Well, I haven’t made any posts in 12 days… so here I go!
This month, I am focusing my heart on learning to be joyful always. Life happens. I get caught up in fear of tests, fear of running out of money, fear of not having enough time, and on and on. How am I supposed to be joyful when I am afraid? On Sunday at church, the message was so wonderful. The pastor talked about “Disarming Anxiety.” I took some notes, so I’ll give you a short outline and explanation.
2 Timothy 1:7 [NIV]
For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
We are not to be dominated and directed by fear. The God that is in us is more powerful that what is surrounding us in the world. We are called to stand out like light in the darkness. [Matt 5:13-16]
Philippians 4:1-13 “Disarming Anxiety”
We allow our emotions to go up and down with our fortunes. Our attitudes are dictated by our circumstances. God wants to bring us to a place of stability.
“Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!”
Stay on course… stand firm.
“I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.”
Keep it together. Unity… Pursue and maintain it. Unity is a top priority for leadership. Peace comes through unity.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Being a Christian means participation and blessing with God for eternity. Rejoice in this life and if you cannot find something to rejoice about, then rejoice in the fact that we are born again and we will live for eternity with our Lord! Rejoice, whether you feel like it or not. We are too excited about getting out of here while God is so excited to get in here.
“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”
Cultivate a gracious spirit. Being a blessing to someone else is often the quickest way to lift oneself out of a depressed state. Live as if the Lord is watching every encounter you have… because he is! Nothing good happens that is done out of anger.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
NOTHING. Go to him in thanksgiving, NOT in complaints. Embrace the practice that drowns anxiety… prayer! Do not pick up what you just laid down when you leave. The condition of the world is going to get worse, but our God is on the rise as well.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
God’s anecdote for anxiety is his peace!
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.”
Adopt a “Kingdom Diet” for your mind. Meditate. When you marinate meat, what you put in it is what the meat will taste like. Who we focus on is what we will look like.
“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seein in me-put it to practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
God’s peace is indestructible. God wants to demonstrate to the powers of darkness in his church. He wants to show the earth people who can go through hell without acting like they have. (Daniel in the lion’s den; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego)
“I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
Bad news, good news. I am not defined by my circumstances. More people have been destroyed by having plenty than those who were lacking. We need to put ourselves in a position where God can do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
I’ve realized that there will still be trials, there will still be worry, but our job as Christians is to go through the trials without showing the world we have. I pray that I can become a person that fulfills the calling shown in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Another beautiful picture of rejoicing in trial is James 1:2-4. “Consider is pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
God blesses those who persevere. We are to persevere in our trials as well as in showing the love of God to the lost, no matter what the cost.
Live a life of joyful worship.