The New Year is still fresh, breath it in! A clean slate has the ability to inspire you to confidently face challenges that are thrown your way. You say, “Hear me roar 2016!” But, just like resolutions, that take-on-the-world attitude will probably fade soon.
Maybe you’ve already faced a tough challenge this year or had one carry over from last year and you are in need of encouragement. I have some good news for you but it probably isn’t what you are expecting.
Learning how to rejoice in all things is the encouragement you seek but it is an exercise. If you don’t like to be challenged or to stretch your faith, then you probably won’t like what I have to say. But if you can muster up the courage to read this for the sake of God’s Word, then good things await you.
It’s all about your perspective. This is key in your relationship with God and your walk of faith.
If someone asked you, “How do you know you’re saved?” You don’t have a piece of paper to show them, you just know… you know it by faith, you know because you trust God’s word.
You could point to Romans 10:9 which says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
“But, how do you know for sure? What if the Bible is not true?” Your friend may ask. You will hopefully express your reasons in a loving manner and stand by God’s Word. It should be fairly easy to defend your salvation because you believe God’s Word is true and you align your heart to see the world through it.
Well, what about when the Bible says to rejoice always and you’ve hit hard times (Philippians 4:4)? Maybe your fiance decided to end your relationship and you just got fired. Would you align your perspective with the Bible and rejoice like it commands you to?
Maybe you haven’t hit what is called “hard times” but you are overwhelmed. You have a lot of responsibility at work and it is starting to break you down. Maybe you broke down this morning because your kids are seriously threatening your level of sanity. Maybe your heart is broken by a close friend rejecting Jesus. How are you supposed to rejoice in these times?
The final answer is you don’t. You rejoice IN THE LORD.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
This command doesn’t mean to find joy in your hard time, but in the Lord during your hard times. In God is your hope, not your martial or job status. God has a future for you, not your bank statement or your ring finger.
You don’t embrace cancer or the loss of baby, you embrace God. You don’t thank Him for the situation, you thank Him for Him! You thank Him for being there and and walking with you and giving you the ability to overcome the world because He did (John 16:33, 1 John 4:4)!
This is how you learn how to rejoice in all things, you find yourself in Him so much that your situation doesn’t compare to His glory.
No, it is not easy. It is easy to give into despair or chronic moodiness, but that isn’t what God is calling you to. He is calling you higher, He is calling you to find your everything in Him (Acts 17:28).
This morning, I had a mini break down. I looked at how many beautiful women were signed up for the Bible journaling challenge and how I gained 300 Instagram followers overnight and I panicked. Then someone compared me to Lysa Terkeurst and I started crying…not from pride but from the sheer responsibility I was feeling for these women’s souls. Who am I to shepherd so many women?
I could have given up. It would be easy to tell them all that I had canceled the challenge due to an extreme family circumstance. I could shut down my website. I’ve never met more than 100 of these women face to face. Nothing bad would happen. But that is not what God is calling me to.
He is also not calling me to rejoice in the overwhelming feelings I have, He is calling me to rejoice in HIM. Yes, I do have a lot to rejoice about in this situation, perhaps you don’t in yours, but end game, it is about rejoicing in HIM.
This morning, I cried and stared blankly at a wall not knowing what to write for this blog. Yeah, I binged on mac and cheese today…and cookies. But in the end I said, “God, this is what your are calling me to and you will equip me and give me the wisdom I need for this. You have always provided what was needed and more. I love you and I can do all things through you.”
And you know what, I can, and you can too.
Rejoice in the Lord no matter what life looks like or how you feel. Choose Him. Love is a choice and the choice is Him. Be brave beautiful heart, God will comfort and strengthen you.
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
Peace and love,