25. Iíll Rejoice in Jesus
Please remember to pray before reading!
We Are Called to be Lights
Christians are called to be representatives of God so the world can see His love in action. God wants to reach people through the lives of Christ's followers. Just as Jesus was sent to reveal the Father to the world, so are Christians to reveal Christ to those who don't know Him.
If you are Christ's follower, you are like a letter that Christ has sent to those around you. Perhaps there are many people who know you who don't read the Bible. They will read your life. If Christ is in you, they will learn about His love and goodness by watching you.
When we walk with Jesus, His light shines on us. We are called to shed this light to those around us. Our behavior will show them what God is like.
This is an awesome responsibility and a wonderful privilege. As we realize that people are watching us, it should make us more aware of our need to stay close to Jesus. We don't want people to get the impression that being a Christian is unpleasant so we need to be constantly receiving fresh supplies of joy and love from God. When joy bubbles over in our lives, this makes Christianity attractive to others.
Because Satan realizes how powerful our witness is to others, he is constantly trying to make us discouraged and unhappy. If we express doubts and complain, we misrepresent God. This makes others think that it's a miserable thing to be a Christian.
We Choose Our Attitudes
Our happiness depends upon our attitude, not upon the circumstances. We can choose to dwell on the negative side, or we can look for the good in every situation. Life is like a rosebush; it has good and bad. We can either focus on the beautiful flowers or we can complain about the thorns.
We don't benefit ourselves by negative thinking and complaining. It only brings us pain and sorrow. Jesus is waiting to fill us with joy if we will just look up to Him.
Consider all of the marvelous blessings God pours out upon us continually. Even in the worst situation, we can find something for which to be thankful. Gratitude is actually God's gift to us to sweeten up the sorrows that come our way.
Antidote for Discouragement
When you are tempted to become discouraged, gather up the promises of God. Meditate upon the wonderful sacrifice of Jesus and His tender love for you. Think about how He was willing to come to this dark world and suffer untold abuse and rejection so that we could share in His eternal joy. He has promised to bear our burdens and meet all our needs. He is bending over us with tender love and compassion, waiting for us to turn our eyes away from our problems and trust in Him for the solutions.
Jesus invites us to go to Him with all our perplexities and fears. He reads our hearts and sees our tears. He provides a listening ear and a comforting embrace. We will be strengthened and encouraged in His presence.
No Need to Accept Despair
We need to understand that Satan tries to give us certain feelings, and it is up to us whether or not we choose to accept them as our own. When we express our discouraging thoughts, we don't get rid of them, we just plunge ourselves into deeper depression. And not only that, we spread our doubts to others and pull them down also.
By choosing instead to praise God and talk of His love, we bring hope and comfort to our own hearts and to those around us. Our attitudes become transformed. There is no need to pretend to be cheerful when we are sad. This is not a cover-up, but an actual change of focus. Jesus lifts us up above the dark circumstances and fills us with joy that cannot be taken away from us.
Jesus experienced mistreatment and difficulties beyond what we will ever have to face. Yet He was surrounded by an atmosphere of joy and hope. And that is how His followers will be also. The joy that Jesus brings is not silly joking or hilarity, but a calm and peaceful contentment. When Jesus is in the heart, one will be able to see Him in the expression on the face.
When others are unkind to us or treat us unfairly, we can't afford to hang onto resentment. Jesus will give us a forgiving, caring heart even toward those who are mean and selfish.
Don't Borrow Trouble
The habit of borrowing trouble, always being afraid of what tomorrow will bring, causes unnecessary stress. Jesus is our Friend. He commissions angels to be continually on guard to watch out for us. Why should we worry and fret about the future? How can we ask Jesus to solve a problem that doesn't even exist?
You may be having problems in your business; the future may seem very dark. Perhaps you are faced with great loss. But you do not need to become discouraged. Take all your difficulties to God, and turn them over to Him. Then you can calmly let go of your stress and anxiety. You can know that He is going to be there to guide you. While you still need to do your part in being responsible, you can trust that He's in control. Then you can accept the results cheerfully.
No One Can Steal Our Peace
We will find true peace when we accept our circumstances. God doesn't want us to be frustrated and discontented. While He never promises that we will be free from problems, He does promise to give us peace even in the middle of difficult situations. We will go through painful and difficult times because we live in a world of sin. But when our trust is placed in Him, we will find comfort and hope even in the dark times.
When we understand that God has a plan and purpose for our lives and that He oversees each hardship we face, then we will rest in His care. Going through a painful experience can be the means of drawing us closer to Him. He knows just what we need in order to grow stronger.
Obedienceóthe Way to Happiness
God wants His children to be happy and peaceful. True happiness is found in obedience to His will. When we follow our own way, we may think that we have found happiness, but it is only temporary. And then when circumstances change, we are left feeling empty and miserable. But the happiness that comes from a connection with Jesus brings a sense of security and assurance.
No matter what your situation in life, you are privileged to enjoy a close relationship with Jesus. He will see you through any difficulty. The suffering we face, the burdens we carry are all made easier and lighter when He is by our side. God will always provide the strength we need to go through whatever trial we must face.
God has promised His followers an eternity of joy, free from all suffering, disease, and death. Then they will not have to face rejection or disappointment anymore. They will no longer be plagued with temptations and doubts. They will live in the continual light that comes from the glorious throne, and all their troubles will be forgotten. Then let us turn our attention to the One who is our hope and rejoice in His wonderful love. Our suffering is for a brief moment but the joy of the redeemed will continue forever. May God give us courage to press on, so that someday soon our joy will overflow into endless rapture.