“Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing,”—Psalm 100:2 (NASB).
Let’s be honest—it’s not always easy to “serve the Lord with gladness.” And we’ve all had days when we’ve been hard pressed to “come before His presence with singing.”
So, what’s a believer to do?
If your gladness in serving the Lord is wearing thin here are 3 steps that can help lead you back to joy!
1. Spend time with Jesus.
A no-brainer, right? And yet—are we faithful in spending time with Him? Let’s not mistake good intentions for actual practice. Wanting to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer is not the same thing as actually doing it. When life gets busy our devotions tend to slide. The way I know I’ve fallen into this pattern is when things start to unravel. It’s never pretty. So, here’s a reminder and some encouragement for us:
“Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. . . .The Lord says, ‘Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.’ Isaiah 26:3. Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory—character—of Christ will be received into the Paradise of God.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 331.2.
2. Be about your Father’s business.
The response to parental rebuke from the lips of 12-year-old Jesus is astounding in its depths and simplicity. Mary and Joseph, frantic with worry after searching three days for their lost Boy, finally find Him in the temple. Jesus is genuinely puzzled by the fact that they didn’t know where to look for Him. He asks, “Didn’t you know that I must be working for My Father?” Luke 2:49, (The Voice).
Daily Jesus walked with His Father. He knew exactly what He’d been called to do and where, and when, He was to do it. In adulthood, this led Him to feast with tax collectors and sinners; meet in secret with a Pharisee; spend time blessing children, touching lepers, and casting out demons. He never once allowed His work to be dictated to by the expectations, or demands, of others. He disappointed many because of this. But He looked to His Father for direction each day.
“So utterly was Christ emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend on God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 208.2.
It’s too easy to be swayed by the opinions and expectations of others. To say, “Yes,” when asked to serve, mistakenly assuming all invitations to serve must be from the Lord. We need to make certain it’s the Lord calling us to service. As we abide in Him, He will give us the discernment to know what to pick up and what to lay aside. Just remember, in following our Father’s call, we shouldn’t be surprised if we disappoint some people along the way. Our part is to walk in obedience—and kindness—and follow where He leads.
3. Gather sunshine.
I love the quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement.
When life overwhelms we can gather joy rather than fear. We can learn to flip the lies of the enemy and speak truth into our hearts and minds. Here’s a favorite promise: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you out with kindness”—Jeremiah 31:3 (NASB).
“Gather sunshine about you instead of clouds. Seek to be a fresh, beautiful flower in God’s garden, imparting fragrance to all around you”—Ellen G. White, Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 805.3.
We will find gladness in serving the Lord when we focus on, “whatsoever things are true. . .whatsoever things are pure, [and] whatsoever things are lovely”—Philippians 4:8 (NASB).
“Precious opportunities and privileges are granted to us to be a light and blessing to other, strengthening their faith and encouraging them through the heavenly sunshine in our own souls. We may gather for our own benefit precious rays of cheerful hope and peace and fullness of joy, and in so doing help everyone with whom we associate. Instead of strengthening unbelief and doubt, we shall inspire hope.”—Ellen G. White, From the Heart, p. 166.3.
Together we can serve the Lord with gladness!