Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Too Sour to be a Saint?

Every one of us wants to have joy. In 25 years of ministry I haven't run into a person who desires to be joy-less. Such a grouch would be too sour to be a saint!
"That's easy for you to say, Pastor, 'cause everything is so perfect in your life!"

Well, I am blessed. But blessing is a spiritual thing- not a physical thing. In other words, just because I am "blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus..." (Eph 1.3) doesn't mean that my boat doesn't get rocked by the waves of life. In fact, the mere fact that I have those spiritual blessings is cause for demonic attack! My adversary doesn't want me to translate the spiritual blessing into trust , contentment, and joy.

James 1.2 tells me to think of my trials and temptations as causes of celebratory joy. The only way I can think of doing that is by focusing my mind on the eternal strengths that I am gaining during this difficult time of temptation and trial. He guarantees in the following verses that perseverance, maturity, and wisdom are developing in me during the tough times. Shouldn't we be acting out our joy?

I recall a person signing on for a position as an usher in the church. When I refused his service in this capacity he came to me quite angry. I explained to him that the ushers face is the first that most people see in the church and that I hadn't seen a smile on his face for many months. "Really? he asked," ... I guess your right." Once I pointed out to him that his lack of a smile was a sign that he had no inner joy he was brought to the point of repentance. Yes, repentance. When we allow our joy to be stolen by the adversary of our souls we have ignored the counsel of scripture (rejoice, again I say...) and have determined to live in our own way.

I am glad to report his service was "with a smile" for many years after that. So how about you... are you too sour to be a saint? Have you learned to experience joy inspite of the many obstacles to it? Have you lifted up your countenance by lifting up your eyes and fixing them on the joys of salvation? Or is your joy dependant upon earthly circumstances?

1 comment:

LO said...

I do have a smile on my face for some many reasons... Not because I have everything together, but because I know that "he who began a good work in me is faithful to complete it".. because of that.. I can smile. Knowing that he is not finished with me yet. And if and when I fall, he is right there with his hand stretched out reaching to lift me back up again. Not acting or wearing a mask, but being transparent to let people (brothers/sisters) know my heart. That I know myself I have not “arrived” and have this “walk” down pact. Always willing to learn more and check my self. Fully realizing that when we think we have it all together we need to go back to the basics!

I tend to have the face of "all is well" all the time :D (Smile) but really, I've learned to change that... if someone asks me "how are you doing?" and I'm not doing well.. I share it... figuring they asked for a reason, and why lie/hide the truth. This is good and bad, but discernment has to come into play here as well. Not telling everyone your business all the time, but having people in your life you trust and know that will pray for you, is such a blessing. Although at times, People let you down, it just reminds me once again where my help comes from. Am I looking to people or to Christ? Do I go to him first or my "friends"? God has showed me this first hand how.. HE is the reason I go to church and He has called me by name for a purpose! Not People...

So regardless of how "life has me/trials" ... I keep a smile on my face simply due to the fact that God is not finished with me yet, and I'm a continued work in progress.

Standing on his word that "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jer. 29:11)...

So even though life tends to get me down every now and then.. I know HE has a plan for me and he will not leave me nor forsake me.