One of the greatest temptations in life is to want what you don't have.
Are you single? As you look around and see couples holding hands, do you think, if only? Do you covet what you don't have? Do you wish you were thin like Jody or musical like Christy?
The 'if only's' could go on and on, but the result is the same; Discontentment equals lack of joy.
As God's children, we are all on a journey. This world is not our home. Our time on earth is a temporary excursion where we are going through a refinement process. We are being fit for Heaven. When we focus on Heaven, our true home, and when Jesus is our focal point the things of earth grow strangely dim.
As you live out your purpose on this earth place, make it your priority to journey faithfully by drawing near to God and following Jesus.
Child of God
Consider the following character traits which define the child of God who journey's, faithfully.
- Contentment and acceptance of our circumstances. Do you know how to dwell in the comfort of acceptance? When the rubber meets the road through a crisis or a drawn-out tribulation what happens to your inner peace?
- Abundant Life or living life BIG and abundantly. Do you live BIG? Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
- Joy is a choice. Choose Joy!
- Trust, the dictionary defines it this way: Trust is confidence in the honesty or integrity of a person or thing." How does trust in God line up with this definition? Do you trust God?
Allow me to take you on an adventure to explore the identifying traits that characterize the child of God, who journey's faithfully.
How do we embrace acceptance? Is it possible to accept the circumstances and position of your life no matter what? Is the believer called to accept job loss, betrayal, hardships, disappointments, and tragedies? Yes, the Bible tells us to thank God for all things. We thank Him because we know he works ALL THINGS together for our good.
Amy Wilson Carmichael, who was a renowned Christian missionary in India, penned this famous quote: "In Acceptance Lies Peace." It's true when we choose to accept our circumstances and our position we are free to experience life abundantly.
Serenity comes when you trade expectations for acceptance. Take a moment to pause and chew on that thought before reading on.
In growing up, most of us had a picture of our future life. But along the way, an unexpected turn occurred. The unplanned turn is far from our picture. This twist causes confusion, throws us off balance, upsets us and ends in doubt and discontent.
We are like sheep going astray, we turn to our 'own way,' thinking we know better than God.
Do you have expectations that keep you in a state of discontent? Are you working out a self-made plan or are you seeking His plan for your life? To be His instrument, in this life, we tune our hearts to Father God and allow His Spirit to take us places He has planned for us. The prayer of release is, Not my will but yours be done.
The apostle Paul wrote about acceptance in the midst of horrid circumstances. He said, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Phil. 4:11b-13.
Paul was in a wretched place when he penned these words. He was locked up in prison, bound with chains to another prisoner. Imagine making this bold declaration about acceptance and contentment right in the midst of your worst nightmare.
Here's another statement Paul made from prison, "I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy." Phil. 1:3-4 Paul had JOY in the midst of ugly circumstances. He was in prison suffering persecuted for righteousness, yet, he had Joy. How many of us could say our trials even begin to compare to Paul's?
Corrie Ten Boom, a precious Jewish believer, is one of my heroes in life. During Hitler's reign, she and her devoted sister were taken into captivity and put into concentration camps. They were living in filth, with an infestation of fleas. Starvation and abuse from the guards was their everyday experience.
Life, in these circumstances, would drive most people to insanity, yet, we read Corrie's thoughts about her surroundings. “How much greater is the presence of God in our midst than the hell that surrounds us.”
It is hard to imagine the depths of ugliness these precious Jewish sister's bore. Corrie declared over and over again, that her heart and her hope was set on God. He made it possible to have joy in the midst of it all.
Authentic joy stays with you and it sustains you. Wouldn't it give you wings to fly if you knew that no matter what may come you have JOY that is deeper than anything this world has to offer? We will find Joy when we accept our life exactly as it is and exactly where we are.
It Is Well With My Soul by Sisters
If you are like me, Music moves you to the depths of your soul. The rendition, featured above, "It is Well with my Soul" is sung in gorgeous harmony. Goosebumps I tell you .. I get goosebumps! ENJOY and allow God to fill you with His peace.
Do you know how precious you are to your Father? Do you get it that God sees you clearly and understands the thoughts, fears, and motives of your heart?
Do you get that He desires so much more for you than mere existence? In John 10:10 Jesus gave believers a very special message when he said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
Are you experiencing what Jesus died to give you? He died to give you life .. not just an ordinary or secure life but ABUNDANT LIFE. What does it look like to live an abundant life? Consider this list of synonyms for the word, abundant. As you read these words, examine your heart.
- Synonyms for Abundant: abounding, (I abound), big (I live big), bounteous, (my cup runs over) capacious, (my heart is filled with confidence in Jesus) enough, (Jesus is all I need) expansive, (no borders to my joy) extensive, (my life reaches wide) galore, (so much joy) generous, (I share Jesus) great, (a child of the King) lavish, (His love abounds in me) no end, (His love endures forever) plenteous, (I have more than I need in Him) profuse, (my heart overflows with adoration), unrestricted (No limit - His grace never runs out.)
Or does this sound more like your life?
- Antonyms for Abundant: Insufficient, (I am inadequate) meager, (I don't have enough) skimpy (I'm barely holding on.)
One Christian young man, Jacob explains how tempting it is to focus on what you don't have and in doing so put off living life to the full. Jacob says, "As a single, I often put conditions on my own contentment and happiness. This is how I think, I will be happy when:
- I get married
- I have children
- When I have a thriving respectable family
- a comfortable home
- a fulfilling, high-paying job
This thinking is unrealistic; we will not find joy in our circumstances. Thinking, I'll be happy when ... is a slippery slide down to nowhere good. Putting our lives on hold is not living in the moment God has given us.
The word happy is elusive and is dependent upon circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, has nothing to do with our circumstances but springs from a grateful heart for all that Jesus has done for us.
Joy trusts God and believes what He says in His word. Even when lonely or sad we can still experience the Joy of the Lord. "do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” If you read Nehemiah 8:1-12 you will get a better feel for what is happening, and why the joy of the Lord is our strength, and what brings about real joy for us.
Joy is a choice - choose Joy! Let's get practical. Do you wake up feeling depressed? Don't you want to pull those covers over your head and block out the world?
What if at that moment, you remembered that Jesus died to give abundant life. You identify the feeling as only feelings. You choose to replace the stinking thinking with the truth. Truth is found in God's word. Here are three verses to replace lies with his truth:
- Jesus said: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10 Satan is the enemy of your soul .. he wants to steal your joy, kill your purpose and destroy your life.
- "The JOY of the Lord is my strength," Nehemiah 8:10
- "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Ps. 46:1. He is with you, and He does not leave you in times of trouble
As you meditate on God's word the negative, disruptive thoughts begin to fade as the truth replaces the despair in your heart.
You are what you think. The enemy delights in throwing lies into your mind. To combat the lies, you must replace them with the truth.
Choose to think about these things:
- whatever is true,
- whatever is honorable,
- whatever is just,
- whatever is pure,
- whatever is lovely,
- whatever is commendable,
- if there is any excellence,
- if there is anything worthy of praise,
- think about these things, What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." Phil. 4:8-9
The best way to meditate and claim God's word in the midst of adversity is to memorize it. I recommend a website that makes Scripture Memory fun to do.
Praise God and thank Him for everything, even difficulties because He is working on your heart and preparing you for Heaven's splendor. Thank Him whether you feel like it or not.
Utilize Christian music to minister to your sad soul.
Joy is a choice dear ones. I pray you choose Joy in your journey. When you choose joy, you will be free to experience the abundant life Jesus died to give you.
Do you Trust God?
Do you trust God? God is your creator. He knows you inside and out. He is perfect and Holy and worthy of your trust. Walking in trust, no matter the circumstances is the evidence that you have learned to depend upon the Lord.
How about trusting God in your singleness?
Here is what Tom, a devoted believer said about trusting God in his singleness: As you read you will see the many ways Tom learned to trust God.
- “My desire for marriage was intense. It was one of my top prayer requests for almost 18 years. As a Bible-believing Christian, I had to combat the loneliness with faith. God promised in His word that if He was willing to give me Jesus, which was the greatest gift, I could trust Him for other things, like a spouse.”
- Genesis 24:7, 12 "He will send his angel before you so that you can get a wife for my son from there. Then he prayed, "O LORD, God of my master Abraham, give me success today and show kindness to my master Abraham." I was reminded that in the midst of waiting and hoping, I had at my disposal the sovereignty of God, who would even use angels to help my love life and the instrument of prayer to ask God for help. 18 years later, I met my wife. Maybe my angel was a slow one. Or maybe my prayers were too self-centered. Either way, I am reminded that I have more at my disposal than just my appearance, personality, and resume."
- Proverbs 19:14 "Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD." This verse could easily read prudent spouse/husband as well. I clung to this verse for patience. Because I married later, I had many nights I wondered if I would ever meet someone to marry. This verse reminded me that the Lord will move in His time.
- Song of Solomon 2:7 "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." As I looked around at all of the unhappy marrieds, I realized that there was a principle not to be in love before it is time. I watched some people marry before it was time. Some were too eager, others too irrational, and still others were desperate but I was reminded that love has a special type of timing and to arouse it before it was ready would be a mistake. I also saw many people in bad relationships because they would rather date anyone than to be alone. Love was not ready and trouble followed.
- Psalm 84:11 " No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." During the dark and lonely nights when there was no one to go out with and friends were busy, I reminded myself that God is a good God and He will withhold no good thing from me. My part: obey the Bible, trust my Lord and fall in love with Him first and foremost. This helped me refocus my attitude and get my mind off myself and unto God.
- Marriage is a good thing, it is worth the wait. The old adage is that it is better to be single than in a bad marriage. I agree with that. I will also add that marriage is hard enough when you are confident that you married someone the Lord lead you to; it is not worth jumping into unless you are ready and have the right one.
Tom's trust springs from a firm grounding in God's word. He has learned that God's word is truth and when he believes what it says. He really truly believes and acts upon it and he totally trusts God
- Don’t think that marriage will make you happy.
- Don’t think that marriage will solve your problems.
- Don’t think that marriage will bring you closer to God.
- Don’t think that marriage will make you a better person.
- Don’t think that marriage will fulfill your dreams. It won’t because it can’t.
Phil. 4:11 “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”
Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Tender Rendition by Kristyn Getty
A Transformed Life
ACCEPTANCE: A transformation of your life happens when you accept your circumstances just as they are. Your anchor, Jesus, will hold you through any storm that comes your way.
ABUNDANT LIFE: You find true JOY when you develop a grateful heart for ALL that God has given you. Living an Abundant life will be your new reality, one that you will live out all day every day.
JOY: The Joy of the Lord will be your Strength! Rejoice always, give thanks with a grateful heart.
TRUST: As you spend time in God's word and read, memorize and meditate on it, you will grow to trust in God. His word is living, and it is unlike any other book - it has the power to change your life.
May each of us who know Jesus as Savior and Lord glorify God with all that is within us. May we be powerful testimonies to the grace and sufficiency of Christ in our lives. He is the healer and the lover of your soul.
© 2012 Susan Ream