It’s always amazing to me, how God speaks to us in scripture in new ways. More times than I can remember I have read this verse from Paul’s letter to the Philippians and yet I had never noticed the word ‘safeguard’ before.
--Rejoice in the Lord. Not just because we have lots of things to give thanks for
(although we/I do)
--Rejoice in the Lord. And not just because God somehow needs us to sing his
praises (He doesn’t)
--Rejoice in the Lord, because it is a safeguard for you!
I have a confession to make. I am not always the most joyful person; in fact, I can be downright negative and judgmental at times—you may not have seen that side of me, yet—for which I am thankful—but it’s there. Chris will vouch for me on this, I promise you!
So, these words from Paul, struck a chord in me last Friday as I read them in my morning devotions. As I read them before going to spend the weekend with all of Chris’ family for our nephew’s wedding—knowing that I was going to have to deal with one of his family members who has this almost inherent ability to get under my skin! And let’s just say my attitude in the build up to the wedding weekend was not very joyful.
--Rejoice in the Lord, Paul says, it is a safeguard for you…which made me realize that I needed an attitude adjustment before I even got to the wedding rehearsal! After all, why was I focusing on one person, instead of giving thanks in being able to spend time with Chris’ family in celebration of our nephew’s wedding?
Well, the wedding went off without a hitch and I am glad to be able to say that God’s word, spoken to me through Paul, did indeed bring about an attitude adjustment—so much so that not only did I enjoy the weekend, but I found myself with a more forgiving and loving attitude toward the person I was dreading the most.
Count your many blessings, name them one by one, the old song goes. Rejoice in the Lord, Paul writes multiple times. Why? Because there is power in the things we focus on. When we only look at the negative. When we only look at what we don’t have. When we dwell on what we are lacking. It depresses us—makes us negative people--make us less than what God intended. But when we focus on the blessings. When we focus on what we have. When we dwell on what we have been giving—we will find ourselves rejoice and even more importantly we will find ourselves strengthened for the road ahead!