Inner life shapes outer attitudes

Inner life shapes outer attitudes

The joy of the Lord is your strength – Nehemiah 8:10

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 16 Always be joyful.

 17 Never stop praying.

 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

21st-century life is filled with challenges and demands unimagined of in previous generations. How often do we hear the phrase, “it’s complicated?” Our schedules are full of activities and responsibilities. One has only to consider those who are affectionately called “soccer moms.” In the “old days,” kids on local high school teams would typically board a bus and drove 10 to 40 miles to a game. Today soccer moms dutifully drive hundreds of miles to allow their children to participate in sports. Somehow, these devoted and loving moms can juggle their schedules and make it all happen. They have learned the art of time and life management.

It seems like everywhere we turn we find an Overwhelmed Opal, Gloomy Gus, Anxious Ashley, or Doubting Dave. For them, life is more like witnessing an autopsy and being present at a joyful celebration filled with happiness and hope.

Paul tells us how to be successful in both simple times and in complicated times. Rather than telling us to try harder, Paul tells us to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him the center of our attention. How? We have to change our way of thinking. Rather than concentrate on our obligations and duty with the frantic worry, struggling to get everything done Paul offers an alternative. He provides three simple imperatives: be joyful, pray continuously, and give thanks always.

Rather than allowing life to overwhelm us, we accept each day as the Father’s will for us. We decide in advance to have a positive attitude, an attitude of faith and dependence upon Him. Then we simply follow through. Eventually, it may well become our normal practice and routine.

Pause for a moment, and reflect. Can you imagine the Father ever in a hurry and, disappointed or sad because He failed to get something done?

Neither can I.


When we look at all the things around us, we can easily become overwhelmed. It seems that there is just too much to do, and too little time. More time is not possible, but better time management is.

Father encourage me to focus on You, practicing joy and thankfulness in every situation knowing that all things come through Your hands. It is all part of Your well-thought-out intelligent design for my life.


Nehemiah 8:10 Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!

No matter how far we have fallen, no matter what we have done, the Father always remains our strength and protection. The Father has provided something for each child of the King to sustain them undergird them, and uplift them. It is like a supernatural miraculous elixir. It is described in one simple word: joy. But it is not just any joy, it is “the joy of the Lord.” More particularly, it is the joy in the Lord. That is, the joy that children of the King experience when they rejoice and delight in the Father’s presence. Many have only heard of such joy; others sipped a taste. But some have drunk and their fill of the delightful presence of the living Father God. How sweet it is.

The Hebrew word translated strength is maoz. Maoz literallyreferred to a mountain stronghold or fortress. The word is most frequently translated as strength in the Old Testament. It “denotes a place to which one would flee in time of danger (Barnes). “It means ‘bulwark’ or ‘protection.’ NJB translates the whole clause as ‘the joy of Yahweh is your stronghold.’ FRCL renders this ‘The joy that comes from the Lord will give you strength.’ CEV restructures it to say, ‘he will make you happy and strong.’ [The Hebrew] proclaims ‘the joy of the LORD is the strength of you.’ . . .  ‘the joy of the LORD is your rock of protection’” (UBS).

This thought was along with Psalm 46 the inspiration for Martin Luther’s hymn, “A mighty Fortress is our God.”

We can rejoice when we realize that our omnipotent, omniscient Father arranges all the events of our lives. The Father using His infinite brilliance has thought everything through. He exercises His power and authority to accomplish His purpose. He not only arranges our circumstances; He is with us in them. He is always with us and never leaves us.

Matthew 28:20 Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

Paul is clear in the steps of action we are to take.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 16 Always be joyful.

 17 Never stop praying.

 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Prayer is spiritual breathing. Most of the time, breathing is spontaneous and involuntary. It is regulated by the autonomic nervous system and takes place without conscious effort. In the same way that we breathe air without ceasing and we can pray without ceasing. This type of prayer becomes an attitude of dependence and continual conversation.

Over time, some children of the King have through much determine practice, master the art of spiritual breathing. They unconsciously pray without ceasing, turning to the Father for direction, guidance, and inner peace. It has become a delightful habit and way of life. They have learned to thank Him not only for the good times but the difficult, trying times as well. They instinctively seek to learn what He is teaching them in whatever circumstances they find themselves.

Developing a thankful spirit should be the goal of every child of the King. We should develop a life practice of gratefulness. Our first response to the vicissitudes of life should be gratefulness rather than questions, objections, and challenges.

Sadly, we have all experienced the opposite. We know what it is like to complain and be discouraged, to feel irritated, frustrated, angry, and resentful. How often have we rehearsed and acted out the sad routine of bemoaning and mourning how things are.

Instead, every child of the King should practice, practice, practice gratefulness.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

The choice is always before us.

Philippians and 3:1 Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.


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