|Every Reason to Rejoice|
“What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and therein do I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” Philippians 1:18
When the preacher Harry Ironside, complimented the cook at a conference center on her biscuits, she gave him a valuable lesson: “The flour itself doesn’t taste good, neither does the baking powder, nor the shortening, nor the other ingredients. However, when I mix them all together and put them in the oven, they come out just right.”
The same can be said for many of the circumstances and situations that we find ourselves in. Limitations, pain, difficulties, injustice, failure – none of those “ingredients” are palatable, pleasant or profitable by themselves. But in every case, when the circumstances of life are mixed together by God’s providence, something good results. As unpleasant, frustrating, painful and distressing as this pandemic has been on us individually and collectively, God is still in control and is working things out to bring Him glory and to share His gospel with the world.
When the apostle Paul found himself imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, it must have been an unpleasant experience, especially when he heard that some were preaching Christ out of envy, strife and contention, hoping to add more affliction to him (Phlp. 1:15-16). But at the same time, Paul learned that others were gaining confidence and becoming more bold and fearless and beginning to preach the Gospel because of his imprisonment (v.14). Although some of these “ingredients” were very distasteful and discouraging, Paul concludes with the statement that when they are all mixed together, it all comes out just right to the praise and glory of God – “Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and therein do I rejoice, yea, and will rejoice” (v.18).
And that’s the secret to a recipe for joy. It is the believer’s responsibility not to focus on the taste of the individual “ingredients,” but to keep looking at the “recipe” (God’s Word) and to the “Master Chef” (God) so that the final outcome will be tasteful, beautiful and edifying. That’s the principle Paul was referring to in Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
If your circumstances are not palatable at the moment, step back and see if you can’t find a reason to rejoice in the end result. That’s what the apostle James was saying when he wrote, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). Trusting in God will bring together all of life’s unpleasant and distasteful ingredients into a perfect recipe for joy. Do you believe that and do you act and live in accordance to that truth? “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice” (Phlp. 4:4).
|Copyright © 2020, Mark Varga, All rights reserved.|