A sunny life

How should we live as Christians?

Joyfully, contentedly, and worry-free, suggests an enthusiastic Bible-study leader on a cruise ship my wife and I are sailing on.  I agree with him.

But how do we get there?  How do we get beyond the daily annoyances, the pressures, the tragedies of life?

It all comes back to believing what God says – and then acting on it.

I am not a great example of worry-free living.  But I am working on it as, increasingly, I realize the truth of what our Bible study leader has been saying.

To begin with, I accept that the word of God says I must be joyful and thankful, handing everything over to God in prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I am called to rejoice that I am God’s son and will be forever.  I am thankful for the many spiritual – and earthly – gifts he has given me.

The key here is that I am to bring my anxieties and problems to God – and leave them there. The apostle Peter underlines that in his famous statement in 1 Peter 5:7: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

That, indeed, is the hard part.

The reason I find it hard to hand over my problems to God is that, in my heart, I’m not sure that he will sort them out the way I want him to.  So, the issue is trust.

It’s not surprising that faith and trust are elements that run right through the Bible.  They are fundamental to living a life that pleases God.

I love the example of the apostle Paul in Acts 16.  He wants to preach the gospel in the province of Asia, surely a very worthy task.  But the Holy Spirit speaks to him in some way and tells him he is not to do that.

It is only after obeying the Spirit that Paul receives the instructions which are to change the face of church history.  He is called by a vision to go to Macedonia, taking the gospel into a new continent.

That is trust in God.  That is obedience.  And God works when we trust in him.

Paul was a man who trusted God for everything, even when things looked grim as they often did during his years of ministry.

In Philippians 4:11, he says “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances”.

If Paul could be content when he was hungry and beaten, why can’t I in my infinitely more comfortable circumstances?

The secret is trusting that God knows best.  As with Paul in Asia, I must trust God to direct me in my Christian life and service.  I must trust that he is working all things out for my good (Romans 8:28).

Then, I will be truly joyful and content – eager to see what God has in store every day.

 

 

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