Monday, December 2, 2013

Choose Joy

As I mentioned in my weekly update last week, we have had some "bad" circumstances over the last few weeks (car breaking down twice and still not fixed, kids sick twice with fevers, conflict with people we care about, and more).  This has had me thinking about;
1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  
I have been pondering what it means to give thanks in the circumstances we consider “bad” along with the “good”.  Especially in light of;
Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Knowing that God works in ALL circumstances, for the good of His people changes how I look at the circumstances that I perceive to be "bad".

I've decided to choose  joy, the giving of thanks, and praise over being led by my circumstances and feelings.  I've been thinking on;

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

I'm choosing to focus on the good in each and every situation, to see and meditate on the true, noble, right, pure, and lovely... and when I can't seem to find those attributes in my circumstances I choose to meditate on the One who is those things, who is with me, who is in everything and working all for the good of His people whether I see it or not.  I'm choosing to spend my time and energy investing in Him and His Kingdom, and not dwelling on the works of the enemy, who has come to steal kill and destroy.

I'm asking myself in each situation, "Where is God in this?".  "What is His purpose in this?".  "How could He be at work in this for the good of His people?".

This is all a choice of the heart.  It's not some trite cliche in which I slap on a smiley face and act like everything is fine.  It's the act of taking my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ and not letting my head and heart be filled with lies.  It's the act of guarding my heart with Truth and engaging in battle with the Sword of the Spirit.

Some may accuse me of not being "real", or "in touch" with my circumstances.  But when did being "real" become a license to embrace and live in poor circumstances, feelings, and lies, giving power to the enemy?  I think we should be "real" with those we are in community with about our struggles, but we should never spend more time and energy talking about the struggles then on Truth, Christ's victory, and the cross.

I've resolved to spend my time dwelling on and discussing God, His attributes, and His works, and not the works of the accuser. To let His Truth permeate my heart and minister to my soul.

In a podcast I listened too recently, the speaker talked about how what you focus on is often what you become, even if you don't want to.  That when you put a whole bunch of time and energy into not being something (i.e. an alcoholic, a rageoholic etc.) that you are still giving that thing all of your energy and attention and more often than not, you end up there, despite your best efforts.  So rather than trying to not be something, I'm focusing on truth, on good, on love, and choosing joy.  And He who has called me is joy, He is peace, and He is in me, so it is my nature to be these attributes.

Despite your circumstances and feelings choose joy today friends, choose hope, choose love, praise, and the giving of thanks.  Choose to walk in victory and not give the enemy a foothold in your heart.

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