The Christian Attitude

Some people have the right attitude. These individuals are convinced that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.

What kind of attitude do we bring to the table?

Paul wrote about attitude in his letter to the Philippians. Philippians 2:4-5 tells us, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”

I would assume that the people in Philippi had their own problems. They needed to grow in the Holy Spirit just like we do. It is a process.

Paul’s letter was intended to help them to grow in the Holy Spirit. One reason for us to study his letter would be, that we may have the same problems as they had.

We should ask ourselves: What is my attitude towards my brothers and sisters in the Church? Or towards my co-workers? Is it positive or negative? Is the Holy Spirit of God growing and firmly grounded in me? Am I helping others to grow?

Answering such questions can be difficult, but facing the facts and reflecting on them is a valuable exercise.

The motivation for our behavior could be pride. Our actions and views can be driven by personal ambition, greed, revenge, or other motives that are obviously wrong. These ungodly traits creep in slowly, and we need to be on guard against them.

For this reason, Paul admonishes us to engage in a certain amount of self-examination.

How can we know if we are on the narrow path that Christ has shown us? The answer lies in esteeming others higher than ourselves. Philippians 2:3 says: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better [higher] than himself.” The New Jerusalem Bible says: “… everyone should give preference to others…”

Paul does not mean that we should become inactive and disregard our own strengths and abilities. Now let’s read Philippians 2:4 again: “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

His point is that we should not be busy exploring how great we are. We should also focus on others, not just on ourselves.

Such is the right attitude of a true Christian. It is not self-evident for us human beings. But it would be worth working on it, and with God’s Holy Spirit, it is achievable.

Our decisions are molded in our minds and hearts. In order to have the mind or attitude of Christ, we need to understand how Christ actually was, and how He sees things.

In the following verses, we find possible clues. Philippians 2:6-8 tells us, “[Christ] who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

Do we follow the example and resemble the mindset of Christ? Because that is the kind of attitude we should have.

But as usual, it is easier said than done.

Is the well-being of others generally more important to us than our own?

Every day, we are faced with decisions. We shape our character through the choices we make every day. We can mold a good or a bad character.

We should follow the model of Christ. Through His Holy Spirit, He will help us to become more and more like Him.

Is it worth the effort? Absolutely!

In 1 Peter 3:8-9, we read: “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”

(Initial Translation: Daniel Blasinger)

When We Feel Like Giving Up

Life is indeed hard sometimes, and every day distractions can be a hindrance to what is most important.  How strongly are we committed to the Truth and God’s Way of Life?  We may sometimes have that feeling of quitting, having doubt or a lack of faith, and that kind of thinking could even bring us to the point of giving up.  We have to be careful that we don’t think that way. 

In the 13th chapter of Matthew, Christ talks about the parable of the sower.  In verse 19, He states, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”

We must be diligent in understanding the Truth, and we do that by studying God’s Word and asking God for His wisdom and understanding.  Satan the devil is very eager to draw us away from God’s Truth, and he loves it when we stumble. 

Instead, we are to be joyful when we hear God’s Word (verse 20).  The key is that we remain joyful and enthusiastic about God’s Way of Life, lest we drift away, due to various trials in our lives.  Verse 21 states, “… yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while.  For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” 

Christ also describes a category of people who do know the Truth but are still attached to the world in some way:  “Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (verse 22).  We cannot serve God and mammon  (Matthew 6:24).  Being caught up in the world is a huge distraction from God’s Way of Life, and therefore, it is impossible to bear fruit.  In verse 23, Christ states: “But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” We must also remember the fact that we, as converted Christians, were predestined to be called, and we were chosen for this life, to know God’s Truth and His Law.  God has called us out of this world to a potentially better life that is to come in the near future.  With this understanding that we have, we must act on it, and whenever we may have that feeling of giving up, know that God is always there to help us and that we will be blessed far more than we can ever imagine. Keep going, and we will see what God promises the faithful.

It IS Worth Getting Out of Bed!

Very recently, I read a letter in a national newspaper which was in response to an earlier article that had been published, entitled “Why Do Older People Groan When They Get Up?”   As an “older” person myself, I was somewhat amused by the following printed response:

“As a retiree, I can suggest some reasons.   We have a government with no sense of purpose and a similar Opposition.   Common sense views are dismissed as not ‘woke’ and those who express them risk being ‘cancelled’.   Highly paid (health service) consultants endanger patients by going on strike.  The Government has spent billions on a rail link from Birmingham to the middle of nowhere.

“Electric cars are the future, if you can find a charging point.   The choice of candidates at the next U.S. election is between two old lunatics.

