As your relationship with the Lord grows, so too will your attitude, perspective, and joy.
These truths are obvious in God’s creation:
- We learn from our mistakes.
- No pain, no gain.
- Tender blisters become tough callouses.
- What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
- You have to tear down muscle to strengthen it.
- We have all heard of “growing pains”
Combining our everyday examples with Scripture will help us to better understand God’s plan for us as well as our proper response to that plan.
What surprised me about becoming Christian was that the Christian life was not just a good-time, worry-free life.The Bible assures us adversity. But it also assures us that we will not have to endure it alone.Click To Tweet
On the contrary, the comfort that comes from the Bible is not that we will no longer have adversity in our lives, but rather we are assured adversity, as well as the fact that we are not expected to endure it alone.
- “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)
- “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)
- “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)
- “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:12-13)
- “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
- “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
- “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
It is in that knowledge that we can find our joy.
Knowing that God is with us and what God has in store for us are two of the greatest pieces of information we will ever possess. One is a tool to get through this life. The other is the promise of the life that follows.
If we take our eyes off these two truths, we are easily disheartened. We find reasons to complain and before long, this becomes our default position.
Of course, we will have pain.
Of course, we will be sad over the loss of a job, a possession, or a loved one. The difference between sadness and devastation is where our hearts turn in our toughest moments. We are to rejoice in our hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer (Romans 12:12).
After the four Gospel accounts in the Bible, we get the teachings of five other authors (and more from one of the Gospel authors) on how our perspectives are to be influenced by Jesus. Next week, I will be more specific regarding Jesus’ most important teachings.
My favorite example might be Paul, writing to the church he founded in Philippi, from his time of house arrest in Rome, chained to a Roman prison guard.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”Philippians 4:4
That is an inspiring perspective. We complain if we have to wait behind three people at the checkout counter. Paul lived a tough life, but he lived it for the Lord, and the hope of what was to follow this life.
Peter had every reason to believe he had disappointed Jesus, but shared with his audience joy in the knowledge of our Savior.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”1 Peter 1:8
Jude shared with other Christians the secret to perseverance while in this life.
“keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”jude 1:21
John wrote extensively about his knowledge of Jesus, both in and out of the Gospel accounts. Perhaps John best captures what awaits us that we are to be so joyful about in this life.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”Revelation 21:2
Like Paul, James taught Christians to rejoice in their trials because of the ensuing spiritual backbone that was produced as a result.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”james 1:2-4
At no time in the Bible do we read:
- Aren’t you glad we have it easy now?
- Avoid all difficulty and challenge and you will have a great life.
- Complain about everything in your life and God will make it better.
The reason we don’t read these things is because God wants us ready for the spiritual warfare we will endure while still in this life. He wants warriors who, with God’s help, can stand up to Satan and everything he throws at us.
So don’t bemoan your circumstances. Ask God to either help you to change them, or help you find fulfillment in them if this is where He wants you. Don’t complain about your job, be grateful for it and through prayer, seek to understand why God wants you there; or be grateful you can go out and find a different job with God’s help.
It is easy to find fault. It is easy to identify what is wrong in something. Anyone can want for something more. God’s people are grateful for what they have. We believe God has what is best for us in mind; even if we do not understand everything He does or does not do.
Have faith, stay in prayer, and keep your eyes on God, through Jesus. Learn what God has in store for us through His Word to us in the Bible.
When times in this life get tough, look to God, stay calm, and count it all joy.
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Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.