Fanning The Flames Of Faith
Deal or No Deal: Choose Wisely
Ramona Isler: Posted on Monday, January 05, 2015 2:47 PM
Deal or No Deal: Choose Wisely
Hopefully you have all seen the game show Deal or No Deal. The contestant choose a suitcase with an unknown amount of money value. Throughout the game, the contestant chooses other suitcases and finds out the value of the cases they didn't choose. After every round the banker offers a cash trade and the contestant must decide to deal or not. Take the cash and risk it being less than the amount in the case? Or reject the offer and end up with less than what the banker was willing to give. No matter what a choice has to be made.
When I was climbing out of the throes of my depression, my mom gave me a book for Christmas called, Choose Joy, by Kay Warren. I did not start reading it right away, because honestly I just wasn't in the place to hear and or receive it. But when I did start it, I was captivated right away.
Mrs. Warren's premise is that 'happiness' is not enough to sustain you through the trials and tribulations of life. Happiness is dependent upon situations; a new house, a new car, a new job, getting money, etc.
Joy, in the biblical sense, it a CHOICE. You have to choose.
But let's be honest here, choosing joy is hard. Especially when your kids are acting up, your bank account is empty and your marriage has failed. It's hard when your job is beneath you, your home isn't what you want it to be and things look bleak.
So how and why do you CHOOSE Joy? Because joy, as given by God, doesn't take any of those things into consideration. Joy is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) so we are certain that it is from God and reflection of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Joy, according to Mrs. Warren:
"Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything is going to be all right, and the determined choice to praise God in all things. "
The Apostle Paul, who endured more in his ministry that I could ever even imagine, spoke of this often. When speaking about the thorn in his side he said he "...begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10
Seemingly Paul understood that God was in control and he could trust that everything was going to be all right. And he chose to praise God through it all.
Ah there's the rub. For me, the "praising God through it all" part has been quite the challenge for me. But I also understand now, that my praise can't be determined by my circumstances either.
If I'm gonna do this Christian thing, then darn'it, I need to do it the right way. I need to stop letting my outer circumstances affect my internal relationship with God. I need to DEAL with my stuff and I need to CHOOSE to praise God no matter what is going on in my life.
And truth be told, all of my circumstances may not change throughout all of this choosing of joy and praising of God. But you know what will happen? I will develop a deeper and more trusting relationship with God. And I will learn to be content with what I have and how I have it. I will be satisfied that in the end, the only real thing that matters is my assured place in Heaven and not this temporary hell.
*sings badly* This joy that I have the world didn't give it to me. Oh-oh-oh this joy that I have, the world didn't give to me. This joy that I have the world didn't give it to me. The world didn't give it and the world can't take it away.