“Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.”
Such a simple verse, packed with so much power. I would dare say if we could learn to live by this one verse only, our lives would be more dynamic for the gospel, more energized in life’s pursuits, and we would be healthier all the way around. We would be that light shining on a hill bringing glory to God. And I can do this! It’s really not that hard.
Let’s look at Paul’s life. He’s the one telling us to rejoice always, so he must practice it as well. Let’s venture over to 2 Cor 11:24-27. Three times he was whipped 39 times, three times beaten with rods, stoned once, shipwrecked three times, in prison often, and more perils than we can imagine. Yet Paul rejoiced in the Lord. What am I going through that is worse than that?
This is a lifestyle choice. It’s an attitude choice. I am reminded of a quote I heard a long time ago from Chcuk Swindoll that says it well:
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
I am in charge of my attitude. When I wake up in the morning, I decide if it’s going to be a good day. I don’t let anyone else dictate that to me. It is my decision, and mine alone. So, I decide to rejoice in the Lord. He has been so good and so merciful to me. He has been gracious to me. He has loved me when I was unlovable. He has been right here with me all the way.
I have had a few people ask me how I can possibly feel this way. After all, I have cancer. Not just any cancer, but a cancer that takes 2 years of chemo and 2 stem cell transplants to defeat. In the middle of treatment, my right shoulder decided to stop working (I am right handed). Now I have neuropathy in both feet and half of both hands, and drop foot in both feet. How ca I say He has been merciful, graceful and loving?
It’s really simple, my friend. I still have breath, sight, hearing, an appetite, and wonderful wife taking care of me and so many other blessings I can’t begin to count them. I am a child of the King! I have no reason to be downcast! I will rejoice in the Lord.
What about you today? Are you rejoicing in Him? Are you on top of the circumstances in your life, or are you under them? Say it with me – “I will rejoice in the Lord – always”
More on this next time!