Are You the Sum of What Happens to You?

by Stan Mitchell
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).
coffeespill.gifYet again Tom’s kids were late for school. He spilled coffee on his shirt at breakfast, and though he put another shirt on, he could still smell the stale aroma on himself.
A fancy sports car driven by a youth in a baseball cap turned backwards with rap music blaring, cut him off in traffic. “The worse the taste in music,” Tom thought grimly, “the louder they will play it.”
By the time he got to work, he was in a towering, thundering bad mood. And he had two choices. He could let circumstances dictate the way he treated others, or he could determine his mood with self-control. Either you control circumstances, or you control yourself. Which was the more likely?
The man telling us to “rejoice” in the book of Philippians is in prison! Paul, the author, writes from the damp and dark of a dungeon. So this is no cheery and naive exhortation to be “perky.” This is not a silly person pretending that life does not have its hardships.
The key words, in this verse, I think, are “always” and “in the Lord.” Christian joy does not come and go with circumstances. Instead, it is predicated completely on our relationship with the Lord, and is thus abiding, and deeper than the run of today’s events.
The truth is there is nothing, and no one you can truly control, except for yourself!

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