Joy

Boy, I struggled with this Advent theme! I feel… I guess I should stop there because I have already started off on the wrong foot. Joy is not a feeling. Joy is supposed to be a constant. Joy is not influenced by situations but rather situations should be influenced by joy with one notable exception. Joy should grow stronger as we recognize that God has a plan no matter what situation we go through. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve, when it comes to me and joy. Often I allow my feelings to bury my joy, even deplete it. Joy shouldn’t be influenced by situations but if Satan has his way, joy is all but eliminated or at least forgotten/overlooked when life doesn’t go the way we had hoped…

Joy is a state of mind but…

…I often choose a different state of mind. I can choose to be joyful but that requires me to look to God not my situation and how it makes me feel. Joy comes from knowing that God has a plan and He is in control. No situation can change that no matter how each situation makes me feel. Joy is not the elimination of one’s feelings but rather the lens through which we view all feelings and therefore all situations…

Without joy we are at the mercy of our feelings…

…without feelings we are at the mercy of mental illness. We do not seek to remove our feelings and replace them with joy, instead, we seek to live in a state of joy to remove the ability of our feelings to dictate our perception of the power of God and His presence in every situation. God has a plan. God has always had a plan. His plan is both corporate and individual. The whole world is offered the love of God and His plan to rescue everyone from sin John 3:16-17 (NIV). Each one of us who follows Him comes under an individual plan to transform each of us from the people we were in our sin nature to the people He wants us to be:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (NIV).

Both God’s plan for the world and His plan for each Christ follower are the basis for joy regardless of the situations we face. If we keep our eyes focussed on His plan we will always exist in a state of joy…

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