by Jo Umberger
Have you ever noticed that some Christians seem to be joyful most of the time? Are they simply happy with their circumstances? Perhaps they have always made it a habit to smile, which makes them appear to be joyful, even if they are suffering inwardly. Or are they truly aware of God’s favor?
Because joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22), it is only by the power of the Lord that can we have true joy! Nothing else — no amount of money, perfect health, a job that you love, or any other person — provides lasting joy. True joy is not a temporary emotion. Like love, peace, patience and the other fruits of the Spirit, we must grow in it.
So where do we start?
Jesus said, ” In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). When Paul and Silas were in prison for the Gospel, Acts 16:25 tells us they sang praises to the Lord! Obviously we can choose our attitude when we are in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Another way to practice being joyful is to intentionally dedicate our work everyday to the Lord. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:17, 23, 24)
Whether we are cleaning the floor, taking care of a sick child, manufacturing an airplane, preaching the Gospel, typing a report, or leading a country, it is the Lord Christ we are serving. When we realize the significance of serving Christ throughout the day, it can increase our joy.
1 Thes. 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” To “rejoice” is “to delight in God’s grace (“rejoice”) – literally, to experience God’s grace (favor), be conscious (glad) for His grace.”¹ To be conscious of something requires practice.
How do we practice rejoicing? Make it a habit to recognize favor from the Lord, then stop and say to Him. “Lord, this (specific blessing) is Your favor and I’m glad about it!”
Changing our mindset can be challenging, especially if we believe we must do it on our own. Knowing that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit assures us we are do not need to rely on our own strength. We can, however, choose to have an attitude of joy, dedicate our work to Him, and practice rejoicing. We all need joy on this journey of life!
All Scriptures quoted are from the New International Version.
Questions for Consideration
- When are you most likely to be filled with joy?
- Under what circumstances is it most difficult to recognize God’s favor?
- What are some ways you can remind yourself to practice rejoicing throughout the day?
¹ Strongs Concordance, HELPS word-studies. https://biblehub.com/greek/5463.htm Retrieved 6/21/22.
Here is a simple explanation of why and how to become a Christian.