Like the sharp, jagged edges of torn metal, I’ve noticed how the negativity of the world has been increasingly cutting into my spirit. Selfish words, destructive attitudes, needless pessimism, paucity of faith – all of this wounds me. I’ve become sensitive to it. I’ve grown to hate and detest it.
The irony here is that I often practice and add to the negativity I so abhor. With my angry words, my criticism, my snarky sarcasm, and my encouragements to discouragement, I become those very edges of metal which cut and tear the tender hearts of others. How sad!
Maybe because of all this, I was recently struck by the words of Psalm 100: “Serve the Lord with gladness.” Yes the world is a tough place, yes our Christian faith demands much – even all – from us, yes we can be disappointed by others (even as we disappoint them), and yes there sometimes seems little rationale for hope, but Christ can wipe away our fears and failures with a simple wave of his nail-marked hand. Negativity is not from God, it’s from us. The Christian seeks the light rather than fearing the darkness. We are moving forward into glory, not descending into the horror of hell. So why would there be any other option than to, “serve the Lord with gladness?”
We are blessed, you know. God is working tirelessly in our lives. And it is in the most difficult and trying moments that he often does his most impressive work. But let’s make sure that we are not adding to the Lord’s burden by sowing negativity in his vineyard. Rather than selfish words, maybe we can simply keep our mouths shut. Instead of a brooding attitude, it would be so much better if we sought the good in life (because the good is more pervasive than we imagine). In the place of unhelpful pessimism, let’s try some God-inspired hope. And where faith is in short supply, it may be wise to do the audacious: to believe in spite of our doubts.
Serve the Lord with gladness! He wants to fill us with joy and he wants to carry our burdens. He asks us to be light in the darkness and he asks us to trust in his love. There is plenty of negativity in the world, but far too little inspiration. So as we smile, pray, laugh, avoid speaking ill, and overlook the faults of others, God’s beauty will pervade our hearts, our lives, and our world. This is his promise. Serve the Lord with gladness!
Be assured of my prayers,