"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." - 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)
Life is full of ups and downs, and sometimes it can feel like the downs outweigh the ups. It's easy to get discouraged when things don't go the way we want them to, and to let our circumstances dictate our emotions. But as Christians, we have a secret weapon: joy.
The Bible tells us to "rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV) Notice that this verse doesn't say "rejoice sometimes" or "rejoice when things are going well." It says to rejoice always, in every circumstance.
But how can we do that when life is hard? The key is to focus on the source of our joy, which is Jesus. Our joy doesn't come from our circumstances, but from our relationship with Him. When we remember that Jesus is with us always, that He loves us, and that He has a plan for our lives, we can choose joy in the midst of even the most difficult situations.
This doesn't mean that we ignore our problems or pretend that everything is fine when it's not. It simply means that we choose to trust God and to believe that He is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). We can take comfort in the fact that we serve a God who is bigger than any problem we could ever face, and who is always working on our behalf.
So if you're going through a tough time right now, we want to encourage you to choose joy. Choose to focus on Jesus and His love for you. Choose to believe that He is working all things together for your good. And choose to thank Him for all the good things He has done in your life, even in the midst of your struggles. As you do, you'll find that your joy will increase and your heart will be lifted up.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of joy that we have in Christ. Help us to choose joy in every circumstance, no matter how difficult things may seem. Help us to remember that you are with us always, and that you are working all things together for our good. We give you thanks for all the good things you have done in our lives, and we trust you with our futures. In Jesus' name, amen.
Devotional by Shawn & Shanon (Yeshu Ke Geet)