perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of
man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.
A few years ago I felt the deep desire to experience godly joy in my life. I became aware of a lack in this area and so began my journey towards trying to grasp this concept. When I look back on the last couple of years, I now see how the enemy subtly altered my focus and thus influenced my thought pattern. I ended up making `joy` my goal whereas Jesus should be my first and only goal in every area of my life. So busy was I trying to actually find godly joy that it almost became a burden. I would ask God for His joy, but also unknowingly try to deserve it. Whenever something came up that I thought was a blockage, I would repent, confess or forgive, and then think that I was one step closer to finally experiencing God`s deep joy. In the process I actually became frustrated and couldn`t understand why this was so difficult.
A few weeks ago I finally realised that I was searching in the wrong place and that I was unknowingly looking for joy in my circumstances and in the people around me. The slightest bump in the road served to enhance my longing, and my perceived inability to live a life of joy. It was as if the Lord now wanted me to look up and away from the here and now of everyday life. My vision needed to expand and it felt as if Jesus was encouraging me to `get up from the ground` and throw off all thoughts and ideas that were holding me back.
The realisation came that I had been missing the point: I don`t have to search for and receive joy; Jesus has already given it to me. When I focus on Jesus in all circumstances of life, I also receive His peace no matter what is happening. First His peace, and then comes the joy!
Joy comes from the fact that I know God is in control of my life and that I can trust Him, no matter what. Joy is not a feeling one experiences only when life is good and everyone is happy; it`s the choice we make to live a life of joy no matter what is happening. It`s the choice we should make every day to live with a heart of faith and gratitude; to bask in the safety of the Lord`s care, because we trust Him enough to allow His peace and presence to fill our whole being.
Seeing situations from the Lord`s point of view makes the huge stumbling blocks so much smaller, and makes the road we need to walk so much easier. Hope and joy becomes our strength and God lifts us out of the darkness and confusion.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You so much that You never give up on me and that You always steer me back to You, no matter how confused I sometimes feel. Help me to always keep my eyes on You and to trust in Your provision and might. I choose to focus on You and not on my circumstances. Please fill me with Your peace and presence so that Your joy may be released from within my whole being. Amen.
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