My last post was about focusing on what you bring to church as opposed to figuring out what it is that your church is doing for you. So this might seem awkward timing to talk about how amazing my new pastor has been. It is a balance. You want to be somewhere you can contribute and be a part of the community. You should also be enriched by the community.
I realize how truly blessed I am to be in this situation. I am at a great community. Our pastor has been doing a series on attitudes, and it has truly rocked my world. There hasn’t been anything that was blowing my mind, just simple truths that have been reiterated.
This week was on “A Joy State of Mind.” The first scripture reference was from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
“Be joyful always: pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
I was at first taken back at this because it struck me as awkward. Have you ever been in a bad mood and someone tells you to just “buck up” or “be happy.” It never seems to help, or seem possible.
But, then I was reminded of a time when I was going to a study group on dating and marriage when I was in college. One of the things that the teacher said that has always stuck with me is… “behaving in love is more important than being in love.” He would talk about married couples who would not feel “in love” with their spouse anymore. They had “fallen out of love” with their spouse. He taught that if you act and behave in a matter of love, that the feelings would be there. Great stuff!
I translated that in my mind to this scripture. “Be joyful always” seems pretty unrealistic in this world. All of the mundane tasks of dealing with life, finances, and relationships. But, if I read this as “Behave joyfully always” it seems more attainable, more tangible.
We do have the ability to choose how we act, how we approach the mundane tasks and life. It is also interesting to know for all of the struggles in trying to figure out what God wants for us, what His will is… it is this… to behave joyfully… He even spells out how to do it… praying all the time… and being thankful…
No matter how stressed I can get about life, and right now in my life some financial concerns… I have the ability to pray, and even more importantly… have so many things for which to be thankful.
I got a ton out of this weeks message and so I will hopefully have the time and discipline to write and share more this week.
So, here is my challenge for my week…