“Its creators have realised that AI is a threat to humanity but have no idea how to stop it.   Shoplifting is increasing and no one can stop that, either.  

“It’s not so much a case of groaning when we get up.   Some of us wonder if it’s worth getting out of bed!”

And, although that letter was probably somewhat tongue in cheek, many may sympathise with the state of the nation and the world at large.  Had we not been given a knowledge of the Truth through the Church of God, we may have felt the same.

Having just returned from the annual Feast of Tabernacles celebration, we will have heard messages about what is just ahead of us.   Sermons will have been given about how things will change and the return of Jesus Christ ushering in an entirely different Way of Life for those who survive the horrors of the Great Tribulation.   Things may be bad now, and they will get much worse, before mankind will, at long last, have decisive, honest, sympathetic and righteous rule over all the earth.

As a 12-year-old, Jesus was in Jerusalem for the annual Passover, and His parents were anxiously looking for Him.   After 3 days, He was found in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions (compare Luke 2:46). In verses 48-49 of Luke 2, we read: “So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.’   And He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’”

In verse 50, we read that “…they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.”

Nearly 2,000 years later and with all the information contained in God’s Word, we can understand what Jesus was referring to.  It could be that some may wonder today if it really is worth getting out of bed.  But that must not be our approach and our Way of Life, and, like Jesus, we must be about our Father’s business.   Times may be difficult for many, but the recent Feast foreshadowed better times that are ahead of us, and we must get that message out to the world as much as possible.   

And that will be achieved by getting out of bed and doing whatever we can to assist in proclaiming that message at this critical time in the history of man!

R O I (Return on Investment)

Any investor planning an investment, whether in stocks, bonds or precious metals, has to analyze the risks involved. Some risks are high but produce big results; low risks usually produce lesser results as far as returns are concerned, so investors look at the potential Return On Investment or what kind of profit they can expect from their investment and how much risk they are prepared to take, and also, how much they are prepared to lose financially which in some cases may be all of their investment. 

These are factors involved in investing in the markets. If one doesn’t want to incur any potential losses, then one  should stay out of the market and keep their money in what the banks have to offer for term investments, with minimum losses, if any.

When we were called by God, He had to evaluate the risk involved in regard to our remaining faithful to the end. It was not an easy choice in some ways because of the human factor—the sometimes unpredictable reaction to certain events. Christ was frustrated at times, dealing with Israel, and He was prepared to start all over again through Moses, had not Moses talked Him out of it.

That same evaluation had to be done when creating angels since as free moral agents, they could rebel against Him, so in a sense, there was a risk involved in the process, and history shows that indeed thirty percent of the angels did rebel under the influence and leadership of Satan—an unredeemable, corrupt and evil being. 

We were predestined before the creation of the world to be called at this time which is a great privilege since we can become part of the first resurrection, but the success of this calling is in our hands, in that we have to follow through to the end in order to stand before Christ at His coming. The investment by God is a portion of Himself in the form of His Holy Spirit in us and also the Spirit of Christ, so they are invested in us and want the correct outcome at the end of this process.

They are there to help us along the way, but we have to walk the path of this life, following the footsteps and perfect example of Jesus Christ. We are not going to be carried automatically into the Kingdom.

If we fail, we can never blame God but must only blame ourselves.

God has not left us without tools for the success of this task, and that is that we must draw close to God using prayer, bible study, fasting and meditation as the means to achieve our goal of being in God’s Kingdom as God beings and being subject to God the Father, as Christ was and is.

God and Christ are on our side and in a way cheering us on, and the holy angels want us to succeed also, so let’s ensure we do not let God down.

Our golden crown and white garments await us.

Not As I Will…

Christ gave us this powerful promise in John 14:13-14:

“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

He adds in Matthew 21:22: “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Further, we read this in 1 John 3:22: “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

So, all of this sounds pretty straightforward. If we ask God the Father to do anything for us, He will do so, if we ask in Christ’s name (with His authority and on His behalf); if we believe that God will do it; and if we keep His commandments and do the things which are pleasing to Him.

And still, even though we might fulfill all these requirements, we still might not receive the desired answer to our prayer. Does this mean, then, that God did not hear us; that He broke His promise; or that He is displeased with us for not being obedient and faithful enough? Does this mean, then, that it makes no difference whether we believe and keep His commandments?

If there was one Man who never disobeyed God; in whom the Father was well pleased; and who had full, total and complete faith, it was Jesus Christ. He even said that He knew that His Father would always hear Him. But at one time, He did not receive the answer from God the Father which He had desired.

