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Self-Examination: Am I Showing the World What It Means to Follow Jesus?

“For this is what it means to be a king: to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there’s hunger in the land (as must be now and then in bad years) to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your land.” King Lune of Archenland, The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis. My mother and my wife were talking the other day about how few people decorate for Christmas. We certainly have, though we don’t have much of a budget (If I had a bigger budget, we’d have more lights out! Yet I can’t help but notice that, while there are Christmas trees in more than a few windows, there are so few lights out. Some of this may have to do with time, I am sure, as some just don’t have the time or energy to decorate, but I’m more certain that people are finding less and less joy in the season of The Advent, and their homes are a reflection of this. There is a sense of hopelessness in the world, depression and despair seem to reign everywhere. This is why, as scantily as it may look, I decorate my house. I want, as C.S. Lewis writes in the Horse and His Boy, “to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in my land.”

As a believer in Christ, whatever despair the world throws at me, I must respond in Joy. It’s no mere accident when Paul writes “rejoice in the Lord, always. I will say it again. Rejoice!” He was writing this from a prison cell in chains! Joy must be the hallmark of the believer, and why? Because this world is not our home! We have been delivered and rescued from the rebellion of our hearts, restored to Sons and Daughters of the Most High God through the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Joy should radiate from us, even as we suffer and grieve. While the natural response is to lament what we miss or don’t have, the Spiritual response is to rejoice and have joy in any and all circumstances. Cheer up Christian. Laugh loudly, rejoice heartily, celebrate mightily with the little you may have; the Lord your God is with you! You are a child of the King, show the world the joy you have by the way you respond to any and all circumstances. Rejoice, for the Lord your God shows you favor, in that He sent His Son to pay for our rebellion, that we may be His forever more! Philippians 4:1-13 Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord. Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

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