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All scriptures are taken from NKJV unless otherwise marked.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say rejoice!”
The other day, my husband and I were at Wal-Mart. He whispered to me, “Have you noticed people always look angry?” I scanned the room and He was right. The majority of the people looked like Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh. They looked miserable. Where was the joy? I did not want to get in any of their way, that’s for sure. This grumpy faced lady passed by me and I smiled at her. To my surprise, she smiled back. A smile can change everything.
Joyful people are so fun to be around. When your day is going rough, they have the ability to make you smile and laugh. Their perspective is different and surrounding yourself with them can lighten your focus on life. Jesus said He came that we may have life in abundance, and that means our joy, too!
The core desire of every person is to be happy. Your joy is what the enemy wants to steal from you. He may attack your stuff but that’s because he wants you to be flushed with aggravation, frustration, stress, and depression. I guarantee that he wouldn’t attack something if he knew it wouldn’t affect you. What would be the point?
“Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
While at war, you need to remain full of strength. The enemy wants you to be miserable so you can be ineffective. How can you help others while you’re under attack? If you’re unhappy enough, people will begin to walk the other way when they see you. No one wants to be around a constant grump. We should be a person others run to when they have issues, not avoid. Let’s explore some ways to grow this fruit.
God’s not boring and He doesn’t expect life to be either. What good parent doesn’t want their children to be full of joy? A child’s laughter is one of the most enjoyable things in the world. God wants to spoil you and He doesn’t like to see you upset. He’s so amazing; He can take the worst things in your life and make them work out for your good (see Romans 8:28).
Analyze Your Life
Take a moment and think of the things in your life that are stealing your joy. Are there any ways to relieve yourself of these things? It may be an uphill battle, but your joy is definitely worth it. Also, don’t under-estimate the little things. Something like better management of time in order to get more sleep at night can do wonders.
What are the things that always bring you joy? (I love Taco Bell!) Is it a food? A certain author? A movie? A drink? Going out to a restaurant? Whatever it is, indulge in it. For obvious reasons, you can’t do these events all the time. However, when you get a chance to do these things, enjoy them. Schedule it and give yourself something to look forward to. If you can’t afford it, get creative. I really enjoy taking a warm shower while my husband watches the baby. This is time I can spend praying and clearing my head. It’s something I absolutely love. I always come out refreshed and relaxed.
Practice Being Thankful
A quick way to change your emotions is to be thankful. At first, it may be a little difficult to feel the appreciation that comes by it. But once the reasons start flooding, you’ll realize how great you have it compared to others. There is always a person out there who has it WAY worse than you. Sometimes I thank God for the simple things. I’m thankful for clean water, plumbing, electricity, food, my family, my health, my car… everything! Who am I that God has blessed me so greatly? To top it off, I’m going to heaven! Woohoo!
The Hard Part
Unfortunately, there will be troubles in your life that God won’t remove. It’s hard to understand why God allows things to happen sometimes. But do your best to remain joyful. Meditate on the scriptures and focus on His goodness. There will always be at least one thing in our life that can cause us to complain. (If it’s not one thing, it’s another!) The key to growing this fruit is to put it into practice. When God sends you trials, attempt to take it on with a smile.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”