Scripture Reading: I Thessalonians 5:12-22
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Let’s be honest! How can we always be joyful? How can we give thanks in all circumstances? Sometimes life is hard and we often face trials, pain and sorrow. Yet, God can give us joy in the midst of our troubles.
There is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness depends upon circumstances. I am happy if you do what I want you to do. I’m not happy if you do not do what I want you to do. Joy, on the other hand, is an inward work of the Spirit of God. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23). We can find joy even in our sorrows. In fact we are told to consider it joy when we face trials — “Consider it pure joy, my brother’s whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). We can find joy in our trials, for we know God is with us in them and He has a purpose for them — to make us mature and complete.
We experience joy when we consciously come into the presence of God — “You have made known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand” (Psalm 16:11). Joy comes when we set our eyes on Him and when we meditate on who He is. It comes when we delight in God simply for who He is. He is our heavenly Father, who is also the Lord and Master of the entire universe.
Joy comes when we reflect on how He views us. He loves us and accepts us. He has chosen us and says we are precious to Him (Isaiah 43:4). He is our heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally, eternally and sacrificially.
The pathway to joy is found when we purposely come into the presence of God. It is in His presence that we find joy as we meditate upon who He is and as we consider how He views us. As we are filled by His Spirit, we will experience the deep inward fruit of joy, no matter what we are facing.
Heavenly Father, I know the joy that I experience when I come into Your presence. I delight in who You are — my Father, my Savior, my King and my Friend. Thank You for the inward joy that You alone can bring to me, no matter what circumstances I may be facing.
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