We all know that the joy of the Lord is our strength. But what if we don’t feel joyful? Does that mean we’re just weak? No, it means that Joy isn’t always something we just wait to come on us, sometimes we have to choose joy! “Wait, what? But my circumstance says ______, none of which brings Joy.” Yep, that’s life- troubles and trials may come, but joy comes in the morning! I’m not talking about genuine loss, when real tragedy strikes: the loss of a loved one etc… those things must be mourned in a real, natural way. But most of us have several heavy burdens we bear daily, that we can and must lay down at the foot of the cross and choose to pick up Joy.
I am by default a joyful, hopeful person, so when I am aggravated, frustrated, sad or depressed, there is something interrupting the flow of my soul communing with the Father. It’s in those moments that I have to choose to unplug from the LIE of the devil and reconnect with the voice of God. But this act is oftentimes a difficult one. It’s much easier to wallow in self-pity, self-righteousness, sorrow, fear and doubt. It’s easier to repeat the lies of the devil that what God has promised, He won’t do, than it is to stand up and speak LIFE and TRUTH to ourselves and any situation. But what is that truth? Where does it come from? Living out of heaven.
The Our Father prayer that Jesus instructs us to pray includes something very interesting: “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven.” That means there is a truth in heaven we must bring down to earth. Your healing is truth in heaven, your provision, your children’s salvation… we just have to pray it into existence here on Earth.
“For God that commanded the light to shine out of darkness is he which has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the Excellency of that power might be of god, and not of us.
We are afflicted on every side, yet we are not in distress: we are in doubt, but we despair not.
We are persecuted, but not forsaken: cast down, but we perish not.
Everywhere we bear about in our body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus might also be made manifest in our bodies.
For we which live, are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
So then death worketh in us, and life in you.
And because we have the same Spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken, we also believe, and therefore speak, knowing that he which has raised up the Lord Jesus, shall raise us up also by Jesus, and shall set us with you.
For all things are for your sakes, that that most plenty of Grace by the Thanksgiving of many, may redound to the praise of God.
Therefore we faint not, but though our outward man May perish, yet the inward man is renewed daily.
For our light affliction which is but for a moment, causeth unto us a foremost excellent and an eternal weight of Glory:
While we look not on the things which are seen, but on the things which are not seen for the things which are seen, or temporal: but the things which are not seen, are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:6-18
“Because in great trial of affliction, their Joy abounded, and their most extreme poverty abounded unto rich liberality for to their power, yay and beyond their power they were willing.” 2 Corinthians 8:2&3
Sometimes a thing is beyond our power, and yet we do it anyway. This is what it is often like to choose Joy.
Paul talks extensively about all of his sufferings throughout 2 Corinthians, but consistently tempers that with how much he rejoices: “And He said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect through weakness. Very gladly therefore will I rejoice rather in mine infirmities that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, and persecution, in anguish for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9&10
Most of us are not suffering for Christ to the degree Paul did, so how much more ought we to rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice! We often get stuck in the cycle of lies in our minds; we know it’s wrong, but how do we get out? By “casting down every thought and imagination that exalts itself above God, bringing every thought captive to The obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
The cares and burdens of this world would like to take priority in the real estate of your mind. But they have no rightful place to be there, so we must kick them out, and choose Joy.
If you have people in your life, family, friends, even coworkers, ask them to join with you in JOY, in CHOOSING JOY. When sorrow or negativity try to take hold: DON’T LET IT! And if no one will join in, do it alone. Joy, like negativity, is contagious! It will rub off, if you keep it up- not to mention the mental, spiritual and even physical benefits it will have on you.
A cheerful heart does good like a medicine, but a sorrowful heart dries up the bones.- Don’t let those bones dry up!
When the devil’s voice is loud in your head, speak the truth louder. When you’ve had an argument and you want to stay mad: don’t. Be the first to make it right, swallow your pride and repent, even if you were right, repent of the act of the disagreement in the first place, and ask that person to go with you to choose Joy. If they can’t, do it anyway! Go bake a cake, move in Joy and the darkness must flee!
Choosing Joy is often an exercise, it’s not something that we want to do, and oftentimes it’s not even easy to do, but we always have the choice, we know that it’s there, we can and ought to always choose Joy.
Consider those around you, and just how powerful your presence (and the attitude of your presence) are to a situation. You have the power to help or hinder any situation based on what you bring in the mindset that you choose. When it’s easier to snap- stop and ask the Lord to help you be a blessing to those around you.
“People say I’m the life of the party…” may be the lyrics to a rather depressing song, but you truly can be the LIFE in any situation just by choosing the joy of the Lord.
Paul said, “I have found in any situation, therein to be content.” That’s a rather incredible statement for someone who suffered so much for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I would encourage you, as I am even encouraging myself, to not only be content in whatever situation we are in, but JOYFUL!
In His Joy ~ Michelle