success, and even just who they are in general, is indicative of our own sense of how God delights in us. When we are wrestling within ourselves over whether or not we believe God rejoices over us and truly loves us, that will come out in the way we treat others. In order for us to have a healthy sense of celebration, we have to know and believe that we are deeply loved and delighted in by our Father. 

Scripture says that rejoicing is a common thing in Heaven. God takes “great delight in you” and “rejoices over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). There is also rejoicing in Heaven “over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:7). I wonder if the scene when this happens looks a bit like those scholarship announcements: loud cheering, dancing, etc. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but in all seriousness, the reality is that God and His angels and all the past saints who have gone before us cheer us on (Hebrews 12:1) and urge us to keep fighting the good fight and making the most of this one life we have. And when we reach a significant milestone in that process, it deserves to be commended and God should receive glory. 

Whether you’re a coach or a teammate or the parent of a child or just a friend, it’s important that you take the time to celebrate those around you. Rejoice over them just as God rejoices over you. Remind them that you’re proud of them and you love them. Because God feels the same about you, and each time we put this into practice with those around us, we become just a little more like Him. And after all, isn’t that what life is all about in the end? 

— Katherine Singer

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