One of the reasons I love Paul’s letters is the fact that right in the middle of telling us how bad it is and how much worse it could be, he suddenly stops, (and I believe) he just shouts it out. REJOICE! If our laboring for the Lord does not bring us joy, we need to realign our priorities. One of the ways we quench the Spirit is to refuse to be joyful in our walk with God. We should test everything we hear, Does your pastor’s sermons always line up with the Word of God? You should check every comment I make and see if it really fits with the Scriptures. The more we study God’s Word, the more we will see why Paul was always content regardless of his situation. God will give us His peace, and we are blameless in God’s eyes because of the blood of Jesus Christ. Fear not, God is faithful, He will do what He says He will do. If we remain faithful, we will reap our crowns (rewards) in heaven.
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume.— 2 Cor. 2:14 NLT
When we realize the height, width and depth of God’s love for us, it should make us want to obey Him from a heart of love. Our compassion for sinners should be such that we want them to feel the joy of salvation just as we do. Our testimonies will be a sweet sound in God’s ear and a sweet smelling fragrance in His nostrils. It will be the same for those who accept Jesus as their Savior. But those who refuse to accept the free gift of salvation will find our lifestyles unattractive, perhaps even to the point of being obnoxious. So, how are we to treat these people? Just as Christ continued to love us until we came to Him, we should continue to show love to them. How can we do that? We certainly are not adequate to do it in our flesh, so we have to allow God to do it through us
If we rejoice all the time, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances, that doesn’t leave us any time to be idle. Of course, we can’t literally do these things all the time, but we can develop habits that will allow us to spend more time actually doing these things. We can take all of our thoughts captive and bring them into submission under Jesus Christ.
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.– 2 Cor. 10:5 NIV
When we find our thoughts wandering into areas that lead us into temptation, doubt and worry, we need to immediately bring them back into submission. If we do this, then we will always have an attitude of gratitude. We will always be in an attitude of prayer regardless of what we are doing physically. We are not bound by our circumstances or feelings, but by our knowledge of Jesus Christ and who we are in Him. When we feel those little nudges of the Holy Spirit, we will be ready to act on them and do what God is asking us to do minute by minute. We will also find that our days are full of peace and joy as we are being sanctified daily by the Holy Spirit. We cannot do this in the flesh, God knows that. But the God that called us to repentance is able and He is faithful to finish what He has started in our lives. We are saved by grace through faith and we must live our daily lives walking by faith.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Just as Paul prayed for those to whom he had carried the Gospel, we must pray for those that we witness to as well. Jesus said to “go and make disciples” (Matt 28:18). Making disciples requires more than just teaching others the plan of salvation. Just as Paul would stay in a community and teach for several Sabbaths, we must be diligent to do the same with new converts. Then we must remember to always pray for them, asking God to fill them with His Spirit, wisdom, knowledge and insight. So that they will grow and produce more fruit for the Kingdom. We, as well as the new converts, need God’s strength and might to endure with patience. It is God’s plan that each of us share with others so that His Kingdom will grow. We must share His love with others and we must do it with a song of joy in our hearts and on our lips attracting others to Jesus.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
We should always have an attitude of gratitude. Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above. (James 1:17) This starts with the Good News (salvation) and continues as long as we are in the flesh. We have a hope laid up for us in heaven and the blood of Jesus assures us of that inheritance. We can talk about God or gods and we may not get much reaction. But, when we mention the name of Jesus, there is always a reaction of some sort. The name itself calls for acceptance or denial. The name of Jesus always produces results one way or the other. With acceptance comes salvation and understanding of the love and kindness of God. So thank God continuously for his goodness and mercy toward us. If He did nothing more than save us, that is far more than we deserve. Jesus does not treat us as we deserve, but shows us mercy every day.
11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, 12 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!
— Psalm 30:11-12 NLT
Starting today, the 2nd day of Christmas, let us continue to celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord by committing to sing His praises, read His Word and worship Him daily. This Psalm was not written about the birth of Jesus but it certainly applies to it. His coming gave the world hope and accepting Him as our Savior should turn our mourning into joyful dancing. We are filled with His Spirit and clothed in His righteousness. Our tongues should never be silent when it comes to singing praises to our God. Nor should they be silent when we have opportunities to witness to those that are lost. Living a lifestyle of joy and thankfulness will attract others to Jesus and give us even more reason to continue to praise and glorify our God.
God inhabits the praises of His people, so we should enter His gates with thanksgiving in our hearts and enter His courts with praise. After we have praised Him, He also instructs us to ask and keep on asking. He is longing to bless us when we are obedient to Him. And never forget to be grateful for what He has done, is doing and will continue to do for you. Worry will not accomplish anything useful, so just rest in the arms of Jesus and enjoy the “now”. He gives us a peace that passes all understanding, even in the worst of times.