“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
— Matthew 6:33 (NRSV)
These words of Jesus’ were spoken in response to the generally petty fears we have about things like what we will eat and what we will wear. We can extend the intention of this Word of God to the broader subject of seeking knowledge of God’s will and the commitment to carry it out.
There are at least two ways we can win within the game of life with God every time.
Both involve the seeking of and obedience to the carrying out of God’s will. The first way is to look for the silver lining upon every cloud. The second way is to choose for an aggressive joy in every bad circumstance, because we have nothing less than the full spiritual Presence of God that is the reason for such joy.
Choosing to See the Silver Lining
Not the prosperity gospel message at all, this idea is simply about reframing our expectations so whatever happens we can see the winning side out of any matter. The winning side is any dimension of issues that favour us. People call this the silver lining on the cloud—for, every cloud has a silver lining, some say.
Seeing the silver lining and not the dark thunder cloud, preferring the positive over the negative, is just a matter of perspective. It’s a choice for joy, not frustration. It’s a choice for joy, not inner conflict.
But seeing the silver lining is, at best, a worldly form of winning every time. The superior way is spiritual—where God holds sway every day.
Opting for God’s Will, No Matter What
This is without doubt the most difficult component of living the Christian life. It’s about jettisoning the want of the flesh, as we favour the want of God.
It’s about installing as a habit choices for God’s will every time.
Opting for God’s will no matter what is about choosing an aggressive joy which is procured by faith. When we meet the will of God—as it’s presented to us, as life is working out—with a willingness to be open and receptive, without dwelling on what could become a mounting resentment, we prove faithful in the moment. And we join this moment that is won to God’s will with the next moment, and so on. It takes an aggressive joy to display such faith, and we can afford to when we realise we have nothing less than the full spiritual Presence of God which is reason for such joy.
Winning with God every time is about seeing the positives in the negatives, and agreeing that obeying God’s will is always the best idea. When we view life as if God is always for us, as is the case, we stop seeing how life gangs up on us. Joy is all about perspective.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.