LIVING JOYFULLY BY DAY, SLEEPING PEACEFULLY AT NIGHT
It is wonderful to wake up in the morning from a peaceful night’s sleep and face the new day with joy and anticipation. I must confess that I have not always been as successful in doing either of these to the degree that I should have, but as I have gotten older I have grown in my appreciation of the fact that this is the way the Lord wants it to be, and I am thankful that I have grown in the ability to achieve that purpose.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This has absolutely nothing to do with the “health and wealth gospel” of modern televangelists, but it has everything to do with being in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Because of such a relationship, I am able to live joyfully by day and sleep peacefully at night.
The Bible affirms that “the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). The Psalmist declared, “And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation” (Psalm 35:9). It is only as one has come to know salvation through Christ that he can face life each day with joy and pillow his head every night with peace. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
The prophet Jeremiah spoke of the joy one finds in having his or her life molded, shaped, and guided by the word of God. “Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; for I am called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16). Indeed, “The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8), and the person who will read, study, reflect on, and lay up God’s word in his heart and seek to live by it can live joyfully every day! Conversely, “Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek [the Lord’s] statutes” (Psalm 119:155). Consequently, their lives are spent in pursuit of that which does not bring either joy by day or peace by night.
How are our lives to be lived every day? Recently, while walking at the local Y, I overheard two older men (somewhere around my age) talking about the approaching end of life. One said to the other, “Well, it’s been one h*** of a party.” I do not know by what standard he measures life as a “party,” but I could not help but think of Paul’s statement: “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:5-6)
The old apostle further said, “I have learned in whatever state I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11). That is a goal for which all of us should strive. The Lord wants us to be a peace with Him and to live lives of joy and contentment. Christians are to “let the peace of God rule (literally, “act as an umpire/arbiter,” hf) in [their] hearts . . . and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). We are to pray “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (I Timothy 2:2).
Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” For many years I have gone to bed early and arisen early in the morning. In so doing, I have enjoyed a healthy and relatively pain free life, achieving one-third of the benefit of Franklin’s maxim. (Note: If a baseball player hits .333 he is likely to win the league’s batting championship!) David said, “I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me” (Psalm 3:5). He further wrote, “I will both lie down in peace and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
Let us all examine our relationship with God, our relationship with our fellowman, and strive to live joyfully by day and to sleep peacefully at night.
April 14, 2015