Found in Psalm 32
Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous, Sing, all you who are upright in heart! (vERSE 11)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t respond well to being told to “be glad”. Sometimes we don’t feel much like singing. This Psalm does a good job of describing how it feels to be overwhelmed: be it by anxiety, guilt, or shame.
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. (vERSES 3-4)
The thing I love about the Psalms is their honesty. Here the writer doesn’t tell himself or us to cheer up, to pull ourselves together or to fix a fake grin upon our faces. He admits that there is a problem, and he takes it to God.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” - and you forgave the guilt of my sin. (vERSE 5)
The rejoicing comes at the end of the Psalm: in the certain promise of God’s forgiveness, the psalmist has the courage to confess his sin to God and it is in this he finds freedom in which he can rejoice. As Christians, we can be sure of this freedom which God has promised us.
Galatians 5:25-26 (MSG) describes the life that God promises:
Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.
This is the kind of life in which we can rejoice, not simply when we are happy or when everything is going well. We rejoice because, through our redemption in Christ and the work of the Spirit, we are “righteous”, “upright in heart”, and because God has redeemed us to a new life.
Joanna is busy reading, writing and revising her way through her final few weeks as a student in the gorgeous and totally instagrammable city of Durham. She loves God and loves people, and you can usually find her with one or two close friends; eating or making yummy food, drinking tea and externally processing whatever decision needs making that week!