In our fast-paced and now turbulent times, finding joy can sometimes feel like searching for hidden treasure. Yet, as followers of Christ, we are called to be people of joy. I woke up with this thought this morning and it has stayed with me: "that your joy may be full." We all know that scripture in John chapter 15:11, Jesus told the disciples this:
"I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing." - AMPC.
But how do we maintain a joyful heart when faced with challenges, adversities, and uncertainties? The Word of God gives us guidance on the matter as the Apostle Paul addresses the church at Philippi with these words: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Phil. 4:4, NIV).
This verse is a powerful reminder that joy is not a merely fleeting emotion but a choice we can make everyday. Here are three key principles to help us cultivate and maintain joy - the real joy of the Lord in our lives:
1. Focus on the Source of True Joy: Our joy is no dependent on our circumstances, but on our relationship with the Lord. In His presence, there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). When we focus on Jesus, we can experience joy even in the midst of trials.
2. Serve Others with Love: Joy is often found when you help others. it is the kindness and service of someone that can bring joy as well as receiving joy. When we reach out to help and uplift others, we not only bring joy into their lives but also experience a deep sense of joy and fulfillment ourselves.
3. Cultivate a Heart of Gratitude: Gratitude is a powerful tool for nurturing joy. Take some time each day to reflect on your blessings, both big and small. When we intentionally focus on what we are thankful for, our perspective shifts, and joy begins to flow.
In moments of hardship, sadness, mourning, and even uncertainty and unrest, remember that Paul faced these things during his ministry, yet he found reason to rejoice. In 2 Corinthians 6:10 (NIV), he describes himself as "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." This reminds us that joy is not the absence of sorrow but the presence of Christ in our lives.
As we go about our week, let us remember Israel in our prayers as they are encountering attack. Let us pray for the peace of Israel, and for the peace of Palestine. Let us pray for all those in battle, and those soldiers going to assist in this attack against God's chosen nation. Let us pray for the families of those who lost dear loved ones in this battle, and let us pray for the protection of the innocent.
Let us also choose joy. Let us rejoice in the Lord, find reasons to be grateful, and extend love and kindness to those around us. In doing so, we not only honor God but also experience the deep and lasting joy that can only be found in Him.
May the joy of the Lord be your strength, and may you radiate His joy to a world in need of hope and light.