Are You Missing the Joy of Life?

Spreading The Truth One Byte At A Time

By Ron Bender© 2008, 2013

Read The Bible

Stop Horsing Around and Find Joy.

“Grin and bear it” we say to force a smile and push ourselves through to the end of a situation that is painful or stressful. But Jesus showed us that life with him in the kingdom of the heavens is much better than that! Let me tell you a story that illustrates the difference between “Grin and bear it” and rejoicing in the kingdom of God.

The year before I was married I worked a lot of different jobs. No one was kind enough to pay for my wedding or honeymoon. Being a skilled craftsman in the printing industry I was blessed to get two printing jobs and worked 70 hours a week and worked on a farm on weekends. I especially liked working for this particular farmer because I got to ride his tractor and play with his dog and he’d always feed me lunch. But the best part was that he paid me $10 an hour – in 1982!

But there was one job he gave me that was awful: shoveling the manure in his horse stables! I’d put on fishing boots that went all the way up to my thighs, grab the pitchfork, fill up the trailer with hay, back the tractor with trailer into the stable, dump the hay into the stable, grab a shovel and start shoveling into the trailer the hay that was now soaked with urine and filled with manure. I had to stand in horse poop and pee that went up to my calves! What a stench! What a disgusting place to be! I worked as fast as I could to finish the job, but it took hours.

Stinking Thinking!

As I shoveled the manure my thoughts ran along these lines:

Gag! I think I’m going to throw up! I can’t even breathe! And my arms are getting so sore. Oh, I hate this job. I hate shoveling horse poop! Why am I doing this anyway? These aren’t my horses. It’s not worth the money. I am so stupid!

Arghh! This is taking forever. Look, I’m not even half done yet. What’s the matter with me? C’mon, Ron, can’t you work any faster? Get moving! Get this done! You’re not very strong. If you were in better shape you’d be done by now…

On and on went my manure thoughts. It was miserable shoveling the manure, but it was even worse being inside my head! I was muttering complaints and self-criticisms and putting pressure on myself to work harder and faster. For many years I did that kind of thing to myself when I was under stress – it’s no wonder that I struggled so much with anxiety and depression. Even as a church-going, Bible-reading-Christian I talked negatively to myself.

Can you relate? Do you criticize yourself? Does your mind run with negative thoughts? If so then you too are missing out on the joy of life.

The Joy of the Lord is Always Available

As a young man I didn’t know what I have since learned by experience: in an unpleasant situation it is possible to rejoice in God’s kingdom by renewing my mind with Scripture. If I had known better thirty years ago then I could have looked beyond my putrid circumstances to see with the eye of faith and to appreciate that I wasn't’t just standing in manure I was also standing with the risen Christ in his glorious kingdom! I could have directed my thoughts in meditation on God along these lines:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances… (Philippians 4:4-5, 11).

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

“Grin and bear it”? No! Rejoice in the Lord – whatever your circumstances. Trust that the Lord is near to you and he is using your troubles to form you more and more into the glorious image of Jesus Christ – and that, my friends, is something to get excited about!

I should have been rejoicing for with the blessing of the work I was doing I was able to pay for our wedding, the honeymoon, and have some to spare to start up house. If I knew how things would turn out I would have been rejoicing!

More Help is Available

Jesus is joyful! And he’s brought me and many people I counsel or teach into the joy of his kingdom by teaching us how to live in his “easy yoke.” You Can Live in Jesus’ Easy Yoke you can learn how to “take hold of the life that is truly life”  (1 Timothy 6:19)– even if you’re shoveling manure!

 

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Thank you!

Ron

Ronald Bender- President/CEO Bender Consulting.~http://www.benderbytes.net/bender_consult

 

 

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