My favorite verse in the bible is Philippians 4:4. It reads:
Rejoice in the Lord always; I will say it again, rejoice!
Some people, including myself, have a hard time living this verse out. Take Elmo, for instance:
Our furry friend seems to have some serious emotional problems. One second he’s ecstatically happy, the next he’s nearly suicidal with despair. And why? All because the green frog won’t play with him right that instant.
We’ve all acted like Elmo before, haven’t we? Much like Kermit promises Elmo everything he wants, God promises us everything we could ever desire. Yet we complain because we want it all right now.
Elmo is guilty of an error many of us make in life. Elmo is not finding his joy in the right place.
This Muppet’s problem is that his happiness is conditional. Elmo is only happy if the green frog plays with him. The dangerous word at play here is the word “if”.
“If” is a word much like Ryan Seacrest – it is small but powerful and often used in many negative ways.
“If” comes out to play in our conversations with God all the time. “I’ll be happy IF I get this new video game.” “I would be so happy IF I had some extra money.” “IF only my parents would stop fighting I would finally be happy.”
The problem with the word “if” is the things we attach to it are never good enough. There is no object we can tie on to the word “if” that can satisfy all of our desires and cravings. No girl, no guy, no object can ever be a long-lasting source of happiness.
That’s because these things are imperfect. When we entrust the salvation of our emotions to imperfect things then we are destined to be let down by their imperfections.
When we rejoice in a girlfriend, in an iPod, in money, or in success, our joy is short-lived. All of these items are temporary. And these so-called joys have the power to send us spinning into an Elmo-like outburst when they fade away.
So I urge you today to take heed of my favorite verse and no longer rejoice in the world, but rejoice in the Lord always.
Rejoice in the fact that if you follow God, and you profess your faith in Him, you will have eternal life. Even better, you are locked into this eternal life and nothing can ever take it way as Jesus promises in John 10:27-29:
My sheep recognize my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. So no one can take them from me.
What a promise! I pray that these words inspire a happiness in you which no circumstance will ever take away. Even more, I hope the happiness from knowing God is on your side will influence your circumstances and change your perspective on them.
May you make the most of the opportunities before you. May your joy be so strongly rooted in God that no green frog can steal it way. May you rejoice today because you cannot be stolen away.
What is your “if”? What’s the one thing you pray to God about, hoping “if” you had it you would have the happiness you long for? Leave a comment below and join the conversation: