I’m just going to dive right into this one. Lately, in my own personal life I have been going through a series of changes and disappointments. I’m actually in a season of change. I just lost my father to stage 4 lung cancer, my teenage son is acting up, and needless to say that there’s just a whole lot of new challenges that I’m currently facing.
On a normal blue sky day and season, I’ve been told that my personality is bubbly, fun-loving, and lively. And I thank God for creating me that way. Actually, I can even recall a time when a couple of ladies asked me, “How do you stay so bubbly?” And because I love my coffee moments (everyone knows this), some would contribute it to the caffeine. But as they were asking me that, I heard the Lord clearly tell me, “Don’t you tell them that it’s coffee. No, tell them the joy of the Lord is your strength.” I was obedient. But I admit, I thought it was a little Christian Scripture cliché. However, I’ve come to know through hard times, that this Scripture (Nehemiah 8:10) is very weighty and packs a lot of power. Allow me to break down what God revealed to me about this very popular Scripture that has helped me, and hopefully it will help you as well when times get hard.
First, joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and it’s defined as a very glad feeling, a shout, triumph, cheerful, and a calm delight. Secondly, our joy should not be based upon our circumstances, but on Jesus. Joyce Meyer said it this way, “The joy of Jesus has nothing to do with circumstances.” (Side note: I love her!) Okay, back to the message. So…how do we keep or restore our joy? It’s by spending time in close fellowship with Him, in His word, prayer, and praise. When we slack off of prayer, time in His word and get caught up in works more than strengthening our relationship with Christ, life’s tough circumstances and dealing with difficult or negative people can weigh us down and rob us of our joy. It’s true! I know. But the key is staying focused on Jesus and staying connected. Revelation!
Now, I will add this. It doesn’t mean that you have to be excited and flying around the ceiling with joy when things hit you hard like death, sickness, loss of a job, or certain disappointments that break your heart. No, Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “There is a time to cry and a time to laugh, and a time to grieve and a time to dance.” God is balanced. And He wants us to be as well. Like in Moses’ day with the Israelites, they were only given 30 days to mourn his death and then they had to move on. To each person, God knows when it’s time to move on and release that joy again!
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that maintaining your joy is not easy when life’s tests and trials beat up against you. A part of you wants to go into isolation, be angry, depressed, and sad, but God doesn’t want us to go into those dark emotions. He wants us to still be lights in the midst of the hard stuff, and we accomplish this by staying connected to Him. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
And I’ll leave you with this...James 1:2-3 says, “Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” Make the choice to be joyful! I have.
Remember, Jesus is coming soon. Let’s get ready from the inside out!
Thanks for reading! I pray that God will continue to enlighten you to live for Him through His word in your daily life. Stay tuned for new blog posts every Monday at 7:30am on Inside Out with Courtnaye. You can see previous blogs on my website by visiting www.insideoutwithcourtnaye.org or receive it by “Liking” my Facebook page by clicking here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Inside-Out-with-Courtnaye/202095829824129#!/pages/Inside-Out-with-Courtnaye/202095829824129. Also, follow me on Twitter by inoutwcourtnaye. Thanks again![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]