Always means all the time no matter what.
Joy is defined as great pleasure; pure happiness.
Rejoice means to celebrate.
Considerate means to cause no harm; to think of others before yourself.
Remembering those definitions read this:
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.”
Hmmm…life isn’t always joyous, is it? Or have I just failed to seek out the “joy” hidden somewhere in the yuck because it’s there. Since there is always joy in every little thing, there’s always a reason to celebrate. I’m thinking when I start seeking out the “joy” to celebrate in my life I’m probably going to be less likely to cause harm to others & more likely to put them before myself. I think I see the cycle here.
Why would anyone in this “I-generation” want to follow the cycle above?
“Remember, the Lord is coming soon.”
Of course, if you don’t believe that’s going to happen, maybe it’s easier to avoid the joy cycle and fall into the all-about-me cycle.
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”
I’ve read 90% of the things we worry about never happen, so we are all basically wasting our time and energy anyway. If anyone can help us handle the 10% of the time it was worth worrying about, I’d think God would be the one.
“Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
I’m pretty sure I’ve been really good at telling God what I need, or at least think I need, and I’m great at telling Him what I want. I’ve only recently been good at thanking Him for all He has done. I’m learning my “thank you” list is much longer than my need list. Once I started doing this, I discovered this next line is 100% factual:
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.”
I’ve been through some pretty tough stuff. I’ve got a rough-sounding road in front of me, yet God has covered me in this calming peace I find difficult to explain to others. Before I ever officially knew I had cancer, God had already prepared me, so there was no shock when I was told. Each time they’d tell us something new, it was as though God had already prepared me for that too, so I was able to go through it peacefully.
God and I talked about chemo before I had surgery. I remember the conversation clearly. I told Him I didn’t want to do it, so if it was His will, please spare me that struggle. God’s reply, which I seemed perfectly fine with at the time by the way, was, “Don’t worry, have faith in me.”
I’m pretty sure I took that to mean, “Don’t worry about it, Kandi, I’ll spare you that one as long as you hold on to your faith.”
Now, I know it really meant, “Sorry, girl, but that’s not how it’s going to play out; but if you’ll just have faith in me and trust my plan, it will be good.” Which exceeds anything I can currently understand right now by the way, but the next promise comes next:
“His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
Once I handed God all my fears of chemo, He handed the feeling of peace back to me.
Faith in God equals a peace that protects us from all the things in life that attempt to hurt our hearts and minds. Trust me on this. I’m experiencing it first hand, and it’s pretty amazing.
If you feel like a faithful servant but you’ve never been through a similar situation, try living in the “joy cycle” instead of the “me cycle”. I think there’s a connection.
My connection to Philippians 4:4-7.