Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:15-19: Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire.
This past week, I was talking with a truck driver that was delivering to my store. I could sense that this man was different; there was something about him that led me to believe that he was a Christian. It wasn’t anything that he said as much as the way he approached his job and the way he carried himself.
About four months earlier this same man came to my store at 7am on a Friday morning. As we were preparing to unload the merchandise, we saw a dog running loose with a leash attached, across the street at a busy intersection. This man asked me if I would allow him to go and try to retrieve the dog so that a car would not hit it. I told him to go ahead because I was also worried that the dog would run out into the busy street. About this time, three police cars came by with their lights and sirens on and that seemed to frighten the dog even more.
The man went across the street and after about two or three minutes, convinced the dog to let him get close enough in order to take dog’s leash. The man brought the dog back across the street to the truck and you could tell that the dog was very afraid, he was shaking. The driver tied the dog’s leash to the truck and we saw a collar on the dog with a name and phone number. Another co-worked got out her cell phone and called the number but there was no answer. About this time two more police cars came by with their lights and sirens on and we really began to worry that somehow this dog was connected with whatever was going on. We all began to get worried, fearing that something had happened to the owner.
A few minutes passed and we saw a police cruiser drive by on the road behind our store. The truck driver yelled and whistled loudly and the officer heard him and got out of the car and approached us. The first thing the officer asked was if we had seen a dog running loose. The driver told him that we had the dog and it was safe. The officer told us that the dog’s owner, a college student, was hit by a car at the next intersection down the street while jogging and that she was worried and asking about her dog. The officer said that the young student would be very relieved to know that her dog was safe. The truck driver was very happy and joyful and he had the biggest smile on his face as he worked hard, unloading the merchandise from the truck.
This past week as we were talking, this same truck driver was telling me about how he deals with job difficulties. He said, “I just try to maintain a positive attitude and not let the devil take away my joy.”
At first I wasn’t sure about what he meant about letting the devil take away his joy, it’s not everyday that you hear someone make a reference to the devil taking away your joy. I must admit that the first thought that came to mind was that he was one of those prosperity gospel Christians that refuse to believe that Christians can and will be faced with difficulties. However, as he continued talking, I allowed my mind to be open about what he was saying.
This man was referring more to a joyful state of mind or an attitude that says no matter what difficulties life sends his way, he has an inner joy that no one, including the devil, can take away. I believe that it was that same joy that the apostle Paul was speaking of when he told the Thessalonians to “be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” So this week, tell the devil that he cannot take away the joy that you have in Christ Jesus. Have a joyful and peace filled week no matter what comes your way.
Here are some verses from the Bible that can remind you of the joy that you have in Christ Jesus as you go throughout your week:
Habakkuk 3:18: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
John 15:10-11: If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
Romans 12:12: Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.