Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Paul wrote extensively about spiritual joy, which had been tested and proven in his life through the “fires” of beatings, rejections, and arrests. As he sat in the Philippian jail, the apostle demonstrated what is possible for any surrendered believer: biblical joy through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
We can lose our gladness for several reasons:
1. Wrong focus. Paul and Silas were able to praise God despite severe trials because they centered on Jesus. Concentrating on our difficulties will cause delight to disappear. Refocusing through praise will bring it back.
2. Disobedience. Sin steals our joy because it separates us from the Lord. As we receive His forgiveness and obey Him, joy returns.
3. Regret. We crowd out gladness when we continue to feel bad about past mistakes and failures. Our Father wants us to believe that He forgives us (1 John 1:9). He also desires that we choose to live in His grace and move ahead.
4. Fear. Too often we attempt to live out the future before it has happened. With so much outside our control, we become afraid. Joy and fear cannot coexist. The Lord calls us to live by faith, asking Him to meet today’s needs and trusting Him with the future.
5. Someone else’s suffering. How can we rejoice when others are hurting? Romans 12:15 says we are to weep with them, but we are also to offer the hope of God’s presence, power, and provision. A downcast spirit is a poor witness for hope (Psalms 42:11).
What excuse have you been using for your lack of joy? Fix your gaze on your Savior and let His joy become yours.
God’s ways are always perfect, and following them leads to fulfillment and success. One of life’s undeniable truths is that your choices will ultimately determine your future. While you can decide for yourself what career field to enter or who to marry, nothing compares with seeking God first and relying on the wonderful principles of His Word. In this series, Dr. Stanley teaches that as you serve God and seek His ways, you’ll be blessed with peace, wisdom, and guidance for the journey ahead. Order here now!