Joy on the Journey

Many of you might remember the old children’s song “The Joy of the Lord is my strength”

in fact those were the only words in the entire first chorus of the song! These words come directly from Nehemiah 8:10 which has been our focus book of study over the past 4 weekends at Alive Church. This weekend we unpacked what the JOY of the LORD really means. Are we just happy all the time no matter what? Do we wake up like in a Disney movie with birds chirping around our heads? Do we never get angry or frustrated with the people around us?

NO, those ideas are all super unrealistic. Joy isn’t based on what we feel or just being sure we look and sound happy all the time. Joy is a more a state of being than an emotion; it’s a result of choice. In fact, it is a fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22) The circumstances surrounding us may not be going the way we would like them to be or would have planned BUT we discovered the strength to follow God’s plan for our lives comes through the JOY the Lord gives us. How do we receive this gift of Joy? We choose to have a positive attitude and gratitude even IN circumstances that are not ideal. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 is a great verse to lean into when you may be feeling like your joy is being exhausted.  “Always be joyful, be thankful in (not for) all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Satan wins a huge battle over your life if you yield to feelings of defeat and separation from God’s plan. He steals your JOY, thus stealing your STREGNTH to follow through with the plans God has for you! In fact, God’s will for each believer is that we would be THANKFUL in all circumstances, God’s Joy is the strength I need to fulfill the purpose God has for me! Strength to be the best Dad – husband – mom – student – nurse – doctor – etc.…That’s GOOD NEWS! Choose thankfulness and joy in circumstances….God will give you strength to, not only get through those circumstances, but complete His will for you!

Choosing JOY starts with some basic, thought life, habit shifting.   Transforming our mindset to be more like Christ by remembering what God has done in the past, celebrating what He is doing today in your life and praising Him for what He will do tomorrow! Make these conscious choices and the Source of HOPE will fill you with JOY!! (Romans 15:13)