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The choice to rejoice

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 9:54 a.m. CDT

What would you say to this statement?

Pain is inevitable – misery is optional.

The longer I live, the more I’m convinced it is, indeed, a choice to rejoice. It’s commonly believed that rejoicing is just a response.

Certainly, there is some truth to that perspective. If my team wins the game, I rejoice. If I receive some unexpected money, I rejoice. If I experience a happy event, such as a marriage or catching a 10-pound Walleye, I rejoice.

However, rejoicing goes far beyond the emotional response to life’s happenings. If it’s only a response to momentary events – then it comes and goes – rises and falls – depending on what’s happening now. That kind of thinking makes our attitude a roller coaster – up one minute and down the next.

The Bible says to “Rejoice evermore” (I Thessalonians 5:16.) It also says, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and I say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4.)

Now, the Bible does not command us to do the impossible. These verses of Scripture tell us to rejoice continuously – so it must be possible to do so. The Bible assumes that rejoicing goes deeper than our circumstance and situation. Take a look sometime at the verses in the Bible that speak of joy and rejoicing. It permeates the whole book.

As C. S. Lewis said, “Joy is the serious business of heaven.”

I like being around people who demonstrate deep joy in spite of having often gone through much heartache and suffering. They have learned the secret of choosing an attitude of rejoicing rather than one of grumbling and complaint.

If you want to find something to complain about – you’ll find it.

If you want to find something to rejoice over – you’ll find it.

You get what you look for. To rejoice is a choice. Look beyond the present difficulty to the future hope. Seek the solution rather than the problem. Focus on what is rather than what is not.

Whatever comes, make the choice to rejoice today.

This truth is clearly taught in the New Testament book of Philippians. Read it today and then decide how you are going to respond to things that come your way.

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