Sunday, February 17, 2008

Don’t lose your joy because of circumstances

Men have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not. Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
"Not in Unbelief -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born.
"Not in Pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone.
"Not in Money -- Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth.
"Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret.
"Not in Military Glory -- Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
Where then is real joy found? -- the answer is simple, in Christ alone.
I am talking about the Joy which is a deep and abiding inner rejoicing which was promised to those who abide in Christ and obey His commandments (John 15:10-11).
It does not depend on circumstances because it rests in God’s sovereign control of all things (Rom. 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose).
John 15:10-11 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father‘s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
God is working things out for my good.Rom 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Life is full of ups and downs; full of all sorts of happenings. One moment you are going full steam ahead, with the wind in your sails, when suddenly, you hit a sand bar. Maybe you are confused, maybe angry, maybe discouraged. All you know is that all of a sudden, your Joy is gone.
There are a host of situations that can rob us of our joy.
* It may be the loss of a loved one.
* It may be the loss of a job.
* It could be the break-up of a relationship.
* What about pressures at work; relationship problems with colleagues or bosses.
* It could be a problem in your family; the behavior of your unsaved husband or wife.
* You expected that promotion and it went to someone else who has only been with the company for half the time that you’ve been there.
* You expected to be used in the church in a certain way but this hasn’t happened.
* You car was written off in an accident and now you don’t have wheels.It could be concerns about the future:
* your children’s education;
* a life partner will I ever get married?
* Exam results what will they be like?
* Will I get a job when I finish school or college?
The list is endless:
* current circumstances,
* people that have hurt you,
* concern about the future,
* even concern about your past.
These things can distract us from the life that God wants us to enjoy. Count it all joyJames 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

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