Most of us are familiar with the idea of a default setting. It is the setting in a computer program that can be changed, but is preset by the software makers to certain predetermined points. As human beings we have a default setting too. But our default setting is not a good one and it needs to be changed. We can think of our default setting as sin, it is our nature to sin and we do not have to work at it, it will happen naturally because we are sinners. If we want to get more specific we can think of our default attitude — ungrateful and discontent (2 Tim 3:2). Ask any parent, we have to teach our children to say thank you, and it is often a battle with teenagers because they frequently have an ungrateful, discontented attitude.
Over and over in Scripture we are urged to reset our default setting from ungrateful to thankful, from discontent to joy. It is easy to be ungrateful and discontented, you don’t have to work to get to this point, your heart will naturally pull you in that direction. Being discouraged, feeling cheated by life or jealous of others is exactly where the enemies of our soul will try to take us. The flesh, the devil and the world, the enemies of our soul, actually hate joy and thankfulness. It will take concentrated effort to resist the enemies of your soul. Peter captures this idea well: (I Peter 1:3-6)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,”
We can rejoice despite the trials of life because of the standing we have in Christ! But it is easy to take our focus off of Jesus and fall back to our default setting. You see, that is the problem. Without any effort on our part we can fall back to our default setting of being ungrateful and discontented. This is not a battle with a single fix, it requires daily effort. I often recall the words of I Thessalonians 5:16-19 as a means of battling my default settings, “Rejoice always; Pray without ceasing; In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit”. Unless we maintain an attitude of joy and thankfulness we are quenching God’s Spirit, we are pulling away from God instead of drawing closer to him.
So is it any wonder that the Scriptures command us to rejoice? Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Paul warned us that there is a battle to be fought and won. Galatians 5:16 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” You can do nothing and accept your default setting, letting it pull you and your family down. Or you can step up to the fight and find the peace and joy of the Lord’s salvation in greater measure.