Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rejoice Always

Opportunity Knocking: Part 4

When God sends an opportunity our way it will rarely be when the circumstances of our lives look favorable. The greatest opportunities God gives to us happen when we are down and out and our circumstances look a little bleak. These opportunities require us to respond in faith, because it will go against every instinct we have to make the most of what God has given us.

That was true with the apostle Paul who found himself in prison, chained to a Roman guard. Paul lost the freedom to travel the countryside and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. But that reality didn’t stop Paul from preaching. He taught the guards who guarded him and the people who came to visit him, and a wonderful thing began to happen, the guards began to put their faith in Jesus and Paul’s visitors were encouraged.

Paul seized the opportunity God gave him, even though circumstances were bad, by responding in faith. Paul’s faith is seen in the fact that he reached out to the people around him and through his encouragement of these people. Paul didn’t let his circumstances get him done, but he made the best out of a bad situation.

The last action of faith that we need if we are going to make the most of the opportunities God gives us is that we need to REJOICE. Paul wrote to the Philippians saying; But what does it matter? Just this, that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is being proclaimed, and because of this I rejoice. (Philippians 1:18; ISV)

The apostle Paul didn’t get upset that some people were preaching Jesus out of wrong motives, instead he rejoiced that Jesus was being preached. Paul didn’t offer criticism, only words of praise to God because of the good that was happening.

Instead of focusing on our circumstances we should focus on the positive things that are happening. Paul wouldn’t have been able to rejoice if all he thought about where the chains on his wrists and the greedy preachers. The focus for the apostle was on the advancement of God’s Kingdom rather than on his personal circumstances and that gave him reason to rejoice.

We need to open our eyes to what God is doing around us. Whether it is in our families, church families, communities, country, or world. It is easy to get depressed by focusing on the negative things about life. We can get overwhelmed when we think about all the problems, suffering, and evil there are in the world. How can we rejoice when we know that there are people who are going through great amounts of pain? How can we rejoice when our lives are a chaotic mess? Focus on what God is doing.

By changing our focus not only will we be able to see God at work in this world we will also be able to see new opportunities for us to seize. Rather than letting life pass us by we will grab the opportunities that come our way. Rejoicing changes our perspective on life.

Don’t allow yourself to dwell on the negative aspects of life. Instead rejoice for what God had done in your life, what He is doing in the world, and the responsibilities He has entrusted to you. Finding reasons to praise God helps us see our lives, and the world, in a whole new light.

  • Point to Ponder: Rejoicing changes our perspective on life.
  • Passage to Remember: Philippians 1:18
  • Question to Consider: What do you have to rejoice about?

No comments:

Our Identity

{Philippians 1:1-2; NLT}   This letter is from Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus. I am writing to all of God's holy people i...