Joyless Reaction or Joyful Response

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Apostle Paul tells us that living a joyful life is God’s will for us.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Even though it is God’s will, he still gives us the free will to choose it or reject it. We have the free will to determine how we respond to every situation we experience. Every opportunity we have is an opportunity to think joyfully.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2

Often we think of joy as a destination. We often ask, “How do I find joy.” What if…joy is not a destination, but the path we choose each day?  How does that switch your thinking?  What if joy is not something you get? Here is the truth: joy is not something that you get or find. Joy is something you choose.

Situations that affect our joy can range from a personal slight to a full on personal attack. They can include situations where others have tried to rob us of joy or they can be situations where we sabotage our own joy. Perhaps you’ve been short or snappy with someone. Perhaps you’ve gossiped or criticized someone. Perhaps someone has done you an injustice. Perhaps someone disagree with you. Perhaps someone you love makes bad choices. Each of these scenarios affects our joy.  I have experienced the full range of joy robbing. These situations can try us, they can cause us to stagger in our faith, they can cause us real physical ailments, they can cause us to temporarily move into our cave of despair, but the essential question is, will we allow these situations to rob us of our joy? When the joyless thought enters your head, you get to decide how long it stays there. That length of time will create either a joyless reaction or a joyful response. That length of time will shape your hour, your day, and often your month and your life.

When the bad thought enters your mind, replace it by following these steps.
1.    Rename  – Tell yourself this thought is a negative, bad, ungodly, or unkind thought
2.    Re-frame  – Focus on a positive or distracting thought
3.    Redirect - Change your actions to something uplifting, fun, or engaging.

With each situation, we choose how to think, speak, and act. We can choose to have a joyful response or a joyless reaction.

What I can tell you from my own personal experiences with situations that can steal or joy is that…
the sooner I completely let God give me his strength and wisdom,
·      the sooner I completely let God give me his strength and wisdom,
·         the sooner I determine my responsibility in the situation,
·         the sooner I make right any wrong I have caused,
·         the sooner I am proactive instead of reactive,
·         the sooner I take realize what I can control and what I can’t control,
·         the sooner I get a handle on my emotions, my thoughts, and my actions,
·         the sooner I ask myself “what is the truth of this situation?” and then deal with the truth,
·         the sooner I seek wise counsel,
·         the sooner I stop dwelling and ruminating,
·         the sooner I make deliberate choices to switch my thinking,
·         the sooner I act in loving, positive ways,
·         the sooner I heed Jesus’ advice as found in Matthew 10:14, “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet,”
·         the sooner I decide to live forward and not backward,
·         the sooner I examine how I can grow in this situation,
·         the sooner I realize that people have a right to have different opinions, ideas, and choices and being different doesn’t mean one is right and one is wrong,

…then the sooner I will dwell in joy.

 To hear a one hour audio of my lesson on How to Live a Joy-Filled Life, click here.
How to Live a Joy-filled Life


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