Whatever happens rejoice! Regardless of your circumstances – no matter what rejoice! Imagine having this mindset and attitude that whatever happens you will be content, steady and joyful.
It’s what Paul in the bible encouraged everyone’s heart position and mindset to be. Even though he wrote those words as he sat in a prison cell on death row. Yet he was still able to say with all confidence, “Whatever happens rejoice in the Lord. Always be full of joy…. Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything, tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:1;4-6)
Paul’s encouragement and expectation for us to rejoice no matter what happens was because he understood that we have an outer life and an inner one. Our outer life is the one which is visible, public and within plain view of others. It’s our accomplishments, work, reputation and all that we are seen to be doing. Our inner world in contrast is where all our secret thoughts, hopes, beliefs and desires reside.
Paul knew that when we have a relationship with God and a healthy inner world that it is possible to flourish, no matter what. Whether Paul was travelling the world doing what he loved, or suffering persecution and imprisonment, he’d discovered what really mattered in life. He’d grown to know how to keep his inner world healthy by bringing his life into alignment with what pleased God, and to anchor his soul on His care and love for him. When the deepest parts of who Paul was were in sync with each other it was far easier for him (regardless of his circumstances), to be sustained by God Himself.
Paul didn’t bother trying to manage life alone and therefore there was no longer a struggle to do things by the strength of his will or his own mental and emotional capacity. Instead of concentrating on human effort Paul focused on his inner health and in making God the one who wholly encouraged, empowered and equipped him for his life. (Philippians 3:3-4)
Paul had discovered that, “If your soul is healthy – as in all the parts of your inner life are integrated and working as God intended them to be, then no external circumstance or pressure can destroy your life. But if your soul is unhealthy then no amount of external circumstance can redeem your life.” (D Willard – quoted by John Ortberg in Soul Keeping)
Our soul is the operating system of our lives. “It is both the most fragile and most resilient thing about you; a healthy soul is what holds you together when your world falls apart. Since you will carry your soul into eternity, it’s worth checking up on it at least as often as your teeth.” (John Ortberg)
Ask for God’s help today to start to bring your inner world – your mind, will and body into alignment both with itself and with God. Take care of your soul and continually connect your whole self to God and no matter what, you will be able to run your race well, achieve your dreams and rejoice in the amazing times as well as the more challenging moments.
How’s your operating system today?
Prayer: Lord thank you that I have been made to live healthy and whole in every part of my life – both in my inner and my outer world. Please help me to be healthy, integrated and connected to you in every part of my life, so that no matter what I can rejoice in you. In Jesus name Amen.