Having a Bad Day?
How’s your day going? Are you having a bad day? Did you wake up late this morning? Did you get your coffee? Do you have a lot on your agenda today? It’s interesting that if our day isn’t going nearly perfectly that we get into a bad mood. Have you noticed that? Unexpected inconveniences can create tension in our life and cause us to be angry, annoyed, or just grumpy. I know it happens to me.
While some might think of having a bad attitude or just being “grumpy” isn’t a big deal, and not sinful (which is wrong, by the way). For Christians a bad attitude goes against who we are, what Christ has done, and what we need to do. As Christians we have been redeemed by Christ, not just so that we can be saved, but so that we can have a relationship with God and tell others. Have you ever skipped your prayer time or reading God’s Word because you were angry? This “grumpiness” can get in the way of our relationship with God and lead us toward other sin. A bad attitude can also make others not see the light of Christ in us. We are called to live out the Gospel so that others, including your co-workers and family, can see the Gospel in us and come to Christ. How can they see the Gospel if you are not living it because you’re too frustrated by minor inconveniences? They can’t. Our pity-parties at how our day has gone can have disastrous and eternal effects.
So are we supposed to be happy robots? And never be annoyed?
We’re not perfect, obviously. We still wrestle with our flesh and lose, a lot. This doesn’t mean that we just give up though and say “It is what it is” in a defeatist attitude. Rather we should be fighting our negative attitude over inconveniences. We need to be be proactive in our preparation for these moments of weakness. We know they will happen, we might not know what exactly will happen, but we can count on our day having unexpected bumps in the road. If we are not prepared for those bumps, they can drive us off the road into sin, but if we plan on how to deal with them beforehand we might avoid their effects. It would be easy to say pray and read your Bible, but there is something more we can do.
We can work on the spiritual discipline of rejoicing.
Philippians 4:4 reads, “Rejoice in the Lord always ; again I will say, rejoice.” There are three key factors to understanding this verse and how it applies to believers. First, this verse is a command. It isn’t a maybe for Christians to do if they are feeling like it, no rejoice! Second, we must see that this verse is a constant in the life of a believer. “Rejoice…always” means to do it everyday, all-day. Greg Forster writes,“The Bible commands us to rejoice all the time. God says that if there is even a tiny fraction of a split second when we’re not rejoicing, that’s disobedience.”
At this moment we could stop and get depressed. How can I rejoice all the time when things go wrong in my day? How can I possibly rejoice when this is going on? Well, because the source of joy is not in our circumstances. That’s confusing happiness with joy. Happiness is the immediate emotional reaction of something pleasing. Joy, and rejoicing, is deeper than that. It’s a choice to be heartened or encouraged by a source. Lastly, this verse shows us that the source of our joy is not circumstances, they change and can be discouraging at times, rather the source of our joy is “in the Lord.” As Jac. Müller writes, “Not circumstances decide whether there will be joy, but in the Lord, in loving fellowship with Him, the believer can and must rejoice under all circumstances.”
We have so much to be joyful about. We have a loving Savior who gave up everything to be with us, to give us an eternal hope, and enable us to live a Godly life here and now. So practice the spiritual discipline of rejoicing. Don’t wait for the time of testing, rejoice now. By rejoicing in the Lord always, you will be better prepared for those moments when things just won’t go your way. You will be better prepared to focus on your Lord rather than on your circumstances.
Forster, Greg. The Joy of Calvinism: Knowing God's Personal, Unconditional, Irresistible, Unbreakable Love. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2012. Print. p. 13.
Müller, Jac J. The Epistles of Paul to the Philippians and to Philemon: The English Text with Introd., Exposition and Notes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955. Print. p. 143.