God’s anti-stress therapy is God’s rest. In the previous post, we talked about God’s rest and the main way of entering and staying in it. Another very important tool is the choice to rejoice and the attitude of joy and satisfaction.
In his message to the Philippians Apostle Paul repeatedly encourages us to rejoice. The reasons for this joy that are not rooted in the changing circumstances of our lives. They are based on the work and love of Christ. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7).
What is the joy in the Lord?
The joy in the Lord is an irrevocable part of our relationship with Him, based on love, truth, and eternal commitment. The joy in the Lord is not just a temporary emotion of happiness, emotional high or ecstatic feelings. It is a way of perceiving and looking at yourself, the world and others. The joy of the Lord is a worldview that rests on the deep perception of God’s love. It acknowledges the fact that we are secure and loved all the time regardless of circumstances.
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The easy life without problems is NOT the measure and the indicator of God’s love, favor, and approval. The measure is Christ and the comfort of the constant presence of God with us at all times. Many examples in God’s Word show that God’s people go through a string of difficulties of a different nature. We also see the special power of God’s presence, comfort, and deliverance from these troubles. According to God’s formula of love, God’s people are strengthened and transformed in character. They rise from power to power, and from glory to glory, thriving and multiplying in any circumstances.
What is our focus?
When it encourages us to rejoice in Christ, the Word of God prompts us to focus on His work and love, and on the reality of His presence. Psalm 16extorts us: „You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” God has promised us to be always in us, and through His Holy Spirit also in us. To rejoice means to tune ourselves to His presence, to live with an awareness of Him. Here is how the psalmist expresses this tuning: „I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.” (Psalm 16:8-9) We see that the result of active awareness and acknowledging is joy, gladness, and confidence.
Joy and strength
There is a direct connection between joy and strength. In Nehemiah 8:10 it is said: „Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” The more we develop our relationship with God and learn to seek Him and follow daily, experiencing His consolation and goodness, the more our strength, steadiness, invulnerability, stability and resistance are growing.
How are you doing in rejoicing? What makes it difficult for you to rejoice in the Lord? I would be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments!