However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.
Jesus had sent a group of seventy-two out into the areas he was planning to visit later. They were to go out and proclaim the coming kingdom of God, the same message that Jesus was preaching wherever he went.
When they returned to Jesus, they were filled with joy. Even demons had submitted to them in Jesus’ name. And, while not explicitly stated here, it is likely they could heal the sick as well. This was a highly successful mission trip for them. And they were excited about it.
But Jesus then encouraged them to rejoice, not that the spirits submitted to them, but that their names were written in heaven. It is not inappropriate to have and express joy when you see God using you to build his kingdom. But be sure that your joy is in what God is doing, not what you have accomplished. It is very tempting for us to accept credit for something that God did.
And, ultimately, my greatest joy should be that my name is written in heaven. That I belong to God and that he is holding me securely in his arms. There is no greater thing I can rejoice in than that. No earthly achievement, even casting out demons, can compare with being a part of God’s family.