Today, we're diving head first into the issue of stress: what God says about it and how we rationalize the stronghold it has on our lives. Here's Chan's take on the subject:
"...[T]here's that perplexing command: 'Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!' (Phil. 4:4). You'll notice that it doesn't end with '...unless you're doing something extremely important.' No, it's a command for all of us, and it follows with the charge, 'Do not be anxious about anything' (v.6).
"That came as a pretty staggering realization. But what I realized next was even more staggering.
"When I am consumed by my problems-stressed out about my life, my family, and my job- I actually convey the belief that I think the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice. In other words, that I have a "right" to disobey God because of the magnitude of my responsibilities." p. 41
How's the rejoicing going in your life? Are you regularly exhaulting praise or lifting a joyful noise unto the Lord. Well...I don't know about you, but I'm not. As I was reading over this a little while ago, I realized that I do thank God everyday for the blessings of my life. However, the scripture here talks of "Rejoicing!" and that's something completely different. Such exhaultation comes a little easier when times are good, but what about when times are bad, or when things are uncertain...what about when things are completely and utterly mundane? How do we rejoice then? It's hard enough to keep ourselves from throwing a "Pity Party," (or maybe that's just me!)...let alone finding a reason to rejoice when we are struggling.
Even worse, most of us...in an effort to find a reason to rejoice during the most difficult of times... revert to an unexceptable option. We try to think of someone, whose situation is a little worse than ours, and rejoice in the fact that our situation is better. Ohhh...that's great. Very "Christian" of us, right? Don't get me wrong, we aren't reveling in their misery...we're just using it as "perspective." But, the problem with this is that our perspective should ALWAYS be centered and focused on God. Our rejoicing should be from Him, for Him and because of Him...I just wish I could figure out how to genuinely get to that point.
If you haven't put the pieces together yet, today's homework will be a practice in rejoicing. You can start out easy...rejoice about all that is good in your life. (FYI: definition of rejoice- to feel joy; be delighted) Then I want you to push yourself a little. Find something you're struggling with right now and REJOICE! Find some reason to be thankful: for what you will learn, for what you will be protected from, for whom you will meet. Find someway to rejoice in the Lord.
His Faithful Servant~