Every day we have an opportunity to consider what the Gospel means to us. We can look at those who have yet to believe in Jesus and make an evaluation of how they are living. Not in a critical way. Not to judge them. But to compare. How are they fairing without Jesus?
Oftentimes, we may think that those who do not practice faith are doing better. We think that because their public presentation looks “better” than what we are going through, they are not dealing with some trial. And that is part of the problem. We all have become masters of deflection. We all are capable of making our lives look less chaotic than they in fact are.
To live at the whims of the circumstances of life can be stressful. Some would even describe it as being debilitating. But how do we break free from the cycle of constant crisis management? I can think of only one way—trusting in Jesus.
For some, this will be considered either cliche or trite. Or maybe even both. What I have come to realize and believe is that I cannot control how others feel about what I now know.
The longer I walk with Jesus, the deeper I go into what he taught, and the more confident in his Gospel I become. Not because I have attained some secret insight. It’s quite the opposite. I have realized my tendency to complicate what Jesus actually said and called me to do.
My confidence grows because Jesus remains faithful in spite of my struggles to be consistent. Jesus never waivers even when I have my doubts.
The Gospel’s Joy is that we will never be alone again. That in surrendering to the Gospel’s truth we enter into a relationship with the Gospel’s architect. That one of the principle promises of the Gospel is that we will be received into a new family, given a new name, and be included in a divine inheritance.
When we learn to operate according to these new realities (and so many more!) our perspective changes. Our temperaments is adjusted to match our transformed reality. Our conduct is conformed to these new expectations. Our lives are filled with joy rather than a temptation to despair.
Joy is one of the principal gifts of the Gospel. When we embrace the gift of eternal life we are given wings to fly to new heights. When we make the gift of God’s grace the guiding principle of our lives, how we see the world changes. And the reason it changes is because we are changed.
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV
Just look again at what Paul told the Corinthians. To have the joy of the Lord is not just something people say to sound spiritual (even though that can and has happened). To have the joy of the Lord is to understand that the momentary afflictions of this world are not worthy of comparison to the riches we have waiting for us in God’s presence.
What we go through in life, if we are walking with Jesus, is producing in us a “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Amen, to that!