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Choosing JOY Over Discouragement
In this current global pandemic, talking about having and experiencing joy in the middle of all of this seems insensitive and irresponsible.
With so much confusion, hardship, and loss, how dare I choose to experience joy and even laugh when much is broken. As some would say, this is no laughing matter.
But the Bible paints an entirely different scenario. The Bible tells us, I would say, even commands us, to be joyful always. In every situation.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
The will of God in ALL circumstances is to be joyful, pray continually, and give thanks IN, not FOR, all circumstances!
Joy (as well as prayer and thanksgiving) doesn't disregard or treat as insensitive the circumstances around us. Joy takes us above them. It clears the way for us to commune more effectively with God by moving us above the storm.
A Joyful Heart is Good Medicine
While the world looks for an antidote and cure for CoVid-19, we have the joy of the Lord as GOOD medicine in this current, or for that matter, any season!
Solomon said it thousands of years ago: “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). However, modern medicine has only been seriously studying the specific benefits of joy and the energizing effects of laughter for about thirty years. In their research, they’ve uncovered countless stories of people who intentionally kept their spirits high through the use of humor to survive POW camps, war, illness, trauma, as well as the daily grind at stressful jobs. In fact, concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl saw firsthand how humor was a powerful survival skill that enabled him and other prisoners to hold on to hope and purpose through the darkest time of their lives. Frankl said, “Humor, more than anything else in the human makeup, affords an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.”
Kris Vallotton - 4 Scientific Reasons to be the happiest person on the planet
Overcome with Joy
Let's consider a few things about joy.
Jesus prayed that we would full of joy.
“I come to You [Father]; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves”
Jesus himself was "anointed with joy" more than all His friends. Jesus smiled an awful lot and was a joyful person to around more than anyone else.
Therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is joy. Joy is an attribute of God Himself and is supernaturally given freely to His sons and daughters!
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…
The Kingdom of God is filled with joy.
The kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
Discouragement is, by definition, a deficit of courage. When joy is absent, dis-courage-ment takes its place. Discouraged Christians are immobilized threats. They are diffused gospel bombs. They are silenced evangelists whose faith-anemia can be contagious. Being absent of joy disempowers us as we fall in line with the rest of the world. Our light begins to dim as we cave-in to gloom and unbelief.
Let's change this.
Let's bring the antidote of joy as "living pharmacies" to our world. Joy is "good medicine," and for that matter, so is hope and peace. Let's be part of a joy outbreak! Let's have His kingdom alive with joy in and through us!
I would encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to fill you right now with His joy. His joy is "your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). Have a good laugh today; it's medicine for your heart. Trust God, always. And infect those around you with "inexpressible and glorious joy" (1 Peter 1:8).
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Blessings!! -- Pastor Greg