Have you ever purchased something that you thought would bring joy, but later you were disappointed by it?
The other day I felt discouraged. My mood matched the overcast skies. I had errands to run and groceries to buy. Although I didn’t want to go, I got in the car and headed out.
While in the store, I chose a small, brightly colored bouquet. The flowers brightened my spirit; I anticipated they would for several days.
The next day, the largest flower was droopy. I was disappointed at how quickly it wilted.
Joy can be found in simple things, but it doesn’t last. The greatest joy is in the Lord. Knowing the joy of the Lord is much deeper the cheerfulness of a temporary flower.
Joy changes us through knowing God’s presence, giving stability and perspective in trials, and trusting God’s grace to work in our situation.
There is joy in the Lord’s presence.
God is Emmanuel, the God Who is With Us. Even if we feel alone or downcast, when we refocus our thoughts on the Lord, we can know God’s presence is with us even if we don’t feel it. God knows us, calling each of us by name. (Isaiah 43:1)
Reading the Word of God improves my attitude and teaches about true joy. Listening to praise and worship music helps my frame of mind. The lyrics often remind me of the characteristics of God, and I am drawn closer to Him.
Joy in the Lord gives stability and perspective in trials.
I really don’t like to consider the joy of trials because there is no gladness in them at the moment.
However, our attitude during trials is important. When the struggle continues, we get weary, tired and discouraged. When I get like this, the Lord reminds me of an “in course attitude adjustment” that draws me back to Him. With the Lord, character and inner endurance increase during the heat of trials. The joy of the Lord is a stabilizer in trials.
This passage in James changes my attitude, even when I want to cling to the stress of the problem. Perseverance has to finish its work in us if we are to grow from the experience.
Scripture promises us a greater hope that outlasts the trial.
We can look ahead to a time when rejoicing comes in the morning, anticipating the good work of the Lord. Joy gives us a better perspective.
Joy in the Lord is a weapon for strength.
This weapon for strength helps us persevere when we think we can’t go further. By remembering the perspective that the battle is the Lord’s, we can know His joy and have the strength to persist. This shifts my focus from the crisis to believing what the Lord can do. Times of worship and praise strengthen the soul as we depend of His sustaining grace.
The joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
Believing in God brings joy.
Faith dispels discouragement, opening the way for genuine gladness.
As we grow in faith, we see how God has worked in the past, how He is faithful in the present, and will be trustworthy in the future. Joy comes from God, not from changeable people or unstable circumstances. When we are grounded in Him we have a quiet confidence of faith supported with joy.
If you need an attitude adjustment, look for something to cheer you up.
Temporary joy can fill a moment, but reflecting on the lasting joy of the Lord is more satisfying, changing your heart.