“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We’ve been talking a lot about thoughts, labels, and believing in God’s best for our lives. As we consider the Biblical basis for these things, it’s impossible not to recognize that the Apostle Paul was the champion. So today, we’re going to look at some of the circumstances of His journey and learn a few things from the story of his life.
It’s easy to imagine when Paul tells us to rejoice always, give thanks in all circumstances, and dwell on things that are pure, lovely, and admirable, that his life was full of bliss. However, this is far from the truth! Even though he altered the course of human history and is legendary in our Christian heritage, when he was alive, things didn’t look as pretty. First of all, contrary to what you may envision, Paul was probably very short; in fact, the name Paul literally means “little one.” Far from being a giant who towered over his enemies, he likely had to look up to most of them. Then there’s the point that people thought his sermons were boring. According to Scripture, Apollos was the preacher everyone liked to listen to, but not Paul. In fact, one time as he was speaking, a guy sitting on a third story windowsill fell asleep and crashed to his death, so the apostle went and raised Him to life again. Even worse than his height and undynamic speaking style, Paul was shipwrecked, beaten, stoned (nearly to the point of death), and imprisoned. Many of his most famous letters were written while he was in jail. This is not exactly the life of someone with a silver spoon in hand!
Friend, my point in sharing these facts about the life of the Apostle Paul is to encourage you that anyone has the power to change their thinking. If a man who was marginalized, mocked, and abused could write our most famous Biblical admonition to stay positive, then you and I can follow his lead! You see, expecting good things has nothing to do with circumstances — it is a product of faith in the promises and goodness of God. Regardless of what you’re facing today, your spirit can rejoice and your mind can find peace because your Lord never changes. Gaze at Him when the world around you spins out of control and you will find hope!
Jesus, I am grateful for the Apostle Paul. Thank you for using his life to teach me how to shift my focus by rejoicing in your goodness, regardless of what is happening around me.
Like Paul, are you facing challenges today? I encourage you to give them to Jesus and ask Him to bring to your mind something good and noble that you can rejoice in.
Bobby – blessings to you, Hannah , Cohen and Haven. I pray for you all from here in TX.