Words from the Heart for Tuesday June 28th, 2016
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
Philippians 4:4-5 (NIV)
Writing from a prison cell and having been falsely accused, Paul tells us to rejoice in the Lord. Are you able to give joy because you trust in God despite your outward circumstances?
It appears that Canadians are not quite as happy this year as we were in 2015. In the annual global happiness index released last month, Canada dropped out of the top 5 to become the sixth happiest country in the world. To compile the ranking, editors considered the GDP per capita; the healthy years of life expectancy; social support; trust (measured by a perceived absence of corruption in government and business); freedom to make life decisions; generosity (measured by donations); and new this year, happiness inequality. Happiness is argued to serve as a better indication of human welfare than income, poverty, education, health and good government when measured separately. Denmark has repeatedly taken the top spot in happiness and life satisfaction rankings be it the UN or the OECD, thanks in part to generous parental leave policies, gender equality, work-life balance, and safety.
Happiness is one thing – joy is quite another. Real joy, that is not influenced by our circumstances, is something that the world cannot provide. Those of us who live in first world countries can find happiness in the material goods that we enjoy and in the social safety net that gives us a sense of security, but real deep down joy is something altogether different. That only comes from having the assurance that all is well between us and our Creator God. And THAT only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Which is why the Bible says in Philippians 4:4-5: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” This verse is well known by Christians – we are commanded to rejoice, which is one of the easiest commands in Scripture because it is impossible for anyone who has met Jesus Christ by faith not be filled with joy. It is a fruit of the Spirit and is immediately evident in the life of anyone who has given their life to Jesus. But what we often miss is the last statement: the Lord is near. This is ultimately the foundation of the joy. We walk moment by moment with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, who is Christ in the life of the believer. No matter what is happening in your world today, if you love the Lord, Jesus is with you, filling your life with His joy. So, rejoice!
These have been words from the heart.