Have you found yourself a bit down and sad lately? Maybe you’re in a funk and feelings of being overwhelmed have hit you in the gut. Stress can take a toll on our health and state of mind. There is no denying that the world has been hit with extreme changes this past year. How can we live through these challenging times and keep a productive and positive attitude? Always go to God’s answer book. The Bible provides us with instruction, commands, wisdom, and help.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 exhorts us to, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Mind you, to rejoice always means we ought to do this willingly in ALL circumstances. Why? Because it is God’s will. So, how is it possible to rejoice in grief, fear, and weakness? The answer is given in the scripture above. We pray without ceasing asking God for His strength, wisdom, comfort, and help. We offer up words of thanks and praise. Yes, even when we have lost a loved one or we find ourselves in poor health or in dangerous situations. God desires our sacrifices of praise. Rejoice in this scripture means to be glad and joyful. Is this an easy request? No, not by any means. However, those who have faced persecution and death have spiritually matured and increased their wisdom, knowledge, and strength by the supernatural grace of God which empowered them. As God told Paul, God’s grace is sufficient.
“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
Ever since Adam and Eve fell, humanity has had trouble. Sickness, tragedy, violence, and death are the result of sin. Jesus made it clear that there would be trouble in this world. God does give us hard times, often to test and refine us. Thankfully, we don’t have to overcome the troubles of this world by our strength alone. Only with the strength and grace of God can we be victorious. When we are attached to the vine, we are nourished and enabled to produce fruit, even during the most difficult seasons and times.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (NKJV)
Getting back to the idea of feeling overwhelmed and depressed during these difficult days. This is what the devil wants you to feel. You need to push through these emotions and with resolve take up the spiritual sword of truth (Word of God) and move forward. God’s word tells us we are fighting a spiritual battle and that He has given us spiritual armor that not only protects us from hopelessness but provides us with a weapon that allows us to advance and attack the snares of the enemy.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13 (NIV)
We can’t fight battles on our own or in our strength. We are to lean into God and allow Him to train us. He will help us through dark valleys filled with sickness, evil, and lies. To start, find a few small things in your day to thank Him for and give God your praise. This will paralyze the devil and stimulate your desire to fight. Imagine a spark that then lights a fire. Remember, there is power in the name of Jesus. Your praise can simply be His name. JESUS! Then you can progress to a few more words: THANK YOU, JESUS! JESUS IS ALL POWERFUL! JESUS IS MY HELP AND MY COMFORT! Jesus, YOU are my help and salvation! I will put my trust in YOU.
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (NIV)
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalm 68:19 (NIV)
“Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 (NIV)
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.” Psalm 138:7 (NKJV)
You will find a joy in overcoming obstacles.
~ Hellen Keller