The little boy squealed with delight as his dad pushed him higher and higher on the swing. When he could catch his breath he would shout, “Higher, daddy,
It is so enjoyable to see a little child that just can’t stop smiling because they are having so much fun. However, every parent also knows that the smiles could turn, just as quickly, to tears if the fun activity stops. The child’s happiness in this case is based on the circumstances. When the circumstances change the emotions change and everyone around soon knows it.
The giggling boy can turn into a temper tantrum throwing terror just by being taken off the swing.
Not only should we, as parents and adults, teach kids that such behavior is not acceptable, but we should also be a good example. The weather, the news, our health, drivers around us and everything else can affect our attitude. The truth is that most people are like the little boy taken off the swing, it is just that their temper tantrum looks different. This should not be the case and with God’s help it does not have to be this way.
Our satisfaction and joy should not come from what others do or from things that we have no control over. The fact is that we have very little control over our life. We do not know what will come in the days ahead. We could face sickness, a car accident, a hurricane, the “wrong” political party winning, or rebellious kids. We don’t know what tomorrow holds but we can know the One that is in control. God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die and pay for our sins. He offers us the gift of eternal life, completely free. If we trust Jesus as our Savior, believing that He paid for our sins and we cannot earn our salvation, we can know for sure that we are going to Heaven. This does not mean that life will be easy. Our Heavenly Father knows what we will face in the days ahead and He promises to be with us. He does not promise a problem-free life. Instead He promises us that if we live a godly life, we will suffer persecution. This does not mean that He is weak or that He
doesn’t care. He loves us and wants our faith to continually grow and that cannot happen with us living the easy life.
Anyone can have happiness when everything is going the way they want it to, but it takes great faith to have real joy when life comes to a screeching halt.
Men singing praises to God is not too unusual. It happens all the time in church. It may even happen in the shower or in the car with the radio drowning out your voice. It would be unusual if 2 men that were just beaten almost to death, and then thrown in prison, were singing. Not only were they beaten but they were beaten for serving the same One that they were now singing to. This is exactly what Paul and Silas were doing at midnight in a smelly, rat-infested dungeon about 2,000 years ago. They had true joy even when everything seemed against them. Their happiness was not contingent on getting a good night’s sleep or the sun shining. They were walking with the joy-giver and so they were joyful no matter what happened. This singing led to the jailor, his family, and probably many prisoners trusting Jesus Christ as their Savior. The result of their joy was the start of a new church in Philippi. The city would never be the same because two men were singing in the midst of a trial.
Now are you ready to be convicted? How do you respond to trials? Do you throw an adult temper tantrum? I can’t say that I react like Paul and Silas. When we have the wrong reaction, we are missing out on an opportunity to change the life of someone else. People notice when you don’t react like everyone else. People will notice when you have the peace that passes all understanding, which only God can give. The object here is not so that we are noticed. Our goal should be that others notice the God that we serve. Our lives should bring glory to Him. Maybe this doesn’t convict you, but I know that this has convicted me.
I know that God can change our community for His glory. The first change that must take place is not in the life of “someone else”. The first change is in my heart and your heart. We can’t expect God to change others if we won’t let Him change us. If each of us would do this I think we would be amazed at the changes that God will make.
Please go to our website at calvaryflorida.com and learn more about what God is doing in our church. Also, through our website you can be directed to our YouTube channel where you will find many messages which will soon include one on true joy.