In His presence there is fullness of joy. It is an authentic gift from God and one of the fruits of the Spirit. However, many Christians never come to reap the goodness of the joy of the Lord. There are a few lessons that have impacted my search for joy that I will share with you. No more getting lost by looking in. It’s time to start looking up.
1. I found my value in God.
If you are seeking your identity in the opinions of others you can easily fall into a trap of people pleasing that may lead to a painful burnout. It’s easy for us to get wrapped up in our appearance, gifts and material things and suddenly lose sight of what is important.
To be clear, I do believe it is vital to have guidance from a mentor, leader and/or pastor to help steer your way through life. I do also believe that God places certain individuals in our lives to speak life and encouragement into us. They cover us in prayer and are a supportive role in our walk with the Lord. They may not have the final say in how you live your life, but their wisdom can successfully prevent you from going astray or making mistakes.
Now with that said, I encourage you to take some time to reflect all the areas of your life and check where you may have allowed the opinions of others to overrule what God has said about you or has promised you in that part.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”Galatians 1:10
The opinions of others are none of your business anyway! When we allow others to determine our value we make more room for the fear of man and less room to be filled with genuine God given confidence. The value that God sees in you is much greater and higher than the value any person can give you. Do not permit anyones view of you to steal the joy of being YOU.The value that God sees in you is much greater and higher than the value any person can give you. Click To Tweet
2. Obedience prevented further heartbreak.
Obedience is “to trust.” Jesus calls us to obey. Our obedience to God demonstrates our trust in him. The enemy likes to confuse us into believing that we will have a greater loss if we are obedient. When we fall into the temptation of being disobedient its friends guilt, shame and condemnation follow behind it. Walking in obedience not only protects us from evil, but it also draws us closer to Him.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”John 14:15
Obedience prevents self-induced heartache and setbacks, saving time and energy. God doesn’t command us to be obedient to Him because He is strict and wants to wave an iron fist in our face. He desires our obedience to Him, because He wants to protect us from devastating consequences and from the grip of sin.When you live in obedience you will live in peace and freedom. Click To Tweet
The more you live according to His word the more confidence you will gain as His promises come to fruition in your life. Even when you do not understand, your obedience will be an action of faith that will be rewarded.
3. I had to understand the difference between Joy and Happiness.
Happiness is a feeling. Joy is a choice. Happiness is a momentary feeling that cannot be maintained. Many of us have been on a never-ending pursuit of happiness to only be left empty and disappointed. Happiness is derived from external things such as people, thoughts, events and material things. It only makes room for one feeling, but joy makes room for a variety of feelings. You can be sad, grieving or in pain and still have joy.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”Romans 15:13
Even when our surroundings have taken a turn for the worse, joy is the contentment and peace that keeps us together. Joy is knowing and trusting that God will bring you through the valley of the shadow of death. Even in your darkest hour, it is still the day that the Lord has made, so rejoice and be glad in it.
4. The joy of letting go.
As someone who struggled with on and off depression throughout life, starting each day with gratitude was the first step to growing a sincere joy within myself. Even when the enemy would try to tempt me into falling back into depression I turned to Jesus and thanked Him for everything He has done for me. I trusted that if He protected me once then He will do it again. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, writing down the things that I am grateful for brings a new perspective when I can’t seem to see the positive. Something about see it written on the piece of paper made it feel more real.
When I can’t seem to see the good around me I look towards my father who is always good and does everything for my good. Gratitude was the force behind my ability to let things go. It allowed Jesus to come and break off the thoughts in my head that tormented me with all the things I did wrong, the things I should’ve done or said and the lack of self worth I felt for years.
Letting things go also included the betrayal from others. I may have been abandoned in the past, but that rejection was not my portion. All along the battle was never mine to fight. I already had the victory. Freedom was just waiting for me to grab it and run. Don’t take things personal, it will save you the headache.
So let go and let God.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”Ephesians 4:31
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”Philippians 4:6-7
The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy. It is your right as a child of God to take back everything the enemy has stolen from you. The fight for joy must be relentless. Attack all sin in your life. Learn to preach to yourself better than how you preach to others. Pray earnestly and seek the Lord with all your heart. Weeping might last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:29-31
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