Even though He came for the purpose of suffering and dying for mankind, when He was faced with the reality of torture and death, He did not want to go through it. He prayed to the Father to spare Him from this terrible ordeal which was awaiting Him. He told His disciples who were with Him: “‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.’ He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me…’” (Matthew 26:39).

Although hoping that there could be another way to accomplish the purpose of His coming, He knew, deep down inside, that there was really no other way, and so He added: “‘… nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will’” (same verse).

He submitted to God’s Will and made it His own. When Peter was willing to defend Him against the soldiers with the sword, trying thereby, however foolishly, to prevent His arrest, Jesus told him: “‘Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?’’ (John 18:11).

And so, we read in 1 John 5:14-15:

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

But how do we know whether our requests are in accordance with God’s Will? And if we don’t know, doesn’t this mean that doubts come in and diminish our faith? The answer is “No; that does not have to be the case.” When we pray to God, we must have the unconditional and unwavering faith that He will hear and answer us in the way we hope. And that He will make it abundantly clear to us if His Will differs from ours. Sometimes, that answer comes rather soon. After Jesus had finished His prayer, He knew that there was no other way; the soldiers came to arrest Him, and there was no escape. 

But this realization of God’s Will, being contrary to ours, may not be manifested right away. It may take some time.

The Apostle Paul was a man after God’s own heart. He seemed to have suffered from an incurable sickness, and He asked God three times—apparently asking Him three times during the formal procedure of anointing by other ministers—to be healed from this sickness. Only after the third anointing did he know that God would not heal him, as this was not His Will. Paul describes this realization in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9:

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’”

Paul accepted God’s Will. He continued: “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (same verse). 

It took Paul a while to come to this conclusion. In the meantime, he had continued to ask God for healing. When we do not know yet whether God’s Will is contrary to our request, we have to continue to ask in faith. Giving up prematurely is not the answer, when God’s Will contrary to our desires had not been made clear. Christ said in Luke 18:1, 7:

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart… And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?”

God will make His Will abundantly clear to us, either immediately or in time. He may do so, for instance, by circumstances. We should know, however, that it is never God’s Will that we sin by not keeping His commandments. Even if circumstances might “indicate” that we “cannot” keep the Sabbath or the annual Holy Days, to draw the conclusion that we don’t have to would never be in accordance with God’s Will. 

We are faced many times with difficult and uncertain situations. God’s Will might not be what we would like to see, and disappointment in the case of “unanswered” prayers may be the inevitable result. We all go through these emotions, but it is important to realize that God has the best for all of us in mind. And in time, we will clearly see why God’s decisions have always been the right ones.

Other People’s Problems

Within families, there aren’t a lot of secrets. Family members know one another pretty well—both each other’s good points and bad; each one’s strengths and each one’s weaknesses.

Invariably, problems arise. Regardless, families most often stand by and offer great support in times of trial. It is rare to hear of a parent renouncing their child even when he or she commits terrible crimes.

Within our spiritual family, the Church of God, we also get to know one  another quite well—the good, the bad, and, yes, even the ugly.

How do we operate within that spectrum? Regardless of the relationship, the goal should be one emphasizing this foundational approach:

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

We probably have all heard someone say about another that they were there for them when they needed them the most. Paul wrote:

“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:1-2).

But it isn’t just the big problems other people have for which they need our help. Life is made up of many, many little things and that includes problems—challenges which might go easier with another person’s help.

Let’s make it a point to do what we can when the opportunity and the need arises to serve, remembering that we, too, can fall into that category of being the other person—with a problem!

Why You Cannot DIY!

I enjoy watching Do It Yourself (“DIY) videos on YouTube. From an amateur watch maker who restores old mechanical watches, to a farmer in Ohio who is building his backyard pond, the ability to transform and create something of value is impressive. Many of us have experienced the sense of satisfaction that comes along with building something by hand. Perhaps the task is woodworking, metalsmithing, creating a piece of art, writing something with enduring quality, and even gardening. The feeling that we can derive from a job well done is hard to describe but one knows the feeling. People use the word “satisfying” to describe that sensation of accomplishment that comes from completing a task. It is good to use the skills we have been given by God, but not good to believe that we are independent of God’s grace in our lives.

I have a work-colleague who has mentioned a prior life near the beach in Costa Rica. He would fish for the family dinner, pick fruit from a tree for breakfast, and in general live a self-sufficient lifestyle. He makes it sound wonderful and free of the usual stress and hassle that everyday life typically includes. The positives of such a life seem to outweigh the possibility of negatives but they do exist. Perhaps you will wake up ill one day and be unable to fend for yourself. One would quickly come to understand they are not quite so self-sufficient.

