"Be joyful ALWAYS.;
give THANKS in ALL circumstances,
for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
To be joyful is to feel great happiness or delight. The Bible is filled with verses about being joyful, singing joyful songs, and tells us when to be joyful. Nehemiah 8:10 says "the joy of the Lord is my strength" and to be "joyful in hope" (Romans 12:12). What causes you to be joyful? Family, friends, kids, wealth, traditions, holidays, your job? How about your spiritual growth? Or your kids learning Bible verses? What brings you joy? Is it worldly things or eternal truths?
What causes you not to be joyful? Do you find yourself unhappy, grumpy, complaining more than you are joyful? Not only does this verse tell us to be joyful... but it tells us to be joyful ALWAYS. That's a hard one. Because we all have tough stuff going on and it's hard to be happy and joyful when we're unsure about our job situation or where the money for Christmas is going to come from. It's hard to be joyful when you're arguing with your husband or frustrated with your kids. But true joy, comes from the Lord, and will help you persevere through those tough situations. James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure JOY, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds." Why should we be grateful and joyful to face trials? Because we know that when our faith is tested it will be a chance to develop perseverance within us. And by facing trials with joy and seeking God's will, we will develop and grow in spiritual character.
Always. That's a hard one. But consider this a testing of your faith, like James described. If we choose to be joyful always, God sees favor in that. Because we are doing what He has commanded of us. The last part of the 1 Thessalonians verse says, "for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." God's will is that we are always joyful. So find joy in the little things this week. Find joy in the drive to work by listening to worship music or talking out loud to God. Find joy in the errands you have to run with your kids. Make it fun and joyful, thank God for you children, for your car, for the money you have to buy groceries. Find joy when your husbands asks something of you because it give you a chance to show him how much you respect and love him.
Be joyful always.