Lauren Snyder, CedarCreek’s Executive Director of Ministries, gave a message this past weekend that blew me out of my negative thinking! I am normally a cheerful, energetic, positive force of nature. Just ask my brothers, sons, and husband. But something happened during what seems like an ever-growing number of tragedies and trials that have been swirling in and around my life for the past twenty months.
Although I know and embrace the verse, “all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose,” at some point, I lost my sense of amazement, hope, and joy (Romans 8:28 CSB). I became fearful, short-tempered, sickly, and lacking in motivation. I began to feel like a failure with no future and no hope. What the heck?!
I specifically began praying about my dilemma, and God sent Lauren and her message on “Meh vs. Meaningful” to get me back on track.
Lauren shared how God can, and will, move us from meh to meaningful, and joyful, if we ask him into our lives as our Savior, the one true God and leader of our lives. She then proceeded to unwrap verse after verse as proof that when we just stop “being in charge” and walk with him in his light and love—no matter what is going on in our lives—he will bring us joy and meaning. He is, was, and always will be the source of all peace, beginning the moment you turn your life over to him.
In John 10:10, it reads: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy..” He does it in different ways, such as by using our thoughts to guide us into a state of generalized dissatisfaction and frustration, or by leading us to embrace anxiety and fearfulness about the future. But when Jesus finished the statement with these words: “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
In Matthew, Jesus explains how he will renew our joy:
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
As a former horse trainer, I can tell you with certainty that custom-made equipment isn’t a burden. It actually helps to make the job easier for the animal—which is exactly what Jesus promises us if we embrace him as our Savior.
God has more for our lives than we can ever know. He wants us to choose him and to live an abundant and satisfying life. That doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it will be purposeful.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
How are you doing emotionally these days? Do you find yourself feeling discouraged, fearful, angry, or even hopeless?
Do you want to have a meaningful, joy-filled life or merely exist?
If you haven’t done so, carefully listen to Lauren’s sermon and take notes. Look up the verses she explains, and write them down. Pray for understanding.
If you haven’t already released your grip on the lie that you are somehow in control of everything, it’s time to admit to yourself and God that you need to accept and embrace him as the one and only God of your life. Apologize for denying him that position. This is the path to joy and salvation.
If you’re ready to accept Christ into your life, acknowledge God loves you so much that he sent his own son to save you by paying the price of your sins and dying in your place. Then share that with someone who can celebrate with you and help you grow as a new Christian.
If you are already a Christ follower but struggling with the thoughts that are holding you down, pray and ask God for relief. Then see your Campus Staff or Group Leader for more ways to experience Lauren’s examples of how God can restore you to peace, purpose, and joy.
Lord, I praise your holy name! Thank you for Lauren’s amazing message that has reset my mind and emotions back onto the joyful path Jesus died to give me. I love being joyful, helpful, and motivated by your love and your word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
This post was written by Martha Smith, a regular contributor to the LivingItOut Bible Study. Martha describes herself as a lover of Christ who likes to share faith with others.
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