In Proverbs 3, and in verses 5-8, we are directed to: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.”

This is antithetical to the DIY philosophy, but to us as true Christians, it is essential that our toolbox be grounded in our faith, obedience, and trust in the Father. It is also true that God wants those He calls to be productive and use the talents and abilities He gives them. This is not a DIY contradiction because we must remember that despite all that we do and may be proficient at, we must rely on God for blessings and deliverance from the challenges we face.

Isaiah 41 outlines the many things that God does and will do for His people. It is a catalogue of His power and majesty and encapsulated in verse 13: “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’” Is this not what we all require—God to take our hand and guide us through the difficulties? As we apply our skills and energies to a problem, we must understand that we must rely on Him. The part that many of us struggle with is that if it is not God’s Will to grant a desire, or an outcome He favors, it will not happen, regardless of our skill. As He did with Moses in the Wilderness, God made the impossible occur. He brought forth living water from stone. Later in Isaiah 41,we see His powers clearly, as stated in verses 18 through 20:

“I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set junipers in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.”

As humans, we are not capable of miraculous achievement, regardless of our skill. Even musical and technical prodigies must develop and are flawed. Only God is defined by perfection. He has, however, given us a glimpse of His magnificence through His creation of all of us and the universe around us.In 1 Peter 5, and in verses 6 and 7, we are admonished as follows: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.”

True Christians must understand this and ensure that they do not fall back on the carnal expectation to rely on oneself, or one’s family, friends, or colleagues for salvation. All good things flow only from God. This includes all blessings, skills, sustenance, and even the challenges we face. In Philippians 4, and in verse 6, we understand that we are to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

In our society today, we are accustomed to receiving immediate updates for packages we are expecting. We have similar expectations for resolutions in our lives. Problems we face, health issues, and challenges involving work, are just a handful of matters we deal with in which our expertise may have little impact on the outcome. Yet, our human existence has trained us to believe that we can fix the situation. We also see the reliance that so many people in the world place on governmental leaders to deliver peace, prosperity, and well-being. Political parties and activists promote their ability to provide the answer. As true Christians, we know that this is not accurate, nor is it possible.

As we conclude, let us consider Christ’s words in John 15:4-5: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” This is what it boils down to: We can do nothing without God’s intervention and influence in our lives. When He calls us, we have a choice to make, and as the builder counts the cost of the project, true Christians must understand the full benefit that comes with trusting and relying on God.

Be Prepared

This past week, I was involved in a Jiu-Jitsu competition where I sparred with two other guys and came out in second place. 

The past few weeks though, leading up to this competition, have been tough in training and preparing for this moment. Almost 6 weeks ago, I pulled the ligament in my foot and had to take a week off, and I also had to be very careful now during training. All said and done, while it was fun to win second place, the most important thing I felt was not getting reinjured. 

While this has all been going on, even more importantly, I have been writing Q&As and messages for the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles. In all of our lives, we have moments that we prepare for. We must continue to prepare in our lives. Once we reach one milestone and one goal, more goals appear and the cycle continues.  

The Bible encourages us to be prepared in many areas of our lives. 

Specifically, we are told: 

  • To prepare by working to be able to provide for our family, and to be able to give tithes and offerings (compare Proverbs 21:20; 2 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:8);
  • To be prepared to give an answer about our faith and what we believe (1 Peter 3:15-16). This means that we have to know what we believe which takes studying God’s Word. We have so much material on our website that can be used. If we cannot give an answer to people, then we are not prepared and we should dig in a little more;
  • To prepare to be counted worthy to stand before Christ at His return (Luke 21:36; Matthew 24:42);
  • To prepare for the Feast of Tabernacles. Some will be giving messages, some will be translating, some will be giving special music, etc. All of this takes preparation and time. It should be something that we do with joy and great excitement. Whether or not we have been specifically assigned to serve at the Feast in some capacity, we should be prepared for this time and enjoy it with enthusiasm and great attitudes (Leviticus 23:33-44).

We are not the only ones preparing. Christ is preparing “a place” for us, as we read in John 14:3. 

The opportunities to prepare are given to us so that we can learn not to neglect the important things in life. The most important thing is living in a way that God is happy about. This challenge is laid out for us so that we may prove to Him that we want to be in His Family. This is an all-encompassing Way of Life that has to be studied and acted upon throughout our entire lives. 

What do you consider the most important thing in your life? How much do you prepare? 

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”

Preparations are happening for all of us in various ways. Let’s make sure we are preparing properly and with the right intent and motivation. It is then that we can make progress in our life. 

