Have you ever noticed how some always seem to be so upbeat and positive? It is not because everything is going great in their life, or that things are necessarily going better for them than everybody else. No, it is because they choose to be that way. They decide to look for reasons to be happy and to focus on the good things. In doing so they attract more of the same. It doesn’t just happen; they make it happen.
This is how Paul teaches us to live our lives. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). As a Christian we have every reason in the world to rejoice; today, tomorrow and every day. If, we choose to focus on the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ. He has blessed us with the forgiveness of our sins, salvation from the bondage, guilt, and condemnation of sin, power over the temptations we face, strength to endure the trials of life, love that surpasses knowledge, peace that passes understanding, joy unspeakable and full of glory, and hope eternal. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
The coronavirus pandemic has brought a great hardship to many people around the world. It has caused a great problem for the church because most have not been able to assemble as a congregation. If I tell you all today to look with me in God’s word, the Bible, some might respond, “I don’t even know if there is a God. Where is He? What is He doing? Why doesn’t He take this all away? And, what does a book written thousand of years ago have to do with us today?” My answer is, “Yes, there is a God, He will take this all away and everything else in this world; and the Bible has everything to do with us.” All of this is not much different from the persecution endured by the church in Jerusalem when they were scattered from their homes, their jobs and separated from family and friends (Acts 8:1-4). It is to these Christians and others like them that Peter writes his first epistle. He gives them a message of hope that is just as relevant and powerful as it was when it was first written.
Count It All Joy!
James words are so helpful during this awful pandemic. He writes: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:2-8).
Robert Dodson is the Preaching Minister for the Northwest Church of Christ.
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