Charles R. Swindoll once said, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with us…we are in charge of our attitudes.” What kind of attitudes are we as Christians supposed to have?
Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.” The Bible calls us first to love one another and then secondly to be joyful!
Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice!” This verse has great importance- Paul says ‘rejoice’ twice! We need to praise God, rejoice in our circumstances, and thank Him for where He has put us. When we complain about our lives and how things aren’t going ‘our way’, we are pretty much telling God that we don’t like the way He’s doing things and that our way is better!
So, how do we (including me…) become more joyful? Start by being thankful. For everything. We finished building our house about three years ago now and during that time, we went through a trial. Everything seemed to be going wrong with the building and nothing was going right. We had problems with our builder and it was stressful. I was getting to the point of thinking, Why is God letting this happen? Then, I came across this verse: “Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You are made mindful of him?” (Psalm 144:3) Who am I that I should be complaining when He has given me everything that I need and way beyond that? When I started thanking God for the things that He has done for me (little and big!), I saw a whole new light on my life- it was awesome! In Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place, she talked about a time when she and her sister were in a concentration camp that had lots of fleas. Her sister reminded her that they should thank God even for the fleas. Corrie didn’t want to, but her sister prayed and thanked God anyways. Later on, they found out that they were able to spread the gospel with the other women because the guards wouldn’t go where the fleas were! God truly works out everything out for good, even if it involves fleas. (Romans 8:28)
In closing, I would like to quote a part of the commentary from Community Bible Study:
“Joy is a distinguishing characteristic of those who believe in the one true God. Most other world religions are rooted in fear. Non-Christians may reject every argument we bring up in defense of our faith. They may discount or ignore the record of the miraculous intervention of our God. They may sneer at our scruples and laugh at what they consider our outdated morals and ethics. But if our lives are securely rooted in the Lord, our inner joy will be evident and that will be difficult for them to explain away. Is your joy evident so that others desire to receive the gift that God has given to you?”
Keep on for Him!