“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
By Pastor Jim Miller
In an effort to live a little more simply, my wife and I are trying to get along with just one car — truly a first world problem! So every so often, I’m taking public transit to work from the east valley, and wimp that I am, I caught myself saying the other day, “If I only didn’t have to ride the light rail, I’d be happy!”
I think we all fall into that trap at times. We allow the circumstances of our lives to define who we are and the quality of life we’re living. “If only I had a better job … a more compassionate manager … a higher salary … a nicer place to live … more reasonable roommates … better health …” Fill in your blank.
Too often I allow the hard situations of my life to determine what kind of a person I’m going to be. To define my character. To influence my outlook on life. Then I respond in anger or frustration or depression because my circumstances aren’t what I want them to be.
Think of what your “If I only had _____” thing is. And now look at what Paul writes to our fellow believers from Thessalonica: Rejoice! Pray! Give thanks! And not just for good things, but give thanks in all circumstances.
And why? Because this is God’s heart for you — that’s just crazy. Yet I don’t think Paul would tell us to live this way if it weren’t possible. Instead of my circumstances defining how I act, or what I feel, or how I treat others, there somehow has to be a way for me to live out of the truth of who God is and who He has made me to be, to trust that He is at work and have that reality define my circumstances or job or whatever.
The moment I allow my joy, my peace, my purpose to be determined by what’s happening around me, I set myself up for the “if I only had” syndrome. The only problem with that is that when I get the new job, or the job after that, or the job after that, the common denominator in all of those is ME. I need to allow my joy and contentment to flow from my trust of God and His love for me, instead of from my situation.
The next employee Chapel at Building 71 is from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 11:30 to 12:30. Pastor Jim Miller is speaking.