Due to our late return home on Sunday night, we wound up lighting the 3rd Advent candle, Joy, last night.
We read verses in Isaiah and the Thessalonians. I kept thinking about the Philippians verse: “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice” written by Paul. He was encouraging them to stand firm despite conflicts and adversity. We shouldn’t let our petty problems get in the way of furthering God’s kingdom.
Now the Bible doesn’t dismiss or belittle our situations. If we read the Psalms, we see amazing laments to God; a book rich with honesty and vulnerability. However, Scripture does emphasize the need to put our situations into perspective. We shouldn’t be so consumed with this world that we indulge strife with others, hold grudges, seek wrath, and follow fleshly pursuits. Christ should be our pursuit. People should notice a stark contrast before we were followers compared to our life once we became followers of Christ. If friends and family can’t see the difference, or state that we are in fact more judgmental, we must assess how we are living out our faith.
I have a tendency, okay if I’m honest a constant struggle, to complain. I never seem to be satisfied with where I’m at. I tend to be a driven individual. Being a motivated person can be great in that I have several passions but it also means that I can become inclined to agitation and venting when I’m not “achieving my goals”. Too often I want others to see things the way I do.
I will increase in joyful living when I begin to appreciate others as Christ intended. When I love my neighbor as myself, not critiquing them or myself any chance I get, and seek God’s hand in the mundane. By doing so, I might just experience the greatest joy of all—satisfaction in God’s will and his creation, his reign over my own.