April 17, 2020
All of my life I have known that the opposite of a rainy day is a sunny day. I have known that the opposite of right is left. And I have known that the opposite of up is down, but have you everthought about the opposite of joy? It would be easy to think that theopposite of joy is sadness or sorrow, but that is not what you find when you read the Bible.
God’s word teaches us that the opposite of joy is unbelief. Joy is not the same thing as happiness.Joy has to do with a choice to believe God and rejoice in Him no matter the circumstances.
The apostle Paul is the one who best helps us to understand this concept:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all.The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart sand your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7
In order to become a person of Joy there are three principles we need to keep in mind:
1. Constant joy is not an option for Christ-followers. Sometimes we think we deserve to have a “whiny” day, but the Bible doesn’t seem to allow for that. I think it’s okay to vent your feelings on a frustrating day to God or others, as long as the end of the sentence is about rejoicing in God and His faithfulness. Don’t end your conversations talking the “largeness” of your problems, end them with the “greatness” of God.
2. Gentleness expresses our faith. Gentleness is not about being weak or timid. The Bible says God has not given us a spirit of “timidity”but a spirit of power, love, and sound discipline. Gentleness is about living with that power under control as we are submitted to God in faith, trusting Him to work around us – so we don’t have to force it!
3. Thankful prayer changes everything. Thankful prayer changes us. Thankful prayer changes the situations around us. When I start to feel my anxiety level rising, I know it is time to pray. But if I just launch into my five-page prayer list, it’s still going to be soaked with fear, rather than faith. But when I begin with thanksgiving – acknowledging the good works that God has done, it flushes out my fear and worry. Then with a heart of peace, I can pray more effectively as I am in tune with the heart of God.
Let these principles guide you this week. Choose joy. Whatever is going on in your life this week,I encourage you to walk out your belief in the power and ability of God by choosing joy. Give thanks in all things. Don’t resort to the patterns of thinking and reacting that rely on your own strength.
God is greater than your need. God is greater than your sickness. God is greater than your relational challenge. God is greater than any problem you face! Rejoice in Him and watch his victorious power come help you overcome!