Are you enjoying your life? Do you have fun and live in the moment of each beautiful day? Perhaps the daily struggles of life keep you from finding true contentment. Or maybe you’re enduring a difficult season that has you feeling anything but joyful. The truth is that God intended for us to enjoy our lives. Yes, suffering is a part of life… the Bible says so. But that doesn’t mean our Father intended for us to be miserable. It is how we respond to the trials of life that make or break us. And His Word offers an abundance of wisdom regarding the discovery of joy and peace in this life.
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Know that God wants you to enjoy your life…
The Apostle Paul regularly reminded the early believers that suffering was a part of the Christian life. Trials will come, and we will face hardships. But we sometimes forget how we are called to respond to such circumstances.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! – Philippians 4:4
This well-known Bible verse precedes instructions from Paul on how to cope with anxiety. If you recall, the first century was a difficult time to be a Christian. They were being persecuted to the point of death by both the Jewish leaders as well as the Romans. Paul was actually in prison for preaching the Good News while writing this letter. So for him to tell the Philippians to “rejoice” is a pretty big deal.
All throughout the New Testament, believers were called to rejoice in the midst of their trials and to be thankful in them. Now, Paul wasn’t saying they had to rejoice about their suffering, but rather he was challenging them to keep things in perspective. The suffering they were having to endure was no match for the glory that awaited them. Because they had salvation in Christ, there was always something to rejoice about!
Surrender your worries to Him…
What does it mean to surrender our worries to God? Well, we first need to tell Him about them. We have to be willing to be candid with God about our concerns and needs. Remember, He is a good Father and desires for us to confide in Him.
Secondly, we have to trust Him enough to leave our problems with Him. Many of us are willing to tell God about our needs, but then we finish our prayer and walk away still worrying about the problems we just prayed about. When you finish your prayer, the real battle begins. You have to trust Him. And when the enemy tries to bring that problem to your mind for you to worry about? Remind him that you already left that issue at the feet of Jesus.
Finally, the Bible tells us to present our prayers “with thanksgiving.” Thank God for always taking care of you. Recall the times He has provided for you in the past. And thank Him for what He is about to do in your life.
Be anxious for nothing, 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 comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
Think about things above…
Part of enjoying your life the way God intended is for you to surrender your worries to Him. (Because let’s face it, worrying has a way of making you miserable!) But it is equally important to replace those worrying thoughts with what God intended for us to think about.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8-9
Can you imagine thinking like this all the time? Would your life look any different? I know mine certainly would! The truth is that when we think the way God intended we begin to see life the way He intended. Our perspective shifts to match His.
Apply the “secret” to experiencing true peace and enjoying your life…
I love how Paul finishes this section of his letter to the Philippians. He had learned the secret to being content in life. Are you ready for it?
…for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:11-13 (emphasis added)
How many times have you heard this particular Scripture? Growing up as a Christian, it was one of the first Bible verses I memorized. But this isn’t a verse about accomplishing big things or overcoming difficult circumstances. (Although on a side note, the Bible does tell us that we are more than conquerors in Jesus!) In context, this verse holds the key to enjoying your life the way God designed.
It’s not about having a perfect life with minimal struggles or problems. It’s about WHO we choose to rely on in both the good seasons and the bad.
Enjoying your life the way God intended requires us to rely on Him fully in both the good times and the bad. He is the source of our peace, strength, and joy.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Ben White at ChristianPics.co