A long time ago I learned we cannot control everything that goes on around us, but we can control what goes on within us as it relates to our attitude. Dr. Charles Swindoll, founder of the “Insight for Living” radio ministry, famously said: “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% what I make of it.” Dr. Swindoll was beautifully confirming a biblical truth, which tells us that to rejoice is a choice!
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
So . . . what have you been choosing lately? Regardless of the circumstances that are going on around us, we really do have a choice to rejoice. But make no mistake, if you have developed habits of “less than rejoicing” over the years, it will take some time to break those habits and replace them with a new habit of rejoicing.
You see, rejoicing is what we call an “inside job.” Rejoicing is rooted in a right relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. And the more deeply the roots go into the soil of our Savior, the less we will be disrupted by the circumstances we face in life.
I can remember as the service at Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church was about to begin each Sunday morning, the deep, booming voice of Dr. D. James Kennedy would fill the sanctuary, proclaiming these words from Psalm 118:24:
“This is the day the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
What a wonderful reminder we heard every week! God has given us the gift of life, and our response to that gift should be to “rejoice and be glad in it,” regardless of the circumstances we might face. We must remember that nothing happens to us that doesn’t first pass through His nail-scared hands; if God has allowed it, we can be certain it was allowed for two reasons: our good and His glory.
Often, when the circumstances of life seem to be stacking up against me, I remind myself that this is the day the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. To rejoice is indeed a choice, and it is a choice the Christian should make on a daily basis.
Now, this doesn’t mean that some bad things won’t happen to us in life. Bad things—sometimes truly dreadful things—do happen and the Bible makes that clear too. Jesus told us that we will have trouble in this life. The Scriptures tell us that all things work together for our good . . . not that all things are good. But in all of it, we choose our response to everything that happens to us.
When circumstances seem to be against you, what is your usual response? Fear? Anger? Disappointment? Depression? Do you have a tendency to retreat? To sulk? Whatever your response, you can change it over time by remembering that to rejoice is a choice—your choice. The power at work within you is greater than any power that comes up against you.
So regardless of what you are currently facing, take it to Jesus and ask Him for the strength to find the pathway to rejoicing. It is a path worth finding and following, wherever it may lead.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!