How to Live a Joyful Life
Living a Joyous Life
The world seems to have its own prescription for happiness...selfishness, luxury, overindulgence, etc. We are encouraged to loose all restraints, "If it feels good, do it." And yet, the facts don't don't add up.
Those who have plenty never seem to have enough. Counseling offices are filled with discontented people. Cases of clinical depression is rapidly rising. Clearly the world's prescription for living a joy filled life isn't working.
However, there is a book in the Bible focusing on joy, it's Paul's epistle to the Philippians. There are over a hundred personal references in this book, most from personal experiences. Repeatedly, Paul writes about a special joy he has. Remarkable when we realize this was during some of the darkest hours of his life, from within prison walls.
We all have one thing in common. While we live upon the earth all will encounter personal trials and trouble. We can't promise ourselves a trouble-free life, only learn how to face our problems. It's a sorry state of affairs when Christians have joy only when their life is in perfect order. We must learn how to live a life of joy, even in the face of trials, if we are to be an effective testimony of Christ before others.
Staying on Top of Circumstances
There is a great principle found in Proverbs 18:14. It teaches us how to stay happy, even when not feeling well physically.
"The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?"
The principle put forth here is learning how to guard your spirit. That's because the spirit is the center of thoughts and emotions. The Bible uses the words "spirit" and "heart" interchangeably. The spirit motivates everything a person does. Every action begins in our hearts. We must consider what we are going to say or do before hand.
According to the Proverbs verse we just read its possible to be physically sick, yet recover quickly because of a strong spirit. This means you might have a headache, back pain, broken leg, or ulcer, but a strong spirit will take you through these rough times with joy in your heart. It's easy to be joyful when life is going along smoothly. However, it's not when a crisis arises.
When you sense your heart is about to be attacked, lock the door. "Attacked by what," you might ask. Let's look at the following list:
- Hurt feelings.
- Self pity.
- Bad attitudes.
These are just a few examples of what can do great harm and damage. When you feel these seeking a grip on your heart you must stop and pray for the Lord's help. If you can recall, Job lost more than most of us ever will. He lost his wealth, health, and his children. Even those he called friend turned their backs on him. Despite this, he held on to the reins of his heart and continued to believe God would come and rescue him.
Moses was also a great leader, and a man of faith; but there came a day when he became frustrated with those he was called to lead. God told him to speak to a rock in the wilderness. Instead, he struck the rock in anger. Because he lost control of his spirit, God could no longer use Moses to the same extent. Wounded spirits seem to attract each other. Therefore be careful about those who you fellowship with, for their attitudes and temperaments may rub off on you.
Many have found being occupied doing good things helps evil from creeping in to our hearts. If we keep our hearts, minds, hands, and mouth busy doing good things, our enemy stays locked out. People said Jesus went about doing good things. Every Christian should copy His example. The apostle Paul tells us idleness leads to sin.
"And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not" (1 Timothy 5:13).
People usually react to problems in one of several ways. Some with anger, blaming God and everyone else, just like the children of Israel blamed God and complained about Moses when they were hungry in the wilderness. Others might react with self pity. Elijah did this when Jezebel threatened his life. Some might face trouble with worry and anxiety. But there is an alternative, trust in God's ability to help us through our difficulties.
Then there are those who manufacture problems for themselves, allowing their eyes and mouths to make a situation worse than it already is. We shouldn't ignore or run away from our problems. If we look hard enough, we can always find a learning situation in every trial and trouble. By ignoring problems they only grow larger.
Many today have lost their love for the Lord. The joy they once had has grown cold. This doesn't happen overnight, but over a period of time.
The Importance of the Church
Today there are two fundamental reasons why the church is important. We need the fellowship of other Christians and a place to serve. That's why the Bible says "two are better than one." A Christian separated from their church makes easy prey for Satan. We should heed the old adage there is strength in numbers.
The same advice holds true in our relationships with others. It's impossible to build a loving, growing relationship by long-distance. We must communicate frequently to build our relationship with others and the Lord. God wants His children to attend church, participate in baptism, giving, serving, and witnessing outside the church community.
Why Christians Should Never Worry
Did you know worry is a sin? Many fail to see it as such. It's the sin of not trusting God. No one can possibly live a joy filled life unless they learn how to cope with Satan. Worry is one of his chief weapons against the Christian.
Worry is a waste of time and accomplishes nothing. How many problems have been solved by worrying? In addition, worry can afflict the body with illness. Worrying can shorten your life span. It leads to headaches, stress, poor digestion and the loss of sleep and a host of other maladies.
How to Grow Better, Not Bitter
As we grow older it's important for the spirit to grow stronger. Younger people, as a whole, are not aware of the burdens and difficulties associated with old age. Therefore, the more we age we need a greater amount of faith in the Lord. The only way to achieve this is through a good program of daily devotions.
We should maintain a cheerful spirit. We can always find something to be thankful for in which to praise the Lord. Many have past issues they would like to go back and change. But since that's impossible, we must release the past and concentrate on the present. We shouldn't grow old having a cranky, complaining, spirit. Develop a good attitude and spirit that will make others want to be around you. As we age there is a tendency to worry more.
Only by learning to cast our cares of on the Lord, will we conquer worry. And, only by conquering worry, will you learn to live a joy filled life. But don't forget, Satan will attack older members of the congregation, trying to make them believe they should retire when they reach age 60. Some of the best workers in church are senior citizens.
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