Articles

Choosing Joy

We have many choices in life, including what we think upon. Have you chosen joy or defeat?

The best thing we can do in life is look at every circumstance and ask ourselves, "is this worth losing my joy over?" God tells us in His Word that, "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).  But when going through a trial, how many people really take God at His word and promises?

What we dwell on in our mind is how we will react to any situation. For instance, if I say I am broke, then more than likely I will be. If I say that I am sick, it becomes a way of life. So we need to train our minds to think differently than what we see in the natural. But this is a discipline.  If you want to build muscle, you go to the gym and work out. Why is it that many think if they just read something it will transform them? It wonâ??t happen because we have to walk it out and live it. This is the battle of the mind. This is the reason that the Israelites died in the wilderness---because they did not walk out what God had promised, which equals unbelief. Unbelief is the biggest killer of all, but we have to choose to partner with it or not.

When God said "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for My yoke is easy and My burden light.� (Matthew 11:28-29), He was telling us that we need to believe Him and get to know Him so that we can truly believe and trust Him. Again, this is a discipline. In this world, we have gone to relying on everything quickly, but relationships do not happen so quickly. It takes time to get to know someone. If I want to learn about someone, I can read a book about them, but if I want to get to know them, I need to spend time with them, converse with them, learn about their heart and share mine. God wants this with each one of us.

If you are burdened about anything, go to Him and let Him talk to you about it. Sometimes it takes a little while to hear (another discipline), other times it might take someone to tell you, or a circumstance, but He will always answer. You can also ask Him what He wants to show you in the circumstance. This brings us to a place of being open for correction if needed, which is important in any situation..

The second thing you can do is praise Him in all things. This is one of the easiest things to do to get the focus off of yourself and circumstance and look at His goodness. It brings us to the place of realizing He is eternal and this moment is not going to matter when He returns. All that we go through is all a process of being refined, if we allow the Lord to refine us, that is.  When I am going through a trial, I love to read the Psalms. David always wailed first about his affliction, but then at the end of the Psalm, he would praise the Lord and sing a new song. A good example of this is Psalm 61- Hear my cry, O God; give heed to my prayer. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever; let me take refuge in the shelter of Your wings. Selah. For You have heard my vows, O God; You have give me the inheritance of those who fear Your name. You will prolong the kings life; his years will be as many generations. He will abide before God forever; appoint lovingkindness and truth that they may preserve him. So I will sing praise to Your name forever, that I may pay my vows day by day. 

This walk we are on is all about our faith in the unseen. David knew that when he wrote Psalm 61. He knew that he even needed to encourage himself in the Lord. We have an enemy that would love to overcome us, but God calls us to be overcomers, because He has equipped us with Himself, inside us! It is the most awesome privilege! I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20). 

So we need to actively choose to receive the love of God. It is the only way that we will ever overcome all things. He will give us everything we need if we just open our hearts and let Him in! So prepare yourselves to receive every good thing that He wants to give you! 

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13) 

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