by Allen Carter
Head of Development, CBN Europe
Even with the best intentions, things don’t always go as planned. We can choose joy and contentment or mummer and complain; both responses are a choice; however, the outcome are poles apart and produce different results.
Philippians 2:14-16 NKJV says,
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” (Emphasis added).
When we choose joy and do things God’s way, we become light bearers that bring hope in a dark world. However, the light will always shine even brighter, no matter how dark.
Have you wondered how some people seem to experience deep, authentic joy even though they are going through the most difficult challenges, and others can’t find it no matter how much they search? When we go through tough times, it reveals the foundation upon which we build our lives, either rock or sinking sand.
Over the last twelve months, my wife & I have looked to purchase five different houses, and on each occasion, each of these sales has fallen through for various reasons. We have learned so much about ourselves and have continued to seek God during the process. Daily, we have also needed to dig deep and choose joy instead of focusing on the disappointment of being in our rented home surrounded by boxes and waiting patiently for another house to materialise. Thankfully, as we have trusted God, He has provided us with our perfect home, for which we are very thankful.
Have you wondered how some people seem to experience deep, authentic joy even though they are going through the most difficult challenges, and others can’t find it no matter how much they search?
So Much More
Joy is much more than external things, as these are temporal and subject to change. Joy is more than a happy feeling that comes occasionally.
Nehemiah 8:10 says, “Do not sorrow for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (NKJV).
What a powerful truth, for this phrase expresses where true joy comes from and the outworking of joy that produces strength. The Hebrew word for joy is “chedvah”, meaning gladness and strength. God is a place of safety, protection, refuge or a stronghold. The joy of the Lord is a constant gladness that comes from an inner strength that stems from a living, vibrant relationship with Him.
I love this quotation from Kay Warren:
“Joy is the settled assurance that God is in control of all the details of my life, the quiet confidence that ultimately everything will be alright, and the determined choice to praise God in all things.
What a great reminder and assurance that God is in control of every detail of our lives and He can be trusted. To know that He is fully committed to finishing what He has started in every situation. Even when we don’t see it, He’s working behind the scenes to ensure that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28 NKJV).
Joy does not simply happen to us. We must choose joy and keep choosing it every day.
I don’t know about you, but I’m choosing joy, and I’m determined to give praise and thanks to God in all circumstances, for I know this will change my heart and perspective.