Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; (1 Corinthians 13:6)
Click here to listen to "Love and Rejoicing"
Rejoice! A word of great encouragement. In the word is the emotion of joy. In Hebrew, the word root is samach. It is used throughout the scriptures as the word joy, the word gladness, and the word for rejoicing. It is the emotion of the heart.
The heart expresses joy as its native emotion. Let’s think for a bit what happens when we are joyful, rejoicing. Think of a time when you felt the exhilaration of joy of rejoicing. You weren’t just happy but thrilled in your heart by an experience or a relationship. Joy isn’t the calm feeling of accomplishment but an exuberant emotion. It exists when there is an agreement in the heart about something that is happening or has happened. When a hope in the heart meets with the manifestation of that hope, joy is the outcome.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. (Proverbs 13:12)
The fruit of the “tree of Life” is joy. It is life to our heart which is life to our whole being. There are many scriptures that speak to us about rejoicing and connect us to righteousness through joy. Look at Psalm 32:11.
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; And shout for joy, all you upright in heart! (Psalms 32:11)
When we hope for something good to happen and it delays, our hope is rooted in the expectation of joy. We trust expecting to experience the joy of the promise realized.
So, in 1 Corinthians 13:6, the scripture tells us of a contrast, that love does not rejoice in unrighteousness but rejoices with truth.
What is it to rejoice in unrighteousness?
If we remember, righteousness is perhaps best understood as the “rightness” of something or someone. Another good way to say it, is the original intent that something or someone was created for, design integrity that is being made manifest.
YOU have a righteousness. I have a righteousness. We have an original design purpose that was and is the intent of the Father for us. It is specific and focused. Our righteousness is made complete when we live in that purpose.
From the Father’s perspective, our righteousness requires a restoration. We are like a painting or a piece of art that has been corrupted by this world. He sent Yeshua to die for us to free us from the corruption that is in the world that was in us!
because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)
As we are restored through Yeshua into our “righteousness” all the creation is as well. There is no hope for the creation apart from the transformative work of the cross. All humanism aside, we are not that wise. We cannot apart from God, “fix” the world. Wisdom comes from God.
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption-- (1 Corinthians 1:30)
In this hour of great polarization, wisdom is going to be key as we navigate the crumbling edifice of our world, that has been built on the faulty foundation of a cold-hearted lawlessness or iniquity.
Wisdom is specific based on the nature of the person, the child of God. Each of us is unique in our righteousness. Love honors that uniqueness by rejoicing in the truth of it.
Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. What can that mean? Well obviously, at the grossest level, that means rejoicing in evil. Gross sin, like murder, or stealing or any kind of darkness. But, what is the real agenda of evil? John 10:10:
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
We know the thief comes to kill, steal and destroy. Yeshua came to give us life in its abundance. So, from that contrast we could say unrighteousness is killing, stealing, and destruction. But of what?
Well let’s say that the key could be unlocking the picture of the abundant life. Again, in this case we can look at the gross level, material wealth. But is that truly the abundant life? It is certainly a picture of wealth. But what is true abundance?
We know that circumstances cannot define abundance. The missionary in a foreign field experiences abundance. Hebrews 11 tells that specifically that we can be rich in faith and not receive the promise we are hoping for. Abundance then is not about getting what we want.
Abundance, I believe, is connected to becoming who we are. Who we are is the point of the Gospel! The whole creation is groaning for that revelation to be made manifest. As we become transformed into who we are, we become abundant, or if you like fruitful. Abundance is called the abundant life, because life is the key! Grafted into the vine of Yeshua’s life, the life of the Spirit is the abundant life. It is the fruitful life. It is the righteous life. John 15:5.
I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Rejoicing in unrighteousness then, becomes about a heart motive that is in opposition to the abundant life. It is the motivation of the heart that seeks to conform us to earthly principles and call that wisdom. Kenneth Wuest translates Romans 12:1-2 this way:
I therefore beg of you, please, brethren, through the instrumentality of the aforementioned mercies of God, by a once-for-all presentation to place your bodies at the disposal of God, a sacrifice, a living one, a holy one, well-pleasing, your rational, sacred service. And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it. (Romans 12:1-2)
So when we rejoice in the security that we crave that is expressed in the world’s standards, we diminish the reality of the unique destiny of each child of God. This is rejoicing in unrighteousness!
The opposite is to rejoice in the truth. First and foremost, the truth is a person and a relationship. When we say, that we worship Him in spirit and in truth, we are not speaking about “truths” but a truth that transforms which is Yeshua.
He is both the doorway into truth and the destination of the doorway. He is the way maker, the way and the destination of the way. The Apostle Paul said it this way:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight-- (Colossians 1:15-22)
This is the truth that we are to rejoice in by love.
Now, let’s finish up by using the rejoicing. The prefix “re” implies that joy existed before and we “re” it, or enter into it. Joy becomes an offensive weapon of the spirit.
So, we already stated that rejoicing happens when something we hope for in our heart comes to pass. But, because we are created in God’s image and likeness we can activate what is a result in advance to create a synergy that enhances the spiritual atmosphere that brings about that result. What do I mean by that? We can rejoice in advance of the thing coming to pass. The Apostle Paul, a spiritual mentor of the kehila, or church said it this way to the Philippians:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
This is instruction in love, how to rejoice in the truth before it manifests! SO there is a meditation of the heart that brings God into the equation.
Finally, before we activate Paul said:
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, (Philippians 3:3)
Our identity in Messiah is marked by rejoicing in the truth.
Activation: What’s the rub, so to speak. It is all what we contain about a person or a situation based either on righteousness and truth or a reaction to unrighteousness and the flesh. Where we put our confidence will affect our joy.
So, let’s pick someone who we have struggled loving. Now, let’s practice rejoicing in the truth. Think of all of the positive qualities of that person. Meditate in your heart and see them released from the unrighteousness, the wrongness in their being. Now let’s activate joy. Allow God to heal the inner vision, the meditation of our hearts and minds. This is intercession.
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