- Posted by Edith Ohaja
- On December 17, 2016
- 69 Comments
In Philippians 4:4, Paul admonishes the believer to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Then he adds for the avoidance of doubt, “again I say, Rejoice.” It didn’t make much sense to me before, until sometime ago when I became very ill. When I would pray, I would get the ministration to be joyful. The natural inclination at such a time will be to analyze the situation, evaluate treatment options and brood over the pain and discomfort. But I was clearly told to be joyful. Repeatedly. In spite of everything.
As a result, I came up with this motto to remind myself even after that experience to pump up my joy when sadness and darkness descend: I OWE IT TO GOD AND MYSELF TO BE HAPPY ALWAYS. I even composed a short poem on it that goes thus:
I owe it the Lord and me
To be as happy as I can be
So change your looks, you cloudy skies
And let the sun light up my eyes
The cloudy skies and sun are, of course, used metaphorically in the poem to represent the things that depress and the things that cheer.
I owe it to God because He has invested His highest treasure for my sake. Romans 8:32 asks, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” And although I may not physically have everything I want right now, technically I do because Colossians 2:10 assures me thus: “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.”
So I owe it to myself to walk in that assurance that I am a child of the Great King of the Universe who loves me unfathomably and who is always with me. In His presence, there is fullness of joy and at His right hand, there are pleasures for evermore, Psalms 16:11 tells me.
I believe a cheerful disposition helps to give us a proper perspective of our situation, such that no matter how grim things look, we can see the almightiness of God, hold on to our faith and persevere till He comes through for us. Besides, doctors say a positive psychological outlook facilitates the recovery of patients.
There are many other things that depress us apart from ill health. Disappointments, bereavement and failure are some of them. But if we understand how important our joy is, we’ll allow God to guide us through every experience such that rather than being totally devastated by negative situations, we will be built and strengthened through them.
So next time a dark cloud descends on you, confess this: I OWE IT TO GOD AND MYSELF TO BE HAPPY. Then take steps to restore your joy. For example, you can listen to music or a sermon, visit a friend, watch a movie, cook something special for yourself or others, find someone in need and help them. What works for you may not work for others and the strategy that works on one occasion may not be effective on another. Prayerfully approach the matter and the right tool for the moment will be impressed on your mind.
For me, music is one of the tools I use. I have playlists on different subjects. One of them is entitled “God 2 me.” It’s a collection of songs, the lyrics of which are abstracted from scriptures where God speaks to His children assuring them of His love, protection etc. or cautioning them. Some Christian bands like Tenth Avenue North operate under a heavy prophetic anointing and have many of such songs. Another playlist is “Promises/Encouragement,” still based on life-giving scriptures that can invigorate even the most despondent soul.
I realise that some of us are going through excruciating difficulties. But no matter what, do not allow the enemy to discredit God in your life by wearing a dour face always. When a Christian is habitually sour, acting as if the weight of the whole world is on his or her shoulders, it brings a reproach to the name of God. There may be times to grieve, seek counsel, wrestle in prayer over our problems and so on. But we should not lose our joy for that joy, which flows from the Lord, is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).
Wear a smile, let your laughter ring out and let the world know JEHOVAH is good to you and whatever you need, be it comfort, good health, a job, a spouse or provision, He will provide in good time. Even if He doesn’t take away the problem, He will supply grace that the Bible infers will be sufficient for you (2 Corinthians 12:9). And let the saints say, “Amen.” Our God reigns!!!
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