Let Joy Lead The Way
Sometimes happiness is not found by the accumulation of huge things in your life.
Sometimes happiness is lost by the absence of a seemingly tiny little matter.
People seem to associate other people with their circumstances. So I am sure, besides the pleasure it brings to ourselves, we want to have good circumstances to have a good report to present to others so they will see we are good people. But I am not a circumstance. I am me. I believe the closer we walk with Jesus, the less our circumstances are relevant to who we are. I think that is key to true unity within the body of Christ (and individual contentment) – trading our earthly set of circumstances for the fulfillment of Heavenly circumstances. Then everyone is on the same page.
I truly believe that there are times when we think "all is lost" and somehow God manages to interject a moment of peace in there. (After all, for me, I don't care as much about finding happiness. My real desire is for peace.) But we receive something good (good is an understatement) from God and we reject it. Why? Do we feel unworthy of His gifts? Are we afraid to cling to His promises because we fear if we get used to "good times" they will be yanked away from us at some point in the future?
If we lack the words (or example) to explain to someone else something good we have found, the following will happen.
1) Joy must be accepted, expressed, and shared. Ignore it or reject it and it will extinguish. Hide it and it will extinguish.
2) If we lack the words (or example) to explain to someone else the joy we are experiencing, we question whether it is real joy after all. Back to #1 .
3) What if others cannot accept our joy? Back to #1.
--They cannot understand.
--They don't want to understand.
--They are in a dark hole themselves and don't want you to experience joy.
--Darkness hides from the light.
4) If we find ourselves experiencing God's love privately, are we ashamed of Him and unwilling to experience His love publicly? Do we fear that we cannot project God's love with enough power, genuineness, and believability to propel it over the chasm between ourselves and others? (Love is not that heavy. It soars on wings like the eagles.) Back to #1.
If we think other people cannot immediately see what is in our hearts, we start to doubt ourselves. And we start to doubt if our joy may be an imitation or a false joy. Why do we lose hope in the authenticity of our joy? It is a matter of faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Heb 11:1 (KJV) Faith is lasting and permanent, not fleeting.
We think that others will not be able to understand what they cannot see. They will see joy in our hearts but our circumstances will contradict that we should have any joy at all. (They are looking for temporary happiness. We are looking for eternal joy.) That will make them wonder what secret we have found but they have not. (They are looking in the wrong place.)
We think no one can understand the contradiction in our inward experience and our outward appearance. We think this brings the communication process to a halt. But does it really? What does the Bible have to say about this? "But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. " 1 Pet 3:15a (NIV) Hope in the face of adversity. This verse gives me so much hope that it is possible to reach the lost. The Bible says so! In fact, I read this one verse and wrote this entire article from the flood of reactions I had to it.
God has anticipated our concerns about witnessing. God’s Word says very plainly that the communication process between a believer and a nonbeliever is not only possible, it is expected of us. The communication process does not have to come to a halt. In fact, it is at this point that we are commanded to bear witness. As we live for Christ, we will be used by Him to help others come to the same conclusion that we have: that Jesus is the answer.
Can you tell us about a time when you stood firm in the face of adversity, and someone noticed?
Look around at your current circumstances and the people around you. Can you see any situation in which you might be a witness to someone? Will they see you stand firm? It may look like you will be swept away by the rapids. But when you cling to the Rock that is Christ Jesus, you will always experience smooth sailing! Is there anything we can do to help steady your course, so others will see your joy in the face of adversity?
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