Rejoicing

WHY DO WE WHINE SO MUCH?

We complain easily and we complain a lot.

As Christians we complain despite the reality that our life has the proverbial “embarrassment of riches”. The fullest description of our wealth of blessings may be what we find in Ephesians 1:3-14:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.”

A believer who habitually complains – is somewhat like Bill Gates moaning about his finances, or Michael Phelps whining that he doesn’t have enough Olympic medals.

In addition to what Ephesians describes,

We have God’s unfailing Word that we can read and follow in all situations

We have the Holy Spirit – all that God is – living in us

We have Christ who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords interceding on our behalf

We have the open invitation to cast every burden upon our Lord Jesus

We have the Church which God raised up to bless and support us

We have the wondrous promise that every situation will work together for our eternal good

So how are we using this treasury of ‘riches’ from God?

Yes, our mouths should be open and we should have a lot to say. But let it be praise rather than complaint, thanksgiving rather than grumbling. These are the appropriate responses for all who are in Christ! As the Psalmist declares,

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised”

 

A SCRIPTURE TO MESS WITH YOUR MIND

We know we should rejoice over God for His perfect character and gracious works. God has earned our rejoicing, and He never ceases to be deserving of this fruit from our lips. 
 
But, did you know that as a believer, God rejoices over you?! 
 
At first that might sound like bad theology from an over zealous new believer who hasn’t yet learned how to grovel before God. 
 
Well, this is not mixed up thinking, it is a direct quote from the Bible. Isaiah 62:2-5 declares:
 
The nations shall see your righteousness,
    and all the kings your glory,
and you shall be called by a new name
    that the mouth of the Lord will give.
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
    and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
    and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
    and your land Married;
for the Lord delights in you,
    and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
    so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
    so your God rejoices over you. 
 
We are not used to language like this when we consider how God’s looks at us. We are like a jewel in God’s hand? He “delights” in us? He “rejoices” in us?
 
How can these things be so, when we are no good, lousy, rotten, sinners?!
 
Well, yes it is true that we are sinners and at times we still act pretty lousy. However, the work of Christ is wondrous beyond the realities of our lousiness. Christ not only took our guilt, through Him we were made righteous and we became a new creation. 
 
And the Holy Spirit not only has come to live in us, He has brought us into adoption as the very children, indeed the precious and delight producing children of God. 
 
God could look at us with the critical eye that catty reporters have for actresses walking the red carpet at the Oscars. But instead God chooses to look at us through the patient eyes of an adoring husband. Yes, He can see our messiness, but more wonderfully, He can see us now for the everlasting beauty we will become. 
 
We may feel more comfortable punishing ourselves for our frailties and the ugly manifestations of our sinful nature. However, God while not overlooking any sin, always sees us through the gospel which encompasses us. 
 
Just as we don’t please God when we push against His wise commands; neither do we please Him when we push off or diminish the true expression of His love and yes, His “delight” for us. 
 
This does not mean we are given license to focus on and delight in ourselves. Rather we are invited to feel the full security of God’s embrace, and we are encouraged to splash our feet in the refreshing waters of His eternal, perfect, boisterous and unfailing love for all whom Christ has presented to Him.