Beauty Comes From Within…

Some time ago, I found myself in the middle of a debate on how to behave towards other people. I mentioned the need for respect towards other people and that one should express oneself well and carefully by choosing one’s words without being hurtful.

My counterpart responded: “I just am who I am.”

This statement was very disappointing to me at that moment, showing a lack of respect and making it clear that there was a complete unwillingness to make a necessary change.

Unwillingness to change also means that one is not prepared to look at one’s reflection in the mirror to examine oneself, and to alter existing faults.

Conducting one’s life in such a way shows an utter indifference to other fellow human beings and a lack of concern for the behavior towards them, and such a person has no place in the Kingdom of God, for he literally would stop at nothing, thus making himself hideous. His heart is cold, and he will not find true peace in this cruel world; something that Christ wants to give us.

In Romans 12:2, Paul wrote: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

This is precisely what we are to do as true Christians: We must critically examine ourselves to see if there is not some bad characteristic clinging to or in us that needs to be banned from our lives. It does not matter how long we have been part of the Body of Christ, regardless of whether we have been converted Christians for 10, 20, 40 or even more than 50 years.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, chapter 13 and verse 5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.” There is simply no age limit for this since self-examination is a lifelong process.

Being respectful to our fellow human beings, and showing kindness and helpfulness, is a huge responsibility that God bestows upon us, especially among true Christians. If we develop such respect for others, God will be very pleased with us. And how to cultivate such respect is explained by David in his Psalms: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).

Christ expects us to interact properly with our fellow human beings, and He is the supreme role model for us that ever walked the earth as a human being, for He set an example of what is good and had it written down for the end time, for He was the light of the world (compare John 8:12).  He also taught several times, that “[n]o one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light” (Luke 11:33). And He also tells us: “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14).

It is everyone’s own decision, how bright and beautiful this light is radiating from us; however, we must ensure that it glows powerfully both within and out of us. When it does shine brightly within us and people recognize this, then we will be beautiful to look at, for this beauty does indeed come from within us!

Initial Translation: Daniel Blasinger

A Song in Your Heart

There are moments in life that are utterly delightful if we are wise enough to take the time to appreciate them. A quiet, sunny summer morning conversing uninterrupted with my wife over a good cup of coffee is what does it for me. I’m sure you have moments that fit your own formula of delight.  Those kinds of moments are the easy ones to appreciate, of course. When there’s not a problem in the world that comes to mind and everything is wonderful, the experience of joy is readily available.

The thing about delightful moments is that they tend to pass by. If we don’t take the time to acknowledge the good things for which we have reason to be grateful, we can miss out on our opportunity to enjoy the gifts of momentary gladness that God gives us. I dare say that every single day is laden with delightful moments if we are attentive enough to capture them.  But we have to be adept enough to notice them, and deliberate enough to spend our time experiencing them.

For as many reasons that we can find to be delighted, we can find just as many reasons – or more – to be disgruntled. Being human, the disruptive elements in a moment can easily inundate our otherwise blissful state of being. The neighbor’s gas-powered leaf blower on a quiet, sunny summer morning is enough to ruin everything!

Acknowledging that life’s frustrations are abundant, how is it possible to find any meaningful, lasting joy in our life? Jesus Christ gives us a clue in John 16:33, “‘These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’”

The Bible is very clear in letting us know that life is hard, especially living as a Christian! But Jesus doesn’t tell us that we just have to be tough and suffer through it without any hope of relief in this life. He encourages us to rise above the reasons that we have to complain, and focus instead on the reasons we have to be cheerful. This world in which we find struggle is the same world that Jesus Christ has overcome. And in doing that, He has given us a hope that is far greater than relief from the struggles in life. We have the kind of hope that makes all problems infinitesimally insignificant – if we take the time to acknowledge and meditate on the infinite wonder of eternal life.

We have to look in the right places to find joy. It is not too difficult to indulge in a temporary hedonistic experience, but those will inevitably lead us down the wrong path. We obtain lasting joy by being filled with the Holy Spirit, which helps us understand our life with the mind of Christ and overflow with positive emotion. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul shares his perspective that a delightful state of being is attainable to us all, inspiring us to have a song in our heart!

“Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:17-20).

Our state of mind and Way of Life is filled with inspiration of God’s Spirit. Having God live with or even within us through His Holy Spirit allows us to be thankful for ALL things. Even the hard things that attempt to disrupt our delight serve a meaningful purpose for us in our spiritual growth as we learn to overcome (compare Romans 8:28). By setting our outlook in this way, we understand that each moment is a gift from God that offers us an opportunity to be thankfully delighted, with a song in our heart, knowing that His Will is working in our lives.

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