The Joy of the Lord
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Always be full of joy.
When things aren’t quite going your way, whether it’s an accumulation of little things that’s weighing you down, or perhaps one of those really big things in life, our natural reaction is to be downcast; to grumble and complain; to turn those negative thoughts over in your mind, again and again, until they consume you. […]
When things aren’t quite going your way, whether it’s an accumulation of little things that’s weighing you down, or perhaps one of those really big things in life, our natural reaction is to be downcast; to grumble and complain; to turn those negative thoughts over in your mind, again and again, until they consume you.
You’ve had that experience, right? Something’s come along to disrupt your idea of what your life should be, some person, some situation, some broken relationship has pulled the rug out from under your feet. It’s robbed you of what you had planned, of what you were hoping for out of life. And it seems so unfair. Why me? Why now?
So you dwell on it, thinking about it day and night. In your heart you grumble and complain … and even though all that is a natural human reaction, the truth is, it doesn’t make things any better. Quite the opposite, it only makes things worse.
So what’s the alternative? Is there an alternative? Sure there is, although I have to warn you, that at first blush, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Always be full of joy. (1 Thessalonians 5:16)
Now joy is a funny thing. It’s not like happiness which is something we think we want, but happiness is fleeting. It depends on your circumstances, your mood. You can’t be happy, when you’ve been dealt a blow to your hopes and expectations.
But joy is quite a different thing. Interestingly, in the New Testament, the words “joy” and “grace” come from the very same, original Greek word. Those two ideas are joined at the hip. Joy, real joy, deep, abiding joy, is a free, undeserved, unmerited gift from God. And because of that, it’s something that sticks with you through all the ups and downs.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that a heart filled with God’s joy, is a much more desirable thing than a heart filled with grumbling, complaining, anger and bitterness.
In the midst of your doom and gloom, throwing yourself completely on God, trusting in Him, receiving His joy – let me tell you – is the only thing that works. Because when we’re down in the dumps, the good news is, God isn’t. And He wants to lift you up.
Always, always, be full of His joy.
That’s God’s Word. Fresh … for you … today.