This week's memory verse:
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29
Ok...strange thing happened this morning. When I checked Facebook first thing this morning, I read a posting from a friend, which was actually a news article about a man who claims to be happy in this life. The article was stating that this man was basically out of his mind, because science has proven that even though we want it, we will NEVER be happy in our lives...there is too much hurt, disappointment, pain and destruction in the world to ever be truly happy. What a depressing way to start the day, right? This article had me getting upset and even a little angry...I mean what's the matter with aiming to be happy? What's wrong with trying to be optimistic? Why is a person with a optimistic outlook on life looked as a freak in this world?
Then I read my devotional for the day, which is still focused on learning to be gentle. In 2 Timothy 2:14-26, Paul addresses false teachers and preachers of doom and gloom, such as these.
Verse 14: we are warned not to quarrel about words. So arguing with a person who believes the world is doomed to unhappiness is worthless...we aren't going to change their minds with our words, so it is better not to say anything. Arguing usually just leads to people saying hurtful things that later they regret.
Verse 16: we are to avoid "godless chatter". Reading and getting upset about an article I read that was clearly written by someone who doesn't have God in their hearts seems pointless, doesn't it? It only upset me...they don't care about my feelings, so why should I focus on such negativity?
Verses 17-18: Paul mentions avoiding the preachings of false teachers, and then mentions two people by name, Hymenaeus and Philetus. I looked up these two men. They were early Christians who were claiming things that were going against the teachings of Christ. They were taking Christian principles and twisting them with their own thoughts. Paul urged people to be careful not to be led astray by people with such strange ideas...listening and following them could damage a person's faith. So, if I listened and focused on those negative doom and gloom people that say that happiness is dead, I could easily start believing them and be pulled away from the faith I hold dear.
In verses 22-25, Paul gives some other instruction on how to learn to be a gentle person...putting his words into my own...we are to learn to avoid self-indulgence and instant gratification, staying focused on God instead of ourselves. We shouldn't worry about winning arguments, and think we have to be "right" in all discussions and disagreements. Learning to listen, really listen to the opinions and beliefs of others might give us insight into their souls, and help us understand them better. We need to be gentle with people, ALL people, even those we disagree with, but firmly and patiently lead by our actions and by our example. We don't know when God might choose to work on changing someone's heart!
So...what lesson did I learn today? Let the negative people talk about how terrible the world is...let them believe there is no such thing as happiness...let them believe in the doom and gloom...I KNOW WHAT I BELIEVE...I KNOW WHERE MY HAPPINESS COMES FROM!!! They can't take that away from me, especially if I don't listen to their talk! I will just continue to be who I am...smile and make them wonder where that smile comes from!
Dear God, thank you for making me the person I am, and thank you for the amazing work you have done in my life! Even though I may not have all the things I want I this life, you have enabled me to keep my happy, optimistic attitude. I pray for those in this world who don't know you, and don't have you to draw happiness from. I am thankful for your forgiveness and renewal in my life. May I smile and let your light shine in me so that others may see and be drawn to you. Amen.