by Rev. Howard Rosen, Jr
Rev. Howard Rosen, Jr
Pleasant Grove Baptist
One of the greatest privileges of being a Spirit filled Christian is to have the ability to give thanks even when things are not going our way. Although that is not the popular characteristic of most folk these days.
I’m sure you have noticed that people are habitually ungrateful and a stranger to happiness in this day. That my friend is by choice, looking too much on circumstance to determine their attitude about their thankfulness.
We have a lot to be thankful here at Pleasant Grove. The service last week was one to never forget. But if we aren’t careful Satan will steal our joy and replace it with ungratefulness and discontent. Let’s take a look at the attitude of the prisoner Paul and learn from his attitude of gratitude even in his prison cell.
1. Paul has put his emotional, mental and spiritual focus on the good things he had in Christ. He could have felt sorry for himself, he was facing possible death. The Romans were hunting him like a dog, and many of his friends had deserted him, yet he gave thanks, for he knew God was in control. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
2. Paul died to his own selfish interest. He says Gal 2:20 He knew the importance of dieing to self in order to increase the message of Christ. Many great leaders in our past have taken this message to a lost and dieing world. Shortly after the Civil War a lady brought a child for General Lee to bless. He told her to teach him to deny himself. At the same time he had guest in his home and he polished their boots in the night.
3. Paul allowed every circumstance to teach him more about Christ and his will. Phil.3:7-8 But what things were again to me, those I counted loss for Christ, Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for Excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them as dung that I may win Christ.
Every encounter can either make us bitter or better. We get so wrapped up in things, and things for the things, and things to keep the things going, and things to store the things, and things to clean the things, but Paul says it is but dung!
4. Paul saw every problem as an opportunity to advance God’s kingdom and righteousness. He says in Phil. 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death.
5. Paul was more than of a harvester that maintenance man in his thinking. He saw how the problems he faced could help bring fruit to the church. He wasn’t looking for some quick-fix plan like many do today. Many never have joy because they never let God take their sin and go on for the glory of God; they always need to be fixed from the problems of their sin. Like high maintenance women, you know they will cause trouble.
6. Paul thanked God for everything, because it kept his focus and priorities on Christ. 2 Cor. 6:10 He says As sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich having nothing and possessing all things.
7. Paul thanked God for everything because he knew in whom he believed, and knew God was able to keep everything all the things he had entrusted in him. When will we learn that God will always keep his promises and always do what is best for us. Praise Him; Praise Him for his mighty power. Trust Him!!
8. Paul thanked God for every situation because he knew that God could use it in a greater witness for Jesus Christ. Also he knew he would grow in wisdom and insight into the ways of God, and be in peace for trusting him. Christians always win when Christ is given a chance to be victorious.
9. Paul says in verse 19 speaking to yourselves in songs and hymns, because he knew praising God is infectious and we could be a help to each other if we praise God and thank him always. It is hard to be grumpy with others praising God around you.
My friends we have a reason to praise him.
We have not faced near the troubles that Paul has.
We serve the same Great God so THANK HIM!!