When the disciples urged Jesus to eat something, he said, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about. My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (John 4:32-34).
There are days I feel this way. I love my work and I lose myself in it, even skipping a meal without noticing. When you get into the flow, you truly can say, “I have other food.” I’ve experienced that.
But there are other days too; the kind when the vision isn’t there.
One of the top questions Christians ask is how to deal with the tedium of life. Does this sounds like you?
- How can I stop seeing my job, faith, and family as something tedious and see them instead as an opportunity to love and serve Jesus?
- How can I keep an eternal perspective while going through the seemingly mundane parts of life?
- How can I better see the way my life, my family, my prayers and worship are valuable contributions to the kingdom of God?
We need an answer; we need to see God’s goodness in our daily lives.
The Bible tells us how to avoid growing weary and losing heart:
“Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:3).
As Christians, where does our joy come from? From considering the great work Jesus did for us.
- He saved us from our sin and from death.
- He gave us fellowship with the Father.
- He bought our way to Heaven.
- While on earth, we know the mercies of the Lord are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).
- We know he has given us all we need for contentment in him (Philippians 4:11).
And we know that joy is not optional for Christians, but commanded (Philippians 4:4).
Paul said he had learned the secret of being content in all circumstances. Then he said, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 is not only saying Paul has found the strength to be joyful. God has given him strength to face any assignment, and he is joyful because he is able to do the work. Likewise, the Apostle John’s joy came from seeing this work well done:
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4).
Where do feelings come from? From our grasp of the facts.
Why did Paul and Silas rejoice in the prison cell? (Acts 16). It wasn’t because they knew rejoicing was the “right thing to do.” It wasn’t because Christ gave them discipline to be happy even apart from any reason to be happy. No; there was a reason to rejoice.
They were counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake (Acts 5:41), which meant they were being conformed to the image of Christ and would share in his joy (James 1:2-4, 1 Peter 4:13). They knew God was in control of the situation. They had faith that he would use it for his glory (which he did). They were rejoicing in the facts, and it was a reasonable joy.
You may struggle with grumbling and self-pity.
I’m approaching my 2000th diaper change and several hundred accumulated hours of enduring the sounds of a baby crying, so I’ve been there and I am there. But remember where feelings come from: from the facts.
Unpleasant facts lead to unpleasant feelings. There is no way around this, and such feelings are nothing to celebrate. But there are many other facts worth celebrating. Don’t sacrifice those facts and feelings most worthy of your attention for the sake of those least worthy of it. Orient yourself to God’s great blessings and to the great work he can do through a heart fully surrendered.
Paul’s advice to those needing joy:
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Phil 4:6-8).
The Lord’s lovingkindness is better than life.
That’s why our lips praise him (Psalm 63:3). As you wake in the night to care for your family, know that God is there:
“My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches” (Psalm 63:5-6).
As you wonder whether your heart is ready to worship God with the gathered saints, place your hope in him:
“My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:2-5).