Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV
Rejoicing is the theme of the book of Philippians, even though the circumstances with which it was written seems to hold no reason to rejoice.
The Apostle Paul is under house arrest in Rome waiting to go before Caesar. He is cut off from his friends and chained to a guard 24 hours a day. He is not comfortable and knows that he will probably be executed.
As Jesus’ followers, joy is not contingent on circumstances, it bursts through in spite of them.
Are you missing out on joy today because you are waiting for your circumstances to warrant it?
Don’t wait one second more, joy is a fruit of the Spirit, not the fruit of your circumstances (Galatians 5:22).
Receive the gift, invite some friends over and throw a joy party!
We all have habits that we need to get rid of. However, there is a particular habit that Jesus is more concerned about breaking than the one you are thinking of: it isthe desire to get your own way.
“Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way.Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.”
1 Peter 4:1-2 MSG
When we struggle, we may think it is because God doesn’t love us. In reality, it might be that He loves you so much that He will use the stressful opportunity at hand to break the habit of the-only-way-I-will-be-happy-is-when-I-get-my-way.
God has more for you than that and He calls it freedom.
“Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
2 Peter 1:2-3
All relationships have to be give and take in order to be healthy.
This includes your relationship with God.
Your “give” to God: to journey with Him and hold nothing back.
So what is your “take”?
Your “take” is to partake of God’s promises, dwell in His presence and walk in His power in every area of your life.
This taking is not a selfish act, it is a trusting one.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;” Proverbs 3:5 NIV
It is hard to not lean on your own understanding.
Your understanding is made of what you know, what you have learned, what you have been taught and tucked into your back pocket as experience. In the other pocket, you have stuffed the disappointments, the failures, the mistakes that you don’t want to make again. Either way, you are leaning on what you know. You make decisions based on past experiences and knee-jerk reactions from what you fear happening again.
How do you learn to trust God and lean on His understanding, His truth, His knowledge, and His power?
Lean on Him.
Lean on His love, His faithfulness, His wisdom and His mercy today.
Do the next right thing and leave the rest to Him.
He will guide you and show you how to walk forward according to His truth.
Instead of your go-to, knee-jerk reaction, go to your knees and ask God what the next right thing is.