Friday, August 31, 2012

Recipe For Rejoicing

Rejoice always.   1 Thessalonians  5:16
One of the greatest Christians ever, the apostle Paul, found it very easy to rejoice even in the midst of trials and suffering.   The Holy Spirit even inspired him to pen the letter to the church at Philippi from a prison cell, and throughout this awesome epistle, Paul continuously spoke about being joyful and having joy.
Unfortunately, everything we encounter in this life is not always joyful. Yet when we are faced with situations that attempt to steal our joy, the Lord does work all things out  together for our good (Romans 8:28).   I thought about having a recipe for remaining joyful in the midst of discouragement, so if I were to create my own recipe for continuous rejoicing, it would have the following ingredients:
Remember. When Christ saved us, He began something wonderful in us; a brand new "me" and a brand new "you" were given birth.   In Paul’s joyful letter, remember what Philippians 1:6 says, " being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ  Jesus.”  God is not through with us yet; that’s good to know when life deals its heaviest blows.
Refocus.   Thinking of others is always a great way to get the focus away from ourselves and our problems.  When we purposely look for opportunities to be a blessing to someone else in the form of perhaps sharing what we have, performing a service, offering  prayer or encouraging words, or just giving a listening ear, we live out what Paul instructed in Philippians 2:4, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
Recommit.    Dwelling on or living in the past can hinder us from moving forward after life crashes in on us, and we can get stuck there indefinitely!  When we refuse to allow past wrongs, hurts, decisions, failures, and tragedies to define who we are in Christ, it frees us to recommit our lives to Him, the One who gave His life for us. We cannot change the past, but we can learn from it.   I absolutely love Paul’s directive in Philippians 3:13-14, “Forgetting  what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
After we remember, refocus, and recommit, perhaps then we are set free to experience that unending joy the Lord calls us to when He says in Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

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