Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | April 5, 2019

Rejoicing Each and Every Day

What Does God Require of You?

A message I always get from the Old Testament is the amazing patience of God. I’m particularly fond of the advice given to Israel in Micah 6:8 where it is written:

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God.

To do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God is something we can all do from the greatest to the least of us. As born-again Christians let us think more on what it is the Lord requires of us.

The vast majority of us are what might be called, “ordinary Christian men and women.” We will not be listed in the history books nor have statues erected in our honor but we will have made the most important decision anyone can make in this mortal life; we will have received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and joined the ranks of God’s elect and members of God’s royal family!

While the reality of that decision is eternal and unalterable, we are left with the responsibility of living out the balance of our mortal lives in an alien and hostile environment. I have written more on that in “To the Soldiers in the Spiritual War.” This is part 1 in a three part series which discusses our situation as soldiers of the Lord, living out our lives on a spiritual battlefield.

The question I would like to consider now is the impact of our spiritual situation on our quality of life. What does the Bible tells us about how we should face life and deal with the reality of the spiritual war which surrounds us?

What Does the Bible say on Joy?

God knew from eternity past that his children would grow up in a difficult environment and has provided a lot of guidance and counseling in the Bible to help us through the tough times we would encounter. While there are wonderful words of advice in both the Old and New Testaments my thoughts are always drawn to the verses in Philippians 4, where Paul writes:

“4 Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”

As I look at the key points being made, these come to mind:

1. Always be full of joy in the Lord.

2. Don’t worry about anything.

3. Tell God what you need and be thankful for all he has done.

4. Focus your thoughts on the right things, things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

5. Apply those things to your life at all times.

What should you expect if you do those things? You should expect to experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. You should know, with complete confidence the God of peace is with you, now and forever!

Inner peace does not remove us from the spiritual battlefield but it can protect us from the emotional conflicts which assail so many. Every Christian who has ever lived has faced this conflict between external turmoil and internal peace. What is important is to spiritually rest in the Lord as we faithfully serve him in accordance with the gifts and opportunities we have been given.

I’m reminded of the story of Hudson Taylor who, as a missionary to inland China, had to learn the vital necessity of resting in the Lord in the midst of external pressures. By God’s grace, he learned the value of the “Exchanged Life” which permitted him to faithfully serve the Lord in difficult circumstances with complete inner peace. I have written more on this in “The Normal Christian Life,” a two-part series on the exchanged life.

Why do I Bring this up Again?

As an 86-year-old Christian great-grandfather, it saddens me to see brothers and sisters in Christ who are still trying to carry their burdens alone. I can say with complete honesty I am filled with the joy and peace of the Lord the great majority of the time. This is with absolutely no credit to me, all I have done is learned to rest in the Lord; I have learned to embrace the exchanged life; the life I live belongs to Christ.

My favorite life verse is Galatians 2:20 where it is written:

20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Each chapter in the book, “Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret” starts with a short poem or quotation; Chapter one starts with one that has captured my imagination and buried itself in my memory; I encourage you to let it do the same to you.

One final word of advice from the Lord:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

This, I believe, is what the Lord requires of his children.


Responses

  1. Good morning David,

    Here’s a blast from the past ☺️

    Thoroughly enjoyed your post this morning as usual… It was a true blessing for me, especially as Galatians 2:20 has been my top “life” verse which has sustained me for many years!

    I fell and broke my shoulder in November last year & I had surgery in December… I’m doing very well, thank the Lord.  Since I wasn’t able to get out a lot, I have been watching the HUB live on YouTube and I’ve been following the pastor search. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the study of Acts and now the calling of pastor Chris Kouba & his lovely family… I am so thrilled for the church, and pray God’s direction for my family to be in church together once again…If it’s His will, maybe at First Baptist Humble🙏

    Anyway, I just felt the need to share, and to thank you again for all that you’ve done through the years sharing and teaching God’s Word so faithfully! 

    I know…. to Him be all the glory;☺️, But, we all have a free will and everything is a choice…So, I’m thanking you for choosing His Will soooo much that it impacted sooooo many of us in such positive, long lasting, life-changing, blessed ways!!

    See you in Glory, if not before,🙏

    Jan

    Like

    • Jan,

      How good to hear from you! I’m sorry to hear about your shoulder and hope you are fully recovered. On the Sunday’s we aren’t in attendance, we too watch the live streaming of the worship service at the HUB. We were blessed by being able to be present in person and join in the vote to call our new pastor and were pleased and impressed with him and his credentials. I’m delighted you have been blessed by my ministry and hope to see you and your precious family soon at church.

      In Christ’s love,

      David

      Like

  2. Amen

    Like

  3. David: how are you two doing? Love your posts but I’ve always struggled with JOY as a daily attitude when handling challenges, especially as I’ve got older. Any sage advice, my Friend?

    Like

    • Dave,
      This is an important question and deserves some discussion; would you like to get together for a cup of coffee to think about it together?
      David

      Like


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