I don’t get it sometimes.
You’re locked up in a prison. You’re the target of unrelenting personal attack. For as many people love what you do there are others equally determined to see you suffer in the worst way possible before you leave this earth. Some of those you used to rely on have left you in the lurch and worse still have begun peddling something opposed to everything you used to stand for together. In all of that your advice to a group you helped to get going is to rejoice.
Say what? Rejoice? You must be joking. Rejoice? In those circumstances? Are you for real?
He was very serious. Very serious about us expressing the joy we have deep inside – make it known. Express it. Display it. Pronounce it. Announce it. Declare it. Even in the most adverse circumstances there is still reason to rejoice.
Why? The only thing that gives a reason to rejoice is something greater than the circumstances. The only way joy will make its way to the surface when the surrounding suggests otherwise is when something on the inside gives greater hope and a purpose for delight that even the darkness on the outside cannot overcome.
The burning light that shines so bright on the inside is the reality of Jesus. It’s the reality of the good news that He has come, lived, displayed Kingdom life and invited us to it, then was crucified to make the way clear for us to enter before defeating death itself to have total triumph and show how much greater He is than the circumstances that surround us. Not only how much greater He is, but the reality that the consummation of His mission on His return will see all the darkness completely destroyed, defeated and dismissed. Everything that caused the heartache and hatred will be vanquished. Even as that awaits we join in that reality now in seeing and demonstrating His Lordship in all things.
As that reality bubbles on the inside by the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit there’s something worth living for, there’s something worth taking delight in and there’s no reason to stay in a morose state. You might as well rejoice. You might as well enjoy this life that you have in Christ. You might as well turn all those sorrows over to Him in exchange for His joy and the truth that in Him our joy is made complete.
That is not easy, but it is worthwhile. That is very difficult to tap into when obstacles hit, but it is exactly why the Holy Spirit lives in us – to make those truths evident in those times and allow us to express that joy once more.
Tough times in my own life has definitely shown how difficult it is to live those truths out, but I am living proof of the realities of the benefits of taking this approach to life. I used to be so earnest and took things far too seriously and got morose about situations. One thing I soon realised was how little it changed me or the situation for the better. For all that it still took godly advice from loving brothers to finally get me to catch up with what God was guiding me to in it all.
It is a process in which I am still developing, but there is a stronger basis on which I am learning that through it all, because He lives in me, I might as well enjoy this life.
You might as well enjoy it too.
Even if you don’t get it sometimes.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden