Joy Is Such Hard Work

St. Paul wrote (in 1 Cor. 10:13): “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Mother Teresa is said to have replied, “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”

I’ve heard that the devil steps up the spiritual warfare offensive when a Christian is about to make a big move forward, and I believe it after a couple of times of vowing “I will ‘rejoice at all times'” and seeing life’s frustrations apparently multiply the moment I start. Granted, some of this is probably less direct attack than a matter of suddenly becoming aware of the current on attempting to turn around and swim against it. The brain has its “easy flow” channels of habitual thought reactions, and it seems a lot easier to continue in misery than to go through the toil, tears, and sweat of digging a new channel. Unless we have a clear view of the reward and fair confidence of reaching it, we are unlikely to ever convince ourselves that this is worth the effort.

There are two Scripture-based principles that can strengthen our vision and confidence:

1. Remember the Sabbath, i. e., your rest-and-prayer time. If we know that changing our attitudes is such hard work, why do we attempt it when we are already worn down and exhausted? Most of us have at least a little extra time off during the Christmas season; why not use it to get some rest, build our strength, and fortify our minds to see things from God’s perspective?

2. Remember Who is really responsible for “re-creating” you. If we try to make great changes by our own will power, our fears of failure will likely be justified; “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Phil. 2:13). That’s the best news of all, for it means we needn’t worry about being “strong enough”: we are backed by an infinite and tireless Power Who has promised He will complete the good work He began in us.

Joy to the world–and to all your souls!

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1 Comment

  1. Jerrie

     /  December 3, 2012

    Thanks for the good word before we fall prey to that temptation of busyness that takes our eyes in wrong directions.


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