Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rejoice Always? What If I Don't Feel Like It?

 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~
I type this as I am struggling through the end of a stomach virus. I am queasy and cannot do much of anything. Yet, instead of whining about it, it is God's will that I rejoice. Always. Always includes my hard times. In fact, it also says to give thanks in ALL circumstances. How in the world am I to rejoice and give thanks for a stomach bug? Why would I?

Now let's shift that question around. 

Why would I not rejoice and give thanks in it?

After all, God does will that behavior, doesn't He? But who does He will that behavior in? It says, in Christ. I cannot will myself to be thankful for what seems meaningless. But in Christ, I can by faith and trust.

I can shift my thoughts and eyes off of me and onto Him as I renew my mind in His word. If I believe that God is in absolute control of my life and that He is good, I can give thanks even in this hard time because it is about Him and not me.

Paul learned the secret of contentment in Christ when he lived in good times and bad. The secret was that he could do all things through Christ who gave him strength (Phil. 4:13). This is true for us as well. 

When we sit in the throes of a stomach virus or any other difficulty, we can shift our eyes off self and on to Christ. In that act of faith, we can learn to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

This means we trade our moaning and groaning for thankfulness. 
  • We thank God for rest.
  • We thank God that He is giving others opportunities to serve us.
  • We thank God that we realize we are not unstoppable. We are weak and in that weakness He is strong.
  • We thank God for the amazing body that can heal itself.
  • We thank God for the dependence we are learning to faithfully trust in Christ.
There are so many other things we can learn as we rejoice in CHRIST. Whatever our present circumstances consist of does not matter. Whether they are good or bad, sickness or health, we can rejoice in the person of Christ because He cares for us. He is with us. It is in this period of dependence we learn that we can really count on Christ.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for telling us how to rejoice. Thank you for every life experience in the here and now because all are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory. Help us keep our eyes focused Heavenward. Help us stay thankful in Christ. In Jesus name. Amen.

2 comments:

  1. Isn't there a verse that talks about rejoicing in persecution and suffering because that is what we are called to when we are in Christ?

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    Replies
    1. Maybe in James 1, "consider it all joy..."
      Paul also admonishes us to rejoice in these things in 2 Corinthians 12.
      He also calls us to share in the sufferings of Christ.
      I am sure there are others. My verse above indicates to rejoice in all things so that also includes suffering.

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