Occupied with Gladness of Heart
Happy Thursday, all! If anyone is like me, you probably woke up this morning totally exhausted, with an achy body, and a headache. Thursdays can be tough but Friday is coming! And if you are anything like me, your life is 100% insane. This week has probably been full of wonderful moments where you think your heart could burst and there has been moments where it was all you could do to keep from crying or hurting someone. I hear ya. I am right there with you.
If anyone is like me, there is probably something going on in your life that is making you absolutely insane. It's sad, it's hurtful, and it makes you angry. If anyone is like me, right now the negative seems to be outweighing the positive. Your outlook on this situation is blurred by tears, emotions, and Satan's well-timed and well-planned attack. You're swimming in a fishbowl of dirty water. Like I said, I'm right there with you.
Recently, I have been reading Ecclesiastes during my time with Jesus and so far, I have learned a lot. I have learned a lot about perspective and where I place all my worth. I have been challenged. I have been stretched. I have been changed.
And then yesterday happened.
I was in the middle of my quiet time with Jesus and I had just finished my extra-long, extra-bitter rant to Jesus about all the things going on in my life that made me upset, frustrated, angry, and just plain mad. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Then it was time for me to read a section of Ecclesiastes. So this particular portion was about money and riches and being grateful for what you have and the very last verse of this particular chapter said this:
"He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart."
Occupied with gladness of heart. BOOM. Instant conviction.
Just as I finished telling Jesus how justified I was in my anger, He tells me to be occupied with gladness of heart.
So what exactly does that look like?
"Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18
As soon as I read this I immediately said, "Do you really mean all circumstances?" And the answer is yes. So in a bad circumstance that makes you angry and upset, be thankful. What could you possibly be thankful for? People change, people let you down, people make mistakes but Jesus doesn't. Be thankful that you have entrusted your life to someone that will never "drop the ball" or hurt you.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God."
In other words, let go and let God. That is most definitely easier said than done. I want so desperately to be in control and I want so desperately for people to do what they say they are going to do and to do what they know is right. When they don't, I struggle big time. I struggle with completely forgiving them and forgiving myself for trusting them and forgiving myself for being so angry. When this happens my prayers can sometimes be filled with anger and wanting someone to do the same thing to them so they know how it feels and me wanting them to realize what they have done because I feel entitled to an apology. But according to this verse, my emotions are not wrong but my perspective is. My request should not be that someone else hurts them in the same way but rather that this circumstance would bring them closer to God. I should desire salvation and renewal, not vengeance. I should also be thanking God that He is in charge and not me.
"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. When you are upset or angry ask God for His perfect peace. Sing praises to Him and give thanks to Him for His faithfulness. Whatever you do, do it for Jesus and with thanksgiving in your hearts.
I want to challenge you. Anytime you are upset, frustrated, angry, hurt, or any negative emotion, make a list of all the things that you are grateful for and all the things that you have been blessed with. It won't take long for all those icky emotions to be replaced with joy and thankfulness. Be occupied with gratefulness of heart even when you feel like you are justified to icky emotions.
Be occupied with gratefulness of heart even when everything goes wrong. Be occupied with gratefulness of heart when someone has wronged you. Be occupied with gratefulness of heart on rough Mondays and hard Thursdays. I guarantee you that someone will ask you why you are so happy and then you can share the love, joy, and peace of Jesus Christ with someone who may not know Him.
"Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!"
2 Corinthians 9:15
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I am currently a teacher and life-long student of Scripture learning more about life and Jesus's marvelous love and boundless grace.