January 26, 2009 Ration
I Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Giving thanks in the bounteous, easy, or preferred circumstances seems almost natural. Hopefully we have a heart that does so. But not all circumstances naturally produce thanksgiving to God in our natural-man heart. This is why Paul needs to remind us of the way to freedom when in the undesirable circumstances: it is to give thanks to God that He rules over all, and that He works for us in our weaknesses through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Artists, remember what Paul says in II Corinthians 12:9-10: But [God] said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The will of God is for Christ to be glorified. The will of God is for Christ to be glorified in us. The will of God is for us to enjoy the glory and the glorification of Christ in us. It is the will of God that we give thanks to Him for the sufficiency of His grace to us through Christ in every circumstance so that we may enjoy the power of Christ resting upon us. What fellowship that is! Paul says again in Philippians 4:12-13, I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
It is the will of God that we enjoy the complete and particular glory of Christ, artists. So when God intends to flex an unusual bit of grace our way through a circumstance of weakness, do we embrace His invitation for a unique fellowship? We must! Unique fellowship with Christ is an incomparable pleasure. We must always give thanks to God that He rules over our every hour, our every weakness, our every need, because only then will we be in the right state to receive and enjoy the fullest fellowship with Christ that God intends for us in that hour. Let us not quench the Spirit with anxiety or ungratefulness. They are only thieves. Let us, rather, recognize the circumstance of weakness for what it is: an invitation for a unique union with Christ in that hour. Would we truly want it otherwise?
A life in the arts gives occasion for many unpleasant and undesired circumstances. But let us embrace those circumstances with thanksgiving to God that where we are weak, He is not; that where we are lacking, He is more than sufficient for the problem; that where we do not know how it will play out (let alone play out for our good Romans 8:28), He does and will lead us. God works for those who wait for Him, and by this proves that He is unlike any other (Isaiah 64:4).
Artists, let us put on patience then in the circumstance of weakness. Let us recognize all thoughts within that proceed not from faith, and slay them immediately. Fretting leads only to evil doing (Psalm 37:8). And let us start from a position of thankfulness to God that He is not bothered, but delighted to give grace to the humble man. Our undesired circumstances are the desired rendezvous of God. Hunt for Jesus in that hour, artist! And when He shows up, you will be giving thanks again. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us.
© 2009 The Gaius Project