Always rejoice, sow joy in everything

Neighbourly Advice According to Ed

Rev. Raymond Maher

Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, noticed that I was showing too much of a positive attitude for him to stomach this January. “I like you better when you can be counted on to be negative, faultfinding, and complaining,” he told me yesterday. He questioned me, “How long will you feel joyful when you have too many bad days, weeks, and months in a row?”

“I’m trying to see the glass half full rather than half empty,” I told Ed. Then I said that I’m testing the reality that my life doesn’t have to be full of good days to be joyful. 2020 is my attempt to choose to have a positive, joyful attitude, no matter what happens each day. I believe joy doesn’t merely happen to us. Joy is the result of our willing thoughts of rejoicing in our God as our life unfolds daily.  Rejoicing is an ideal toward which I work. I am too often comfortable with being less than joyful usually when I get up in the morning.

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Ed said to me, “You make joy sound like gas in a car’s tank, that it is up to me whether I’m running on full or empty of joy. Where are the gas pumps to fill up my joy? If rejoicing is a choice, I may choose not to be joyful. I regularly get satisfaction in being disgusted, offended, and complaining.”

I told Ed that many do choose to be grumpy instead of happy. It is not easy to keep a joyous attitude no matter what comes our way. I think keeping a joyful mood comes from our faith in God. God gives joy that cannot be shaken by bad days or death. To the very heart of our rebellion, sin, sickness, and death, God sent His Son to save us from ourselves. Jesus gives the joy of God’s love and forgiveness to anyone who will accept them as their own. Jesus died but arose from the dead on the third day so that we would never forget the joy of life over death, forgiveness over sin, and love over hate.  

Rejoicing in the Lord will lead us to His peace that guards our minds and hearts. Rejoicing in the Lord always means we need to have the right attitude. We still hold on to our joyfulness no matter how bad our circumstances become. We trust God is near and will accomplish His will here on earth as it is done in heaven. When faced with anxiety, frustration, or doubt, we give them to God in prayer, rejoicing that God can calm our fears and doubts. We rejoice that God surpasses our understanding and guards our minds and hearts, with His joyful peace of salvation through our faith in Jesus.

Philippians chapter four instructs us as Christians to: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.” Because God is near to us through our trust in Jesus, we know God cares for us. We cast our worries and fears on God in prayer in thanksgiving with joy. We always rejoice in God’s peace.

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