Some of you are experiencing great blessings in life. Some of you are going through a difficult season in life. What is the correct response of a Christian disciple in either situation? I think the answer is to remember what Paul writes in Philippians 4:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus…11b for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
It seems to me that the short version of this passage is: No matter the circumstance, choose to be thankful.
Carole and I recently attended a concert and heard the FSU Gospel Choir sing a song quoting Nehemiah 8:10 “the Joy of the LORD is my strength.” Then the composer turned the phrase around and stated, “The strength of the LORD is my Joy.” I like that. It reminds me that God’s strength never fails. That I can draw from His strength when mine is not sufficient. That God has promised me His presence always. I can have joy because of Him – not because of my circumstances.
Have you seen the advertisement that wishes you a Happy Thanks Getting? We must remember Hebrews 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
If your situation this year is full of blessings, remember the source is God.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
If your situation this year is full of challenges, remember the promises and provisions of God. His power and presence are constant and sufficient. 1 Peter 5: 5